Kansas State University


Political Science

Author: Braylee Jones

A Note From the Department Head

Dear Alumni and Friends,

We have had another fantastic year in the Department of Political Science and have many exciting events on the horizon. As is usual there are more student, staff, and faculty accomplishments than what we can fit in this newsletter, but I think you will find that there is a lot to be excited about for both the present and future of this department.

The stories in this newsletter highlight the great things that are happening around the department. We have made changes to our undergraduate curriculum that we believe will leave our students even better prepared for an increasing number of rewarding careers. We continue to see outstanding successes from our undergraduate and graduate students. We are seeing students go onto careers in government and the private sector, as well as pursuing graduate degrees in some of the top law schools and foreign service programs in the country. We also recently saw Ph.D. students from our interdisciplinary Security Studies program accept faculty positions at Mercyhurst College, the Air University School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, and New Jersey City University.

Our faculty and staff continue to make a lasting impact on students and their research communities. The department currently has four faculty members on editorial teams for prominent journals in the field. Multiple faculty members are contributing to public policy debates through media interviews and contributing original news analysis to outlets like the Washington Post. We also have multiple faculty members being recognized by academic societies for their outstanding scholarly contributions. In addition, our lead academic advisor was recognized for her outstanding support of students.

Please reach out to me if you’d like to hear more about what is going on around the department. If you happen to find yourself in the Manhattan area, please feel free to swing by the department, and say hello.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.


Sam Bell

Department Head

First Issue of Live Ideas: Undergraduate Primary Texts Journal Published

The first issue Live Ideas: Undergraduate Primary Texts Journal was published on February 15, 2019 and the second edition on April 15, 2019. The journal is a place to showcase undergraduate artwork, short stories, poetry, essays, and longer articles and reviews.  Live Ideas is an open-access, peer-reviewed, and co-produced by faculty and students that is published on a quarterly basis.  The mission of the journal is to “provide a platform from which undergraduates can express their original ideas or add to the conversations of existing ideas in creative, unbounded, and meaningful ways.”

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Zhiwei Zhang Promoted to Associate Professor

Zhiwei Zhang has been promoted to associate professor with tenure.  Zhiwei joined the department in 2013 and has established himself as an outstanding scholar and teacher.  Zhiwei teaches core courses on public accounting and budgeting in our Masters in Public Administration program. His research focuses on public finance and budgeting, public procurement, public private partnership, donors’ philanthropy behavior, and nonprofit finance and management.  His work has appeared in Public Administration Quarterly, Public Performance & Management Review, and Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy among other outlets. He has also made important service contributions to the department’s efforts to further build connections and develop joint programs with universities outside the United States.

Congratulations, Zhiwei!


Angela Park Joins Department

We are pleased to welcome Angela Park to the Department of Political Science! She will serve as one the core faculty in the MPA program. She received her Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University of Kansas in 2019, her Master’s in Public Policy from Michigan State University, and her B.A. from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Angela’s research focuses on local governance and performance management especially in the context of urban sustainability. Her recent research appears in journals, such as Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Public Administration Review, and Policy Studies Journal. She will teach courses in public management, public policy, and organization theory.

Welcome Angela!

Undergraduate Tracks and New Security Studies Concurrent Degree

The department continues to innovate and create new curriculum options for our students. In fall 2019, the department is rolling out two new curriculum changes: undergraduate tracks and a Concurrent B.A./B.S. in Political Science and M.A. in Security Studies degree.

The undergraduate tracks allow students to indicate an area of emphasis or specialization on their transcript.  Kathy Lillich, academic advisor for the department, believes that track options will be a recruitment tool and be beneficial to students in demonstrating an area of interest within the discipline of Political Science. Lillich states “the track options give students the opportunity to develop substantive knowledge in a particular area of interest in Political Science, creating a marketable skill set that can help them really stand out in the post-graduation job market.

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Political Science Department Honors Students at Recognition Reception

The department held its annual recognition reception on Friday, May 3rd, on the third floor of Calvin Hall.  Family, guests, donors, and faculty members joined our scholarship recipients and students for a lovely afternoon.  The department awarded $18,700 in scholarship funds to undergraduate students, $4,800 for graduate scholarships, as well as graduate assistantship stipends for the 2019-2020 academic year.

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Jeff Pickering Receives Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award and Distinguished Alumnus Recognition

Jeff Pickering, professor of political science, is the 2019 recipient of the Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award by the International Studies Association (ISA). The award is given annually to a scholar who has significantly influenced the ISA-Midwest region. The recipient is recognized for having an exceptional record of scholarship in international studies, a distinguished record of service to the International Studies Association and other international affairs organizations, and a record of service within the region.

The International Studies Association is an interdisciplinary association of scholars that conduct research on international affairs. It has more than 7000 members across the globe and is the primary academic association for scholars of international studies. It is also home to important and high impact journals that publish research in this area.  Pickering also serves as editor in chief for one such ISA journal, International Interactions.

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Political Science Advisor Receives Advising Award

Kathy Lillich, the departmental academic advisor, was also acknowledged for her exemplary work. She is the recipient of the Arts and Sciences 2018 William L. Stamey Advising Award.

Students in the department are lucky to have Kathy Lillich as an academic advisor.  She joined the department in 2015 and has established her reputation for advocating for students. As a first-generation college graduate, Lillich is passionate about helping students who are also striving to become first in their families. She acts as a professional mentor for first-generation students on campus, and focuses her research on best practices for their success in academia.

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Martinez Machain and Rosenberg Win Best Paper Award & Fliter Book Selected as Honorable Mention for Book Award

Carla Martinez Machain, associate professor of political science, and alum Leo Rosenberg (2015 MA in Political Science) have been selected as the recipients of the 2018 Glenn Palmer Prize for the best article in Conflict Management and Peace Science (CMPS), the flagship journal of the Peace Science Society. Martinez Machain and Rosenberg’s paper is titled “Domestic diversion and strategic behavior by minority groups”.

The article is summarized by the CMPS award committee as “address[ing] an under-appreciated facet of international relations and diversionary theory: minority groups’ engagement in tactics of strategic avoidance when governments hold incentives to repress. Martinez Machain and Rosenberg revisit diversionary theory through the lens of often-neglected minority constituent groups and present persuasive evidence via a series of robust multivariate tests at the rather novel state-minority group dyad level.”

We also encourage to take a look at Dr. Martinez Machain’s recent contribution to the Washington Post on U.S. foreign policy and Iran:



John Fliter’s recent book Child Labor in America: The Epic Legal Struggle to Protect Children was selected as a finalist for the 2019 David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Legal History.  The David J. Langum Sr. prize has been awarded annually since 2001 by the Langum Charitable Trust.

This prize recognizes scholarly work that is “accessible to the educated general public, rooted in sound scholarship, and with themes that touch upon matters of general concern to the American Public.”

Commentary on Fliter’s book and status as a finalist demonstrates the caliber and significance of the publication. His book is praised as “comprehensively and vividly chronicl[ling] the complex political and constitutional issues involved in what the title so aptly describes as the ‘epic struggle’ against child labor.”


In Memoriam of Joseph Unekis

The Department of Political Science is very saddened to share that our colleague and friend, Emeritus Associate Professor Joeseph K. Unekis, passed away on May 26, 2019.

Joe received his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1977 and accepted a position here in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. He was a member of the department until his retirement in 2012. His research and teaching focused on American government and more specifically, the U.S. Congress. During his 34-year tenure in the department he educated thousands of students. His contributions to teaching were recognized in 1989 when he was awarded the College of Arts & Sciences William L. Stamey Teaching Award. His research was published in some of the top journals in the discipline.

Joe will be remembered as a fantastic colleague to his peers and a dedicated teacher.