Kansas State University


Political Science

Category: FALL 2015 │ Second Installment

A Note from the Department Head

KSU Political Science Faculty and Staff, Fall 2015
KSU Political Science Faculty and Staff, Fall 2015

As promised, here is the second edition of our fall 2015 newsletter.  In this edition, you will find news about our faculty and the teaching and research endeavors that are helping us to reach our 2025 goals.  Political Science faculty have recently won major paper awards, teaching awards, and have given notable invited talks.  Such energy and activity makes KSU Political Science a great place for students to learn, as faculty members bring fresh and exciting knowledge into the classroom.

We hope that you enjoy this edition of our e-newsletter.

Jeff Pickering

Professor and Head


Ciftci Named Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies

President Kirk Schultz, Dr. Sabri Ciftci, and Provost April Mason
President Kirk Schulz, Dr. Sabri Ciftci, and Provost April Mason

Sabri Ciftci (associate professor) has been appointed the Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies in the Department of Political Science. “I am truly honored to hold this title,” Ciftci said. “Michael W. Suleiman has been a pioneer in Arab studies. Building on his legacy, I believe we can advance the study of Middle East in the Department of Political Science and at Kansas State University. Activities associated with the Michael W. Suleiman chair will help to build an intellectually vibrant community on campus and they fit well with K-State’s vision to be among the top 50 public research universities by 2025.” Continue reading “Ciftci Named Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies”

Heidbreder Wins Presidential Teaching Award

Dr. Brianne Heidbreder
Dr. Brianne Heidbreder

Political Science now counts two Presidential Teaching Award winners among its ranks.  John Fliter (associate professor) won the university’s most prestigious teaching award in 2010 before eventually being named one of KSU’s Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars, a lifetime title.  Now Brianne Heidbreder (associate professor) has also won the Presidential Award (2015).  A William L. Stamey Teaching Award winner in 2013, Heidbreder is widely known for her dynamic and effective instruction, which includes multimedia components and thorough and accessible lectures.   Congratulations Brianne!  KSU students are fortunate to have such a sincere and dedicated professor.

Stoyan and Warner Join Department

Dr. Alissandra Stoyan and Dr. John Warner
Dr. Alissandra Stoyan and Dr. John Warner

The department welcomed two new faculty members this fall.  Alissandra (Ali) Stoyan (assistant professor) earned her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014.  She will teach courses in comparative politics and Latin American politics.  Alissandra studies a range of issues within Latin America, with her first book project examining the novel and controversial use of Constituent Assemblies to rewrite constitutions in a number of Latin American countries.  She has conducted in-depth field work in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Argentina and brings a wealth of experience to the classroom.  Alissandra has published in the International Political Science Review and has a number of additional papers nearing publication.

John Warner (assistant professor) earned his PhD from the University of California, Davis in 2011.  He will teach a variety of political thought courses for the department, including modern political thought.  Much of his research centers on Rousseau and Machiavelli, with a particular recent interest in conceptions of political alliances and political friendship.  John has published in the Journal of Politics, the Review of Politics, and History of Political Thought and his first book will be out this spring with Penn State University Press.

We are thrilled that both Alissandra and John have become Wildcats!

Johnson Named Editor of Book Series

Dr. Johnson
Dr. Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson (professor) was named series editor of the Lexington Press book series “Honor and Obligation in Liberal Society: Problems and Prospect.”  Dan Demetriou, University of Minnesota, Morris is also an editor of the series.  The prominent series was launched out of a concern that some liberal societies might be losing their sense of honor, civic obligation, higher moral purpose, shared values, and community.  The series focuses on the intersection of classical liberal thought, honor and social and civic obligations.  One the first books of the series is a volume edited by Johnson and Demetriou.  Entitled Perspective on Modern Honor, it includes contributions by well-known scholars such as Amitai Etzioni (George Washington University), Richard Ned Lebow (Dartmouth University & King’s College, London), Sharon Krause (Brown University), and Steven Forde (University of North Texas).  A number of other books are forthcoming in the series. For details, please see the series website: https://sites.google.com/site/lexingtonliberalism/home

Herspring Retires

Dr. Herspring at his Retirement Celebration
Dr. Herspring at his Retirement Celebration

After more than two decades of service to the department, University Distinguished Professor Dale R. Herspring retired in May.  A prolific scholar, Herspring has penned more than a dozen books and countless journal articles in outlets such as Armed Forces and Society and Problems in Post-Communism.  Herspring also founded the Political, Diplomatic, and Military Lecture Series at KSU and taught a number of courses that students will long remember, including the Professional Diplomat, Civil-Military Relations, and Politics of Russia & the Former Soviet Union.

A renowned scholar of Russian military affairs, Dale remains active in scholarship and the local community.  He is currently working on books on the Irish military and the Russian Military in the Artic.  A well-attended retirement ceremony was held for Dale in May.

Bell Takes Oz to Oz Research Trip to Australia and Gives Invited Talks

Dr. Sam Bell
Dr. Sam Bell

Sam Bell (associate professor) visited Australian National University in Canberra as a participant in K-State’s Oz to Oz program in March.  Bell presented research at ANU and continued his scholarly work with Richard Frank, lecturer at ANU, on a series of projects linking governmental transparency, electoral violence and the onset of civil war.

While in Canberra, Bell also laid the groundwork for future research on human rights and electoral protests with another ANU faculty member, Svitlana Chernykh.  Chernykh earned a Master of Arts in political science from K-State in 2004, graduating before Bell joined the department. The two met for the first time in Australia and soon discovered a range of potentially fruitful areas of research collaboration. Continue reading “Bell Takes Oz to Oz Research Trip to Australia and Gives Invited Talks”

Bell and Ciftci promoted to Associate Professor

Sam Bell and Sabri Ciftci were both promoted to associate professor with tenure in August 2015. Sam joined the department in 2009 and has established himself as a highly productive scholar and a strong teacher. Much of his scholarship focuses on interstate and civil conflict, U.S. foreign policy, and human rights.  He teaches courses on these subjects and also social science methodology.  His research has been published in some of the top ranked journal outlets in our discipline, including the Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, International Studies Quarterly, and Foreign Policy Analysis. Sam has also been invited to speak at universities and research institutes in Belgium, the UK, and the US.

As noted above, Sabri joined the department in 2008 and is currently the Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab-American Studies at K-State.  Sabri has also made a significant mark in his field of study. His work has appeared in a number of prestigious academic journals and in popular outlets such as the Foreign Affairs website.  His extensive research on public opinion, religion and politics has led to an ambitious new project examining why individuals are attracted to radical Islamist parties in certain parts of the Middle East.   Sabri has participated in invited workshops and has conducted considerable research in the Middle East.

We applaud Sam and Sabri for their achievements!

Notable Speakers Visit the Department

A number of prominent speakers have recently visited or will soon visit our department to meet with students and present innovative scholarship.  Watch the department Facebook page and twitter feeds for updates on future speakers!

Recent and upcoming visitors include:

Dr. Benjamin Fordham
Dr. Benjamin Fordham

Tom Holbrooke, Wilder Crane Professor at the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin, visited last spring.

Nicolas Van de Walle, Maxwell M. Upson Professor at Cornell University, visited in September.

Benjamin Fordham, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, SUNY-Binghamton, visited in October.

Jon Pevehouse, professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and editor of the prestigious journal International Organization will call on the department in December.

Dr. F. Gregory Gause III
Dr. F. Gregory Gause III

F. Gregory Gause, III, John H. Lindsey ’44 Chair and Head of the International Affairs Department at Texas A&M University, plans to visit in February.