Kansas State University


Political Science

Category: SPRING 2015

A Note from the Department Head

Would you consider sharing your time and knowledge with current K-Staters?

Jeff Pickering

Welcome to the Kansas State Department of Political Science spring 2015 newsletter. As you know, we are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our students, and we are proud to be able to offer them a positive, rewarding learning environment. Fortunately for us, many of our alumni continue to share knowledge built from a lifetime of accomplishment with current K-Staters. There are too many examples to list in this newsletter, and we are thankful for each and every one of them. We would, however, like to highlight three such alumni visits from the past year – those of Judge Patricia Sietz, John Hofmeister, and Don Dressler. Information on these proud alums’ visits to KSU classrooms is provided below.

Would you be willing to share your insight with a current K-State Political Science major? A brief phone call or Skype conversation can be invaluable for a student, and might be the event that launches them down a successful and rewarding career path. If you would be interested in visiting with, or even mentoring, a current K-State student with a concentration in a field that you have thrived in, please contact the department’s Senior Administrative Assistant, Krista Moore, at kbohnny@ksu.edu.

All the best,

Jeff Pickering
Department Head

Undergraduate Students Get Hands-On Research Experience

Patrick Riggin working with Dr. Martinez Machain
Patrick Riggin working with Dr. Martinez Machain

One of Kansas State University’s goals in Vision 2025 is to involve a growing number of outstanding undergraduate students in academic research. Assisting and collaborating with faculty on academic scholarship not only provides hands-on experience for our students, it adds considerable depth to their education. Instead of merely listening to a summary of relevant information in class, they get to become part of the exciting process of generating new knowledge themselves.

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Patricia A. Seitz Named Alumni Fellow

KSU President Kirk Schulz, Judge Patricia Seitz, and Dean Peter Dorhout at the Alumni Fellow Award Ceremony

Senior US District Judge Patricia Seitz, BA 1968, was honored as a University Alumni SeitzFellow in April. Judge Seitz spent two days on campus, and shared her knowledge and experiences with students in John Fliter’s Constitutional Law course and with pre-law students on campus. She also met with two Seitz scholarship recipients on campus, and with student veterans.

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Earhart Foundation to Sponsor Mini-Conference in Department

The Earhart Foundation, a charitable foundation established in 1929 by Harry Boyd Earhart, has provided a $7,500 grant to Dr. Laurie Johnson for a Mini-Conference featuring the authors contributing to Perspectives on Modern Honor, an edited volume that will be published by Lexington Press. The Mini-Conference will be held Friday, March 27, 2015 in KSU’s Hale Library (Hemisphere Room, 5th Floor). It is open to the public, and interested individuals are encouraged to attend.

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Notable Alumni Visit KSU Political Science Classes

Three additional KSU alumni recently returned to Manhattan and spoke to KSU Political Science classes.

John Hofmeister
John Hofmeister

John Hofmeister, BA 1971 and MA 1973 in Political Science, former President of Shell Oil (2005-2008) and founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, spoke to students in POLSC 611 Legislative Processes on February 11, 2014. Just two weeks before the class, John had been featured in a segment on CNN’s Anderson Cooper news program on the influence that money has on Congressional politics. Students watched the CNN clip before John’s talk and then asked a range of questions. Talk about learning from a respected and knowledgeable source! John was also gracious enough to speak at a number of other venues on campus, including giving the Lou Douglas Lecture that evening.

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Heidbreder Promoted to Associate Professor

Dr. Brianne Heidbreder
Dr. Brianne Heidbreder

Brianne Heidbreder was promoted to associate professor with tenure in August 2014.  Brianne joined the department as a faculty member in August 2008 and quickly developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher and scholar.  She has already won the William L. Stamey Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at KSU, and has published in outlets such as Legislative Studies Quarterly and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.  We are thrilled she will be a Wildcat for some time to come.

Annual Scholarship Reception and Scholarship Winners

Dr. Jim Franke and Dr. John Fliter presenting awards to students
Dr. Jim Franke and Dr. John Fliter presenting awards to students

The department held its annual scholarship reception on Thursday, April 17th, at the Bluemont Room in the K-State Student Union. Family, guests, donors, and faculty members joined our scholarship winners and majors for an enjoyable afternoon. Please consider joining the fun at this years’s reception, which will be held at the Manhattan Country Club on Friday, April 10, 2015.

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KSU Political Science Honor Roll of Giving, July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014

Generous gifts by alumni and friends are crucial to the success of our students and faculty. Such donations have helped us to support talented undergraduate students, attract quality graduate students, and enhance our instructional and research equipment, and send students and faculty to conferences to present their research findings and to stay on the cutting edge of knowledge. We are extremely thankful to those who have contributed to the department, and are pleased to recognize those giving more than $100 in our Honor Roll of Giving.

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Faculty Updates

Dr. Nathaniel Birkhead
Dr. Nathaniel Birkhead

Our faculty continues to be extremely active in the profession, as the highlights below illustrate.  As many readers can surely testify, our outstanding professors are dedicated to excellence both as teachers and as scholars. They work hard to ensure that the best new knowledge is brought into the classroom for K-State students, so that generation after generation of K-Staters receive a first class education. Below you will find a few highlights from what has been yet another strong year for faculty in the KSU Department of Political Science.

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