Kansas State University


Political Science

Category: SUMMER 2017

A Note From the Department Head

Alumni and friends,

It is an honor to share another edition of the KSU Department of Political Science e-newsletter with you.  There have been a number of exciting developments in the department since our last e-newsletter edition, including a major announcement regarding an international conference that is coming to KSU and an innovative new partnership with a university in Beijing.  Not surprisingly, our faculty and students continue to earn important accolades as well.

As I have noted many times before, it is an absolutely outstanding time to be a student in the KSU Political Science department.  The stories below underscore this point, and help to illustrate the world class experience we are able to provide to each new cohort of K-Staters.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions or would like further information about the department.  And, please consider stopping by to say hello if you are in Manhattan.  Remember, we are now located in the heart of campus in Calvin Hall, right across from the parking garage and the KSU Union!

Jeff Pickering


KSU to Host 2019 Peace Science Society Conference

The department is thrilled to announce that we will host the 2019 Peace Science Society (PSS) annual conference. The PSS is the foremost association in our discipline that studies international conflict and related issues using quantitative methods.  As you might guess, serving as host for the annual conference is an important accomplishment for the department, and recognition of our standing in the profession.

To date, the conference has been held at universities with highly visible, prominent international relations programs.  Yale, Rice University, the University of Michigan, the Ohio State University, the University of Iowa, Indiana University, Emory University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have hosted over recent years. In 2016, the conference was held at the University of Notre Dame, and it has recently been at USC and “Penn.”  Arizona State hosts this year (they now house two prominent journals in our field), and the University of Texas at Austin hosts next year. Continue reading “KSU to Host 2019 Peace Science Society Conference”

Partnership with Beijing Information Science & Technology University (BISTU)

Delegates from BISTU and KSU Faculty

The Department of Political Science has entered into an innovative partnership with the Beijing Information Science & Technology University (BISTU).  BISTU is a prominent public university in northern Beijing with a well-established undergraduate public administration program.  Our collaboration with BISTU is called a 3+1+2 program, and it is the first arrangement of its type between KSU and a Chinese university.  Interested BISTU students will enter the program specifically to earn a KSU MPA degree, and their fourth year of undergraduate study at KSU will be applied toward their BISTU bachelor’s degree requirements.  Future collaboration among faculty at the two universities is also a possibility.

Needless to say, we are excited about the talented new undergraduate and graduate students that this partnership will bring to KSU and the relationship that has developed between our department and BISTU.  The arrangement also has the potential to open up exciting new pathways for collaboration between K-State and additional universities in China.

New Political Science Scholarship Created

Pfannenstiel Family

Melia and Ryan Pfannenstiel remember the professors, staff and students who shaped their time at Kansas State University when they graciously funded the Evelyn M. Bieker Political Science Scholarship. They have fond memories of their time in college that have inspired them to give back to their alma mater.

“Attending college presents you a view of the world that is bigger than yourself. This is where philanthropy begins to take root,” Ryan said. “During graduate school, Melia was the beneficiary of funding and resources that were provided through the Department of Political Science. She saw firsthand how important donors can be to a department. We wanted to help future generations by lessening the financial burden as much as possible.” Continue reading “New Political Science Scholarship Created”

Ciftci Wins Teaching Award

Dr. Sabri Ciftci

Sabri Ciftci, associate professor and Suleiman Chair in the department, was one of four faculty members selected in 2017 from across KSU for a Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.  Last year, Ciftci won the William L. Stamey Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence within the College of Arts and Sciences.

In his classes, Sabri always strives to increase students’ understanding of different cultures and variations in social and political practices.  He also works to help students grasp how events in the Middle East can be important to our everyday lives, and may impact the entire world.  Sabri’s efforts extend beyond the classroom as well.  He has arranged for countless visiting scholars to speak about Middle Eastern political issues at KSU and has organized workshops and panels on campus that are open to everyone.

Ciftci is also, of course, a highly respected scholar of Middle Eastern issues, having recently been invited to speak at Princeton University, Rice University, and the American University in Beirut.

Our students are fortunate to learn from experts like Dr. Ciftci who have a passion for teaching!

Alumni Return to Share Experiences

Ryan Winter Visits Dr. Fliter’s Constitutional Law Course

We are fortunate that successful alumni continue to give back to the department.  Last spring, two of our alums visited campus and shared their career experiences with students.  Ryan Winter, a litigation attorney at Hall and Evans, LLC, in Denver, spoke to Dr. John Fliter’s Constitutional Law class and also meet with a number of pre-law students to provide advice.  Ryan earned his B.A. in political science from K-State in 1996 before receiving his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law in 2000.  Now a managing partner at Hall and Evans, Ryan shared invaluable insight on the path to becoming a successful attorney in private practice for our students.

Susan Herbl

Susan Herbel visited the department as well to talk with students in our MPA program.  She shared knowledge gained through more than two decades of experience developing, implementing, and evaluating transportation safety programs at the federal, state, and local levels.  Susan earned her M.A. in Political Science from the department and a PhD from the University of Oklahoma.  She has been a principal partner at Cambridge Systematics, Inc. since 2007.  Susan has visited in the past, and we are extremely grateful that she continues to provide valuable guidance for our students.

Bell Named as Editor of International Studies Review

Sam Bell

Associate professor Sam Bell has been named as a new editor for the International Studies Association’s quarterly journal International Studies Review. As part of the journal’s editorial team, he will ensure that the peer review process is followed for all submissions and he will help to decide which articles will eventually appear in the journal.  The International Studies Association (ISA) is the oldest interdisciplinary association dedicated to international politics and global affairs and is composed of more than 7,000 members.  Published by Oxford University Press, International Studies Review has a substantial impact on the field of international relations and is widely read by academics, practitioners, policy experts, private sector workers, and independent analysts.

Sam already serves on the editorial board of another ISA journal, International Studies Quarterly, which is in itself a notable achievement. Kudos to Sam for being selected for leadership roles on prominent ISA journals!

Bernick and Ciftci Win Best Paper Award

Associate professor Ethan Bernick, associate professor and Suleiman Chair Sabri Ciftci, and KSU sociology faculty member Chardie Baird won the Jewell Limar Prestage Best Paper Award from the Southwestern Political Science Association (SPSA).  The Prestage Award is given to the best paper presented at the annual SPSA conference on the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, and political behavior.  Their paper was titled “How Cultural Beliefs About Women’s Role in the World Shape Women’s Civic Engagement.”

Congratulations to Ethan, Sabri, and Chardie!  Their award winning paper provides yet another example of the excellent and field-shaping research that is being produced by our department.

Martinez Machain Promoted to Associate Professor

Carla Martinez Machain

Carla Martinez Machain has been promoted to associate professor with tenure beginning August 2017.  Carla joined the department in 2012 and has established herself as an excellent scholar and teacher.  Her research interests include international conflict, conflict outcomes, domestic coercion, and foreign policy analysis and her work has been appeared in highly regarded journals such as International Studies Quarterly, Foreign Policy Analysis, International Interactions and the Journal of Conflict Resolution.  Carla has served on the editorial board of the ISA journal Foreign Policy Analysis, has been a member of the ISA-Midwest Executive Board, and is currently the Program Chair for the Scientific Study of International Processes Section of International Studies Association.  She recently received a Big 12 Fellowship to further collaborative research with scholars at Iowa State University.  Carla teaches a number of popular courses on foreign policy, international relations, and security studies topics.   Congratulations Carla on your success and promotion!

Political Science Department Honors Students at Recognition Reception

The department held its annual recognition reception on Friday, April 21, on the third floor of Calvin Hall.  Family members, guests, donors, and faculty members attended the event to celebrate the success of our scholarship recipients, honorary society members, and graduate teaching assistants. The department awarded $17,450 in scholarship funds to undergraduate students, $3,700 in scholarship funds to graduate students, and $130,000 for graduate assistantships for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Graduate assistantships also include over $70,200 in total tuition support. Continue reading “Political Science Department Honors Students at Recognition Reception”