Burdine Chronicles – April 2017

Dear Alumni and Friends,

It is that time of year again when I have the great honor to update you all on the many accomplishments of the Government department’s faculty, graduate students, and alumni. I continue to be impressed with our community of scholars, and begin my kudos with a collective shout out for our department’s recent climb into the “top 20” in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report Rankings of political science departments. We are now tied for #19 with Cornell, Penn, and WashU. I am confident this rise is the beginning of a long upward trajectory.

Our students, alumni, and faculty continue producing world-class research showcased in the discipline’s leading outlets. For example, graduate student Anthony Ives has just had an article accepted for publication in Journal of Politics. John Gerring has a forthcoming piece in British Journal of Political Science. Our IR faculty have been all over International Organization with Mike Findley, Scott Wolford, and Nate Jensen each having published or forthcoming articles there. Meanwhile, we have had several hits in the discipline’s flagship journal, the American Political Science Review – alumni Natasha Borges Sugiyama and Brian Wampler have an article published in the current issue of APSR, and Lorraine Pangle has one forthcoming in 2017.

Our faculty continue shining in other venues too. Princeton University Press has asked Jeff Tulis to republish his seminal The Rhetorical Presidency with a new foreword and afterword as part of their Princeton Classics series. The Rhetorical Presidency will be the 30th book in the series and only the second by a political scientist. Jeff also has a new book, Legacies of Losing in American Politics, co-authored with UT alum Nicole Mellow that is forthcoming with Chicago. J. Budziszewski’s second book of a series of commentaries on the works of Thomas Aquinas is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. Tasha Philpot’s book, Conservative but Not Republican: The Paradox of Party Identification and Ideology among African Americans, is fresh off the presses from Cambridge. Devin Stauffer’s new book on Hobbes will be coming out with University of Chicago Press. And Maurizio Viroli had two books on Machiavelli published with Princeton University Press last year.

Administratively, Dan Brinks has been named the university’s next Outstanding Graduate Advisor. Zoltan Barany is making a name for himself on the Arabian Peninsula as the non-resident Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Nate Jensen is breaking department records for the amount of press generated by his study of economic development tax incentives – most recently he published this commentary in the Dallas Morning News. And Kurt Weyland’s 2013 Journal of Democracy article on Latin America’s left wing populism just received substantial attention in The New York Times.

Also noteworthy, Bat Sparrow organized a symposium published in the April issue of PS: Political Science and Politics. Rachel Wellhausen, Jonathan Lewallen, and Peter Harris each contributed articles to “’Disembodied Shades’: Teaching the Territories of the United States.”

Alumni accomplishments remain strong too. Christian Sorace has published a book with Cornell University Press. Matt Rhodes-Purdy has an article in Comparative Politics and a book contract with Cambridge University Press. Bruce Peabody and Jay Dow have published books, Trey Thomas’ book is forthcoming, new books are also out by Susanne Martin and Muserrif Yetim, and we know more are on their way.

What’s more, our most recent graduates have been landing tenure-track jobs in large numbers! During the current 2016-17 cycle, we have placed 11 ABDs and recent PhDs in tenure-track positions here and abroad including at University of Miami, Wayne State University, Old Dominion, University of Tampa, Colorado College, National Taiwan University, and Victoria University (New Zealand).

Besides producing mountains of top-flight research, we are also providing interesting and challenging courses to thousands of students every semester. According to the most recent figures, the Department of Government teaches more undergraduates than any other department in the College of Liberal Arts, by quite a long way. At a projected 46,000 semester credit hours (over 15,000 students) for academic year 2016-17, we teach roughly 50% more undergraduates than any other department in COLA. Moreover, we are in the midst of redesigning our curriculum to include an expanded internship program, providing more experimental learning, more undergraduate research opportunities, and optional tracks to allow for greater concentration in particular areas of interest.

I also want to take this opportunity to say thank you to a couple of faculty members who have recently stepped down from active teaching – Bruce Buchanan and Gary Freeman. Our best wishes are with both of these stalwarts. But of course there is news on the other end of the cycle. Congratulations to Amy Liu for being promoted to associate professor, to Mike Findley for being promoted to professor, and to Michael Anderson for being promoted to senior lecturer.

I hope to see many of you at the Midwest Conference in Chicago in just a couple of days. The Texas Reception is Thursday, 6:30-8:30. As always, I will be passing out drink tickets as if they were candy.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair