Recent Alumni News, Awards, Op-Eds, etc.

Brandon Archuleta: 2020-21 Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow (Strategic Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia in the U.S. Department of the Treasury)

Katherine Bersch: When Democracies Deliver: Governance Reform in Latin America, selected by the International Political Science Association’s Research Committee on the Structure of Governance as the 2020 recipient of the Charles H. Levine Memorial Book Prize; selected for the 2020 SPAR Award for the Best Book Published in Public Administration in 2019 by the American Society for Public Administration

Maraam Dwidar: Recipient of the 2020 POP/Party Politics Award recognizing the best paper delivered on a Political Organizations and Parties-sponsored panel at the preceding APSA annual meeting, for “Interest Group Coalitions and Minority Representation in Rulemaking”

Roy Germano: research on migrant remittances was referenced by the NY Times; The Other Side of Immigration named Best Documentary on The Hill‘s list of best civil rights movies of all time

Dennis Hickey: piece in CHINA-US Focus, “US-China Tensions and the Salience of the Taiwan Issue”

Amy Lauren Lovecraft (nee Suker) (and collaborators): Interdisciplinary Research for Arctic Coastal Environments (InteRFACE) grant – an $8.7 million partnership with four national laboratories and the International Arctic Research Center to improve earth system modeling.

John Meyer: Received the TISTA Tech Veteran Academic Leadership Award for his role in creating Veterans’ Voices, a state-wide humanities project. Veterans’ Voices brings soldiers and civilians together to break the silence around the experience of war. The project is sponsored by Humanities Texas, and has received two consecutive grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

David Weiden: NY Times Op-Ed, “This 19th Century Law Helps Shape Criminal Justice in Indian Country;Winter Countschosen as a Best Book by Amazon, Apple Books, Oprah Magazine, Time, Washington Post, and other outlets

Burdine Chronicles – April 2019

Dear Alumni and Friends,

This newsletter is somewhat bittersweet for me. This is my last semester as chair, and thus my last newsletter. With that in mind, I hope to see many of you in Chicago at the MPSA conference. The Texas Reception is Saturday night, April 6, 8:30-10:30, in the Honore room. I hope you will give me the pleasure of handing you a drink ticket one more time.

As always, we have plenty to celebrate. Recently, I am especially encouraged by the success that our alumni and graduate students have been enjoying. For example, in Fall 2019, Steven Brooke moves on from Louisville to start a tenure-track position at University of Wisconsin-Madison, which I and my predecessor, Gary Freeman (being proud UW PhDs), have always maintained is the top department in the country. This comes on the heels of Brooke publishing his book with Cornell, Winning Hearts and Votes: Social Services and the Islamist Political Advantage. We have other exciting placement news as well. Ken Miller, coming off a Princeton post-doc, will begin a tenure-track position at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Miller’s article, “The Divided Labor of Attack Advertising in Congressional Campaigns,” is forthcoming in Journal of Politics. Christina Bambrick will begin a tenure-track position at Clemson; Thomas Bell a tenure-track position at Knox College; Nadine Gibson a tenure-track position at UNC-Wilmington; Kyosuke Kikuta a tenured position at Osaka University; Joe Tafoya a tenure-track position at DePaul; and Michelle Whyman a tenure-track position at Florida State. Matthew Wright’s book A Vindication of Politics: On the Common Good and Human Flourishing, has been published by University Press of Kansas, and Wright has some exciting news about a prestigious visiting appointment for 2019-20 that should be ready soon for public announcement. Giorleny Altamirano Rayo’s dissertation, “Securing Territory: State Interests and the Implementation of Ethnic Land Rights in the Americas,” won the Western Political Science Association’s best dissertation award, and Kate Bersch’s book, When Democracies Deliver: Governance Reform in Latin America, has been published by Cambridge. And Trey Thomas has won UT-Arlington’s President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

I am also pleased to note some of the many ways that our faculty members continue to impress. First, a note about promotion. In Fall 2019 four associate professors will be promoted to full professor: Dan Brinks, Devin Stauffer, Jeff Tulis, and Scott Wolford. Congratulations to these four most-deserving candidates! A quick word about two of these professors. Devin Stauffer’s book, Hobbes’s Kingdom of Light, will be the focus of an author meets critics roundtable at Midwest, at 8am Friday morning. And Scott Wolford’s new book, The Politics of the First World War: A Course in Game Theory and International Security, is available from Cambridge University Press. Other faculty members continue to make waves as well. Kurt Weyland and Raúl Madrid have published their edited volume, When Democracy Trumps Populism, and Tom Pangle’s next book, The Socratic Founding of Political Philosophy: Xenophon’s Economist, Symposium, and Apology, has an expected 2020 release from Chicago. Bryan Jones, Sean Theriault, and Michelle Whyman’s new book, The Great Broadening: How the Vast Expansion of the Policymaking Agenda Transformed American Politics, will be published with Chicago in June 2019.

In the category of “making waves,” Nate Jensen is something of a media phenomenon. Jensen and graduate student Calvin Thrall released in February a white paper, “Who’s afraid of sunlight? Explaining opposition to transparency in economic development.” Since January 2019, the College public relations team has collected more than 500 media clips mentioning Jensen’s work on economic development incentives, which far outpaces any other faculty member at UT. Bethany Albertson has won a President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award, Zach Elkins’ project, Constitute, has been made available in Spanish, Amy Liu received a President’s Award for Global Learning to lead a team of undergraduates student maternal mortality rates in Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus, and Zach Elkins, Ken Greene, and Eric McDaniel have received Provost’s Authors Fellowships to support their current book projects. Finally, this Spring we hosted the Southern Political Science Association’s annual meeting. Organized by Chris Wlezien, this year’s Southern was the association’s most well-attended meeting on record.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to a couple of faculty members who are retiring or entering phased retirement after this semester – Jim Enelow and David Prindle. Our many thanks and best wishes go out to both of them. Another fine colleague, Paula Newberg, left the department at the end of the Fall semester to return to DC. We wish her the very best.

As my time as chair comes to end, I can’t help but to get a bit introspective. I became chair in 2013, and sent my first newsletter before that Fall’s APSA conference. At the time, we were coming off our most recent external review. The external reviewers noted that a 2-2 teaching load is standard at a leading research university, but that the number of students our faculty teach is well above the norm and thus our teaching load is “very difficult to reconcile with a scholarly career.” A key part of our teaching load, of course, is the introductory sequence of GOV 310 and 312. On this front, I believe we have made important changes that have lessened this teaching burden for the bulk of our faculty by introducing online courses. Make no mistake, we are teaching more students than ever. Our count for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 had us teaching more than 9,000 students across 310 and 312. However, we have succeeded in shifting this burden away from the majority of our faculty. Our online course offerings routinely teach nearly half of these students, while graduate assistant instructors and non-tenure track faculty teach the bulk of the rest. Every semester a few tenured and tenure track faculty also contribute significantly to this teaching load, but overall, I believe the innovations we have pursued, especially the online course offerings, have been a net positive for the teaching burden carried by the bulk of the department. Simultaneously, we have been a stand out department within the College given the disproportionate college-wide teaching burden we are carrying.

Two other areas that the external report flagged for improvement were faculty leaves and graduate funding. I will be the first to admit that the progress we have made on these two issues is not adequate, but I am pleased that we have been able to make some progress. Again, the progress we have made can be attributed to our online course offerings. In Fall 2019, two faculty members will receive a semester-long research leave that is a product of an agreement with the Dean that translates our large enrollments in online courses into extra faculty leaves. Moreover, beginning in Fall 2019 we are giving an across-the-board increase in graduate student teaching assistant stipends with money generated by online course enrollments through University Extension. To reiterate, in neither of these cases is the progress we have made sufficient. We would still welcome and benefit greatly from a systematic sabbatical policy. And our graduate students have been suffering for too long as their wages have not kept pace with Austin’s increasing cost of living. We continue to work to improve this situation, and will continue doing so. Thanks to some generous programs from the Provost, Graduate School, and College, in combination with department resources we have been able to allocate toward this effort, we are pleased that we have been able to make some improvements, even if we wish we could do more. Improving the graduate student experience here I am sure will always remain a priority.

Serving as department chair has been an unforgettable experience and a great honor. I appreciate all of your support over these past six years. While there were always surprises waiting for me around the corner, what has remained consistent is the professionalism and high level of scholarship and teaching provided by our faculty, students, and alumni. I want to thank all of you for contributing to the department’s record of academic excellence. I hope to see you in Chicago.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

2017-18 Comparative Politics Speaker Series

Fall 2017

September 25: Caitlin Andrews (UT- Government)
October 9: David Laitin (Stanford University)
October 23: Laron Williams (University of Missouri)
November 6: Holger Albrecht  (University of Alabama)
November 13: Jason Brownlee (UT)
November 20: David Samuels (University of Minnesota)
December 4: Tom Pepinsky (Cornell University)

All meetings are at 12pm in BAT 5.108

Spring 2018 TBD

Burdine Chronicles – September 2016

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I look forward to seeing many of you in Philadelphia this week! The Texas Reception is Friday 7:30-9:00 pm, in the PA Convention Center, Room 103‐A. As is hopefully now the norm, we have a lot to celebrate this year.

But before getting into that, I want to take a moment to mention a couple of our colleagues we have lost. This year we lost Janice May, a scholar of state politics and state constitutions, who was frequently called as an outside expert to advise state legislatures in the process of amending their constitutions and, among other things, was the first woman to receive tenure in the department. We also lost Kenneth Williams, who had been teaching at Michigan State since 1988. Many of us will have fond memories of both, and our thoughts are with them.

In April 2016 before MPSA, I wrote about the success of our faculty and graduate students publishing in premier outlets. But, in the few short months since then I have even more prestigious publications by our faculty to brag to you about. Tasha Philpot is publishing a book with Cambridge University Press, Conservative but Not Republican: The Paradox of Party Identification and Ideology among African Americans. Juliet Hooker has a forthcoming book with Oxford University Press, Theorizing Race in the Americas: An Intellectual Genealogy. Xiaobo Lu and Chris Wlezien have forthcoming articles in Comparative Political Studies, Wendy Hunter has one in Comparative Politics, and Scott Wolford landed one in Journal of Politics.

Now, let me direct your attention to similar levels of success of our alumni. More specifically, two alumni have published books this year with Cambridge. In May, Danny Hayes (with Jennifer Lawless) published Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era. And with a planned September release, Austin Hart has published Economic Voting: A Campaign-Centered Theory. See the full list of recent alumni publications here.

There is other exciting alumni news too. For example, Matt Buehler has been awarded a research fellowship at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he will work under the auspices of the school’s Middle East Initiative with Tarek Masoud. Another recent alum, Daniel McCormack, won the Graduate School’s Outstanding Dissertation Award for “Protection from Themselves: International Hierarchy and Domestic Politics.” Dan is in his second year of a prestigious post-doc at University of Pennsylvania.

And, unsurprisingly, two of our most distinguished alumni continue bringing home awards. Janet Box-Steffensmeier will receive the Society for Political Methodology’s 2016 Excellence in Mentoring Award, which will be presented to her Friday Sept. 2 at the Method’s section business meeting. Additionally, Jan’s article, “Examining Legislative Cue-Taking in the US Senate,” has won the Jewell-Loewenberg Award for best article published in Legislative Studies Quarterly in 2015.

And then there is Marc Hetherington, who has won two major book awards. APSA’s Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section has named Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics the 2016 winner of the Philip E. Converse Book Award. And the International Society for Political Psychology has named Why Washington Won’t Work the 2016 winner of the Alexander George Award for the best book published during the previous year in the field of political psychology. Please check in on the rest of our alumni news here.

Speaking of book awards, APSA’s political psychology section has named Bethany Albertson’s Anxious Politics: Democratic Citizenship in a Threatening World as co-winner of the 2015 Robert E. Lane Award for the best book in political psychology. Bethany, along with Daron Shaw and Bruce Buchanan, were featured in the most recent edition of Life & Letters, the College’s alumni magazine.

I would also like to point out that the department continues its run of strong postdoc placements. Recently, Kyle Endres and Michelle Whyman received postdoc positions at Duke, Connor Ewing will be at the University of Virginia, while Rachel Navarre and Jessica Price are at Tulane. Kate Bersch has finished up her stint at Stanford and has moved on to a postdoc at McGill.

And finally, I know I have already noted this, but please let me once again offer our collective congratulations and deep-felt thanks to Nancy Moses, the Executive Assistant for the GOV department for several decades, who is retiring at the end of September. Nancy, you will be missed!

So, 2016 has been another banner year so far for the UT Government department and there promises to be even more great research and inspiring teaching to come this Fall. Please join us at the reception on Friday evening to celebrate. Drinks are on me!


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Government Honors Thesis: Holly Heinrich

Title: Before the Well Runs Dry: Water Policy and the Future of the Lone Star State

Author: Holly Heinrich


By 2060, Texas will not have enough water for all its people, businesses, and agricultural enterprises if the state experiences severe drought, according to the predictions of the Texas Water Development Board. The challenge for governments in Texas is to prevent that prediction from coming true, either by developing new water supplies or changing how Texans use water. In this thesis, I examine how different levels of government in Texas allocate water when there is not enough water for all users, and also investigate whether governmental entities have increased their emphasis on promoting or requiring conservation. The state government of Texas, the Lower Colorado River Authority, and the city of Austin provide the case studies for my analysis. My studies have shown that Texas is moving increasingly toward conservation in its attempt to ensure an adequate water supply for the future. Whether more comprehensive measures are needed will likely depend on future weather patterns and population growth. Lastly, I discuss how past and present governmental policies, as well as changing realities in Texas, are expected to shape the state’s water policy in the future.

Chausovsky Attends Con History Workshop

Jonathan Chausovsky attended an Institute for Constitutional History workshop, held at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, led by Sandy Levinson, July 8-13.  The topic was “Assessing the U.S. Constitution: Twenty First Century Responses to Eighteenth-Century Assumptions.”