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Spring 2019 PSC Newsletter

Department Chair's Welcome

Hello from the Department of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma. As we face challenges across campus and across our country, the department continues to provide the vital service of educating students at OU in the basics of our political systems. You will find in this newsletter updates on a variety of activities within the department. You can read about the various events and lectures sponsored by the department that bring in prominent speakers from across the country and the successes of our students. We bid farewell to some colleagues and welcome new initiatives within the department. We hope you will join us in this review of the year in our department. 

- Scott Robinson, Chair, Department of Political Science

Exit Poll from a Student's Perspective

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Political Science major Jazmine Pickens won the Cross Examination Debate Association National Championships in Long Beach, California along with her debate partner, Darius White. This was the "Open" National Championship; she was a 'Sweet 16' finisher at the 'Invitational' National Championship that concluded on March 26. The 2019 Cross Examination Debate Association National Tournament took place April 4-7 in Long Beach, California. Founded in 1971 as the Southwest Cross Examination Debate Association, CEDA is the primary national association promoting policy topic intercollegiate academic debate.

Anaya Bhaktaram won an OU Honors College Award for Most Outstanding Project Grand Prize for her presentation at Undergraduate Research Day. Bhaktaram received a monetary award for her presentation titled "Residential Segregation: A Story of Health Inadequacies." Her faculty sponsor for the project was political science professor Abhishek Ghosh Moulick. Bhaktaram's presentation analyzed the corresponding effects on life longevity by analyzing racial and median income data in neighborhoods in major American Metropolitan areas.

Matthew Geras, a political science Ph.D. student and graduate fellow with the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center, received the Nancy L. Mergler Dissertation Completion Fellowship for the 2019-20 academic year. This fellowship award supports students, giving them time to devote to their dissertations in the final phases of their academic careers. Geras' research focuses on candidates and competition in congressional elections, the rules and institutions that govern elections, and political participation with Congress.

Alumni Spotlight

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Elizabeth Bell, of Austin, Texas, has been selected as a 2019 recipient of a Dissertation Fellowship by the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. The $10,000 fellowships are designed to support active members in the dissertation writing stage of doctoral study. Bell is one of ten recipients nationwide to receive the award. Bell is a political science Ph.D. candidate at OU specializing in public administration and higher education policy. Her research agenda and teaching interests are at the intersection of higher education policy and public and nonprofit management with a focus on college affordability and social equity.

Chris Sartorius, a recent Ph.D graduate of the OU Department of Political Science, received the Provost's Certificate of Distinction in Teaching for the spring 2018 semester. The recipients of the award represent the top 10 percent of all graduate assistants across campus as determined by student evaluations. Sartorius received the award for teaching PSC 4863-Strategic Intelligence, which is an upper-level OU Political Science course. Sartorius received his Ph.D in summer of 2018.

Caleb Gayle Named Emerging Voices Fellowship Scholar

Demos, a progressive public policy organization, selected scholar and journalist Caleb J. Gayle as its Emerging Voices Fellow for 2018-2019. Gayle graduated with a bachelor of science degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma, earned a master of science degree in Latin American Studies at the University of Oxford, St. Antony’s College in 2012, and a master in business administration and public policy from Harvard University in 2017. 

2019 Bellmon Lecture of Public Service

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Political Science Professor Ana Bracic has accepted a new position in the Michigan State University Political Science Department, focusing on their minority politics initiative and multidisciplinary lab. Bracic has been with our department since fall 2014. Her research is predominantly in the field of comparative politics, and focuses on questions of human rights, discrimination, the persistence of social exclusion, and ground-level effectiveness of human rights institutions, such as NGOs. Most of her research relies on lab-in-field and survey experiments. Bracic is a co-founder of Community Engagement + Experiments Lab and served on its faculty advisory board.

Political Science Professor Glen S. Krutz has been named the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Krutz is currently a tenured professor who has served as senior vice provost, professor of political science, and Headington Hall Faculty-in-Residence. He was responsible for instruction, general education, student retention and graduation, academic advisement, enrollment management, multidisciplinary studies, research compliance, and State Regents’ matters at OU. Krutz was one of four finalists for the position and is expected to transition to OSU about July 1.

Political Science Professor Hank Jenkins-Smith was recently listed as a top-cited scholar in his fields of expertise. He is the sixth most-cited in his field of public policy and ranked in the top 100 for the field of political science as a whole. This data is based on the number of citations as recorded in Google Scholar. The Political Science 400, published by Cambridge, identifies the 400 most highly cited scholars in the profession who are currently teaching at Ph.D.-granting departments in the United States, with their primary appointment in that department, by tallying the citations to lifetime bodies of work in all journals and books.

Nonprofit Program Forges Connections

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Professor of Political Science Michael Givel has won the Muriel Wright Award from the Oklahoma Historical Society for his article, “Sundown on the Prairie: The Extralegal Campaigns and Efforts from 1889 to 1967 to Exclude African Americans from Norman, Oklahoma,” published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Volume 96. He was honored at the annual Oklahoma Historical Society History Conference on April 26. Professor Givel's areas of research specialization include: public policy theory, complexity theory, and Himalayan area policy studies. His areas of teaching specialization include Himalayan area studies, well-being policy, U.S. urban politics, and social movements.

The Graduate College recognized Political Science Professor Carol Silva at their Spring 2019 Graduate Liaison Meeting. Silva was presented with a “Graddy” award for her support and service to the graduate student community at OU. She is the Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor in the Department of Political Science, and serves as co-director of the National Institute for Risk and Resilience. She is also director of the Center for Risk and Crisis Management, and co-director of the Center for Energy, Security and Society.

2019 Awards Luncheon

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Don't forget to follow all of the action on our social media pages, @OUPoliSci. Have any suggestions or tips for the newsletter? Drop us a line at

University of Oklahoma
Department of Political Science
455 West Lindsey, Room 205
Norman, OK 

(405) 325-2061

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