Richard Armey represented the north Dallas area in the House from 1985 until his retirement last year. His rise in the GOP leadership was meteoric, as he became the chair of the GOP Conference in 1991 and majority leader in 1995, the fastest rise to that high office in history. Armey was an economist and received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in 1969. During his congressional career he often pressed for public policies in line with his free-market approach to government and the economy. He was among the leaders of the Republican “revolution” that led the GOP to its first House majority in forty years in 1995.
J.C. Watts represented Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District from 1992 to 2003. Like Armey, Congressman Watts made a rapid ascent to the GOP leadership ranks, becoming the Conference Chair during just his third term in the House, again a record. Watts was an active and visible spokesperson for the House Republicans. He was instrumental in revamping the Conference communications operation and in the creation of GOP.GOV, their web-site. He favored policies supporting family and faith-based approaches to social problems. A 1981 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Watts served previously as a member of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
In addition to these notable leadership collections, the Center has also received the papers of the Congressional Sunbelt Caucus. The caucus was a bipartisan Legislative Service Organization (LSO) that included members of the Congress from southern and southwestern states. It commenced in 1981 and continued in operation until 1995. It was among the most influential LSOs and its collections will prove invaluable to researchers seeking to understand the important role that LSOs played in the Congress for over two decades.
Center Assistant Curator Todd Kosmerick indicates that a portion of the Sunbelt Caucus papers are now available for public use. The papers of Congressmen Armey and Watts will not be available until a future date.
Congressional Fellowship Program:
A Dual Perspective on Congress
The Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma offers a unique five-year Ph.D. program in the study of American government focusing on the Congress and representative government.
Fellows spend the first three years of the program on campus completing their Ph.D. course work and preparing for their general examinations. They participate in a rigorous academic program and receive academic support from the Center's three full-time faculty members as well as from the other professors in the Political Science Department. Additional opportunities and resources available to Fellows while on campus include:
Upon successful completion of their course work, Fellows spend a year on Capitol Hill as American Political Science Association Congressional Fellows. They generally serve as legislative assistants to members of Congress and divide their time in Washington between the House and the Senate. The year in Washington provides Fellows with an unparalleled opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the Congress, pursue their dissertation research, conduct interviews with members of Congress and congressional staff members, and meet other political scientists who study the Congress. Additionally, Fellows are able to take a trip to a Member's congressional district and to participate in a week-long exchange with Canadian Parliament interns in Ottawa.
Fellows return to the University campus for the fifth and final year of the program, during which they receive financial and academic support as they write their doctoral dissertations.
In addition to covering the full tuition and fees of its Graduate Fellows, the Carl Albert Center provides a substantial monthly stipend, a book allowance, travel for research and professional meeting participation, and other support. The goal of the Center is to alleviate, as much as possible, the financial burdens of graduate study to enable students to devote their time and energy to academic excellence. The total value of a five-year fellowship is more than $125,000.
and application materials:
The Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma seeks applicants for its Visiting Scholars Program, which provides financial assistance to researchers working at the Center's archives. Awards of $500-$1000 are normally granted as reimbursement for travel and lodging.
The Center's holdings include the papers of many former members of Congress, such as Speaker Carl Albert, Robert S. Kerr, and Fred Harris of Oklahoma, Helen Gahagan Douglas and Jeffery Cohelan of California, and Neil Gallagher of New Jersey. Besides the history of Congress, congressional leadership, national and Oklahoma politics, and election campaigns, the collections also document government policy affecting agriculture, Native Americans, energy, foreign affairs, the environment, and the economy.
Topics that can be studied include the Great Depression, flood control, soil conservation, and tribal affairs. At least one collection provides insight on women in American politics. Most materials date from the 1920s to the 1970s, although there is one nineteenth century collection. The Center's collections are described on the World Wide Web at http://www.ou.edu/special/albertctr/archives/ and in the publication titled A Guide to the Carl Albert Center Congressional Archives (Norman, Okla.: The Carl Albert Center, 1995) by Judy Day, et al., available at many U. S. academic libraries. Additional information can be obtained from the Center. The Visiting Scholars Program is open to any applicant. Emphasis is given to those pursuing postdoctoral research in history, political science, and other fields. Graduate students involved in research for publication, thesis, or dissertation are encouraged to apply. Interested undergraduates and lay researchers are also invited to apply. The Center evaluates each research proposal based upon its merits, and funding for a variety of topics is expected.
No standardized form is needed for application. Instead, a series of documents should be sent to the Center, including: (1) a description of the research proposal in fewer than 1000 words; (2) a personal vita; (3) an explanation of how the Center's resources will assist the researcher; (4) a budget proposal; and (5) a letter of reference from an established scholar in the discipline attesting to the significance of the research. Applications are accepted at any time.For more information, please contact: Archivist, Carl Albert Center, 630 Parrington Oval, Room 101, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019. Telephone: (405) 325-5401. FAX: (405) 325-6419. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org