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Department of Political Science

Doctor of Arts Graduate Stories

The Doctor of Arts (DA) program in Political Science at Idaho State University (ISU) started in the late 1960s with the first student graduating from the program around 1971. The DA program started nationally in the 1960s and was initially funded by the Carnegie Foundation. The genius of the DA program was to address deficiencies in how doctoral students are trained for position in higher education. At Idaho State University, the DA degree is a Political Science degree grounded in interdisciplinary thought. The first placement in academia of a DA graduate was in 1972 and the most recent placement was in 2014.

In the ISU program's forty year history, over 85 students have graduated from the program. Our graduates have primarily end up teaching at colleges and universities throughout the United States and even some internationally. DA graduates are deans, chairpersons, and many (who graduated in the 1970s and early 1980s) are now retired or retiring. Other graduates have ended up working in state and local government administration, non-profit organizations, or even private enterprise. In the spring of 2013, the department started a project to post some stories of our DA graduates. We hope to add several graduates each year as a continuing project to capture the history of this unique doctoral degree.

Please consider this as a page UNDER CONSTRUCTION. If you want to read a comprehensive list of DA placements since 1996, please visit the graduate placements page.

Dr. Jody Hicks, D.A. 2014

Dr. Jody Hicks

I graduated in May, 2014. I had already competed my MPA and was working in the public sector. I knew I wanted to teach at the college level so the DA program was a perfect fit. My most vivid memory was the first time I team taught with Mark McBeth. I was teaching a class of 1st amendment, religious freedom. The class was supposed to last 50 minutes and finished the lecture in less than 15. I looked at the clock and realized how quick I was but I didn't have anything thing else to say so I had to dismiss them. My first teaching job was for Mohawk Valley Community College in upstate NY where I currently teach.

My advice to DA students is to not be intimidated by teaching. Here is a story. It was the second day of the semester and I walked into class and gave great lecture on why we have government, the role of government, I described the political parties extra. The students asked questions and seemed really interested. When the class was over, I walked out feeling really good about things. Then it hit me that was my Sociology class.

So my advice is, it doesn't really matter exactly what you teach, if you care about the subject and deliver a good lecture. The students will stand with you.

Dr. Elizabeth Kusko, D.A. 2013

Dr. Elizabeth Kusko

I received my DA from ISU in May 2013. I have so many memories! My most memorable classes include International Relations with Dr. Lybecker, Pedagogy with Dr. McBeth, and Public Policy with Dr. McBeth. Clearly, Drs. Lybecker and McBeth are also included as my most memorable professors. I chose to pursue the DA from ISU because I wanted to be a generalist within the field of Political Science (although I was also able to pursue scholastic opportunities and delve into a specific area of policy research). As I knew that I wanted to teach at a smaller, private, liberal arts school, I knew I needed a program that could prepare me to teach a variety of courses.

The DA Political Science Program requires its graduates to pass comprehensive exams in three fields, which truly made us a bit more competitive for certain types of institutions. Moreover, the DA Program trained us in pedagogy and allowed us to teach our own courses while still being graduate students; this was an amazing opportunity and an asset when entering the market. Lastly, the Political Science professors (especially Dr. Lybecker and Dr. McBeth, although we hear wonderful things about the new faculty as well, e.g. Dr. Callen) are incredible educators, researchers, and mentors. I, and many others, would have chosen this program simply based off of this final component.

I graduated from ISU in May of 2013 and started teaching full-time in the Department of Political Science at William Peace University (Raleigh, NC) in August of 2013. Be proud of your degree and your program. Demonstrate the knowledge, preparedness, and uniqueness imparted by the Political Science DA Program through your CV and cover letters and you will be noticed.

Dr. Caleb Husmann, D.A. 2013

Dr. Caleb Husmann

I received my DA in May, 2013. I have many memories of my time at ISU in the DA progam.

Classes in which I learned a lot and greatly enjoyed myself: -International Relations Survey with Donna,

-Pedagogy with Mark, -Philosophy of the Social Sciences with Wayne, and Environmental Politics with Donna.

Fond memories: -The spookiness of Graveley on weekend nights (Yeah, weekend nights, and yeah that's super dorky, but when studying for comps that is reality).

- Dropping in and having conversations with professors at random times.

- Cheryl's laugh echoing down the hall… hilarious and infectious.

- Walking over to Elmer's for a study break.

The reason that I chose to apply to the DA program is that I wanted to have a broader, more teaching oriented degree. Friends of mine that attended large, R1 programs often ended up spending the vast majority of grad school intensely researching one small element of political science. Consequently, they were not prepared to teach and had a very narrow view of the field- a narrow view that often times prevented them from making connections to material outside of their niche area of expertise and resulted in them struggling to answer students' questions when they were unrelated to their area of expertise.

I graduated in May, 2013 and had a tenure track position at North Carolina Wesleyan before I actually graduated. The DA played a major role in my being hired as they were pleased with my ability to teach a wide variety of courses. The advice that I give to current and future DA students is don't hesitate to apply somewhere. What's the worst that can happen? You get rejected? Big deal. I have seen far too many people pass on applying for jobs that they could have gotten because they did not think that they matched the exact job description. These people missed out on legitimate opportunities. The beauty of the DA is that you comp in three fields, and, as such, you can tailor your resume so that you are a legitimate candidate for a wide variety of positions. Use that to your advantage. I applied for Theory jobs, IR jobs, and American jobs, and, often times the jobs that I ended up getting interviews for were not the jobs that I expected to get interviews for. Also, apply to small schools whenever possible. Small schools love DAs as they are so versatile.

Dr. David Dean Bowlby, D.A. 2009

Dr. David Dean Bowlby

I am currently an assistant professor of history and political science at Motlow College near Lynchburg, Tennessee. I earned a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Illinois at Springfield. I taught history as an adjunct instructor for several community colleges in central Illinois for over a decade, sometimes teaching at all of them at once in an effort to piece together a "full-time" teaching career out of part-time positions.

To make myself more marketable in the search for a real full-time position, I decided to earn a second masters degree in political science. After completing an additional 18 semester hours beyond the first M.A., I began teaching the American Government survey for one of the community colleges in addition to the U.S. History and Western Civilization survey courses. But I was still being overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated as a "roads scholar" or "highway flyer" and it was at this point that I looked into some doctoral programs. I felt sure that a doctorate would give me a competitive edge in my applications for a full-time position at a college or university. When I asked one of my favorite political science professors for a letter of reference he suggested that I check out the Doctor of Arts in Political Science program at Idaho State University.

I was familiar with the Doctor of Arts degree because I had made application to the D.A. in History program at another ISU – Illinois State University – only to have that university drop the program as I was beginning it because the State Board of Higher Education held that it was an unnecessary duplication of efforts. What attracted me about the Doctor of Arts degree was the co-emphasis on pedagogy. This was particularly attractive to someone who enjoys teaching and is always striving to make his classes engaging and meaningful to students. I entered the Doctor of Arts Program at Idaho State University with the Fall 2006 semester. I was very impressed with the level of scholarship of my professors in the program and especially pleased with the quality of teaching and that they too seemed to place an equal emphasis on their responsibilities both as scholars and as teachers.

While at ISU, I was grateful to be able to teach for both the Department of Political Science and for the History Department. I was particularly pleased to be able to develop and teach a cross-listed course called "Religion and Politics in the United States." Religion and politics (and public policy) is an area with which I am most interested as a scholar and writer. This is reflected in my dissertation topic. I wanted to explore what one Supreme Court justice referred to as the "generating history" of the religion clauses of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The dissertation was expanded into what became my first book titled The Garden and the Wilderness: Church and State in America to 1789. I am currently researching and writing what will be the second volume in a trilogy. The second volume will cover the period from 1789 to 1947. The third volume will cover the period from 1947 to the present. I have also outlined and will be concurrently working on an American religious history which I anticipate being published as a combined and two-volume set.

My darling Welsh wife, Olwen, and I divided our time between our homes in Illinois and Tennessee. My favorite hobby is fly fishing on the excellent trout streams of Tennessee and kayak fishing on the nearby lakes in Illinois.

Dr. Paul Pope, D.A. 2008

Dr. Paul Pope

I entered the Doctor of Arts program immediately following completion of my MPA at Idaho State. I was attracted to the program for two reasons. First, the program required significant coursework in social sciences other than political science. Such breadth of education in a doctoral level program is uncommon. Second, the required training in teaching pushed my interest over the edge and me into the program. This training elevated my skill in front of the classroom far beyond what is common among newly minted doctoral graduates. By the time I completed the program I even had a small contribution to the Encyclopedia of the First Amendment (2008).

My first position after completing my dissertation in 2008 was a visiting professor position with Weber State University in Ogden, UT to teach a variety of course in American government and public law. Following my one year visiting position I was hired at the University of Texas at Brownsville in a tenure-track position to teach courses in American government, public law, and the Master of Public Administration program. I spent the next three years with UTB working on my research agenda and teaching many new courses almost every semester. I also became one of the main instructors for the Certified Public Manager program; teaching a few one day seminars each year to advance the training of active public managers in the community.

After three years in Texas I felt it was time to move closer to family and where I grew up. I was lucky enough to receive a great offer for a tenure-track position with Montana State University-Billings. I was hired to take over the position of MPA program director after several years of dysfunction. In addition to managing the program I teach a broad array of graduate public administration courses. Right at the beginning of my first semester I had two more publications come out. I published an article in the journal of Administration and Society, and a book review in the journal of Law and Society Review. Now I am looking forward to a long career with MSUB as I work to grow and develop the MPA program.

Dr. Paul Hathaway, D.A 2008

Paul Hathaway

I feel that the interdisciplinary and pedagogy aspects of the DA are invaluable. I have just completed my fourth year at Jacksonville State University. In talking with colleagues in my department and around campus and it is very evident that they are interested in doing interdisciplinary work. Their problem is that they were never exposed to any discipline other than their own. I attend conferences and there is a huge push for interdisciplinary research. I have already been doing this because that is how I learned to do research in the first place.

The pedagogy that is taught in the DA program is invaluable. Students often say, "The professor is smart, but can't relate his/her knowledge to me." I already know things about teaching that full professors have not yet learned. When I discuss the cycle of the semester and how I organize the material to fit, they look as though I was a genius. I am not a genius, I just have a degree that recognizes the value in teaching at the college level.

Because of my DA, I am able to fulfill research requirements, teaching requirements, and make a connection with students that many PhD's are unable to accomplish. I think that if one was to objectively evaluate the accomplishments and placement of the DA students, they will find a very high rate of success. Idaho State University has a very unique and successful program that they should be proud of!

I began teaching at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama fall of 2008. I primarily teach MPA courses including Policy Analysis, Leadership and Ethics, and Grantwriting. I have been able to teach courses in the Criminal Justice and Emergency Management Departments as well. My primary research is in policy analysis and organizational decision making. I have developed an Introduction to Political Psychology course and have received many wonderful reviews. The interdisciplinary focus of this course allows students to really understand why political leaders and followers do what they do. I enjoy teaching the Introduction to American Government course also. This course is my opportunity to let students know how important government decisions are to them personally. Regardless of the student's major, government affects them in many ways.

Dr. Trent Rose, D.A 2006

Dr. Trent Rose

I graduated with my DA in 2006 I chose the DA for a number of reasons. I was living in the area and I had already completed the MPA. I loved the school, the department, and the professors so it was a natural to return for the DA. I also really like the broad focus of the degree. I believed that it would serve me well as I went out on to the job market and that was definitely the case. There is no doubt that the degree helped me get my job at BYU-Idaho. The hiring committee loved that I had the ability to teach many different classes.

Some of my memories include the fact that comprehensive finals are basically unforgettable. I loved all my classes. I really enjoyed being a full time political scientist and getting to know the field, the other students and the professors in the department. I really learned what it takes to be an expert in the field and how to work hard. That has served me well in my career so far. The dissertation experience was also very memorable. I loved being able to spend so much time researching and writing on a topic that I am passionate about. I enjoyed my interactions with Professor McBeth. His advice and suggestions were invaluable in the process. My dissertation defense, while a bit stressful, was also very memorable.

I was hired at BYU-Idaho in the fall of 2007. My classes are mainly in the American politics area: The Presidency, Congress, Parties and Interest Groups, Terrorism and National Security, Introduction to Public Administration. I am also the internship coordinator for the department. I'm currently writing a book about New Urbanism in the Denver Metropolitan Area.

My advice to current and future students would be to work extremely hard. Get to know the professors and the other students in the department. Get to know the theories in the discipline as well as possible. Enjoy yourself and don't waste any time.

Dr. Elizabeth Shanahan, D.A. 2005

Dr. Elizabeth Shanahan

I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at Montana State University where I teach courses in public administration, public policy, statistics, and methodology. Central to my research is the study of how policy narratives influence policy outcomes. With colleagues, we have developed the Narrative Policy Framework, which identifies for empirical testing various classes of narrative variables at the micro, meso, and macro levels of analysis. In other words, how does the use of characters (villains, heroes, and victims) influence public opinion (micro)? How do different coalition group narrative strategies influence policy outcomes (meso)?

Currently, my colleagues (Mark K. McBeth—Idaho State University and Michael D. Jones—Virginia Tech) and I are working on a trifecta of books: an edited volume of NPF studies at the three levels, an NPF policy analysis book, and an NPF theory book. I welcome inquiries and ideas on using NPF.

Historically, the policy issues I have used in studying policy narratives have been some of the contentious issues in the Greater Yellowstone: management of bison, wolf reintroduction, and snowmobile access to YNP. Currently, I am exploring climate change narratives at the local, state, and national levels.

There are four aspects of the Doctor of Arts (D.A.) that are brilliant. First, all D.A. students have the opportunity to receive formal training and experience in teaching college courses. The program builds teaching skills in a beautifully iterative fashion, beginning with a teaching theory course, then moving to a co-teaching experience, and finally, teaching solo. This progression was critical for me in developing confidence and intentionality as a teacher. Because I let it be known that I was interested in additional teaching, faculty were very generous and offered many teaching opportunities during my tenure as a D.A. student (co-taught public budgeting, taught the methods lab, and guest lectured).

ALL of these opportunities gave me a huge advantage in securing a job. Second, the interdisciplinary nature of the program meant that I could focus on a particular interest of mine, which was statistics and methods. This kind of flexibility meant that I could develop an expertise in an area that made my research agenda a bit richer and more substantive. Third, I cannot say more strongly how valuable my research experience was under the wing of some of the political science faculty (Dr. McBeth, in particular). I learned so much about the research process from beginning to end, as I was mentored from the start versus a treated as a data grunt. I entered my faculty position with a lot of momentum toward tenure. Finally, while each cohort is different, I loved my D.A. colleagues, who are now scattered all around the country. Together, we laughed, and certainly cried at times, and we helped each other make it through one of the most demanding and yet rewarding experiences.

Dr. Tim Tingey, D.A. 2005

Dr. Tim Tingey

I received my DA in the summer of 2005. The coursework, research and opportunity for growth in the DA and MPA programs at Idaho State University were the most fulfilling in all of my educational pursuits.

I had worked as an adjunct professor at Idaho State for three years teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in grant writing. I am currently an adjunct professor at The University of Utah teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in political science and public administration. Last spring I developed a new course on state and local economic development for the public administration program. The concepts I learned in the DA program helped me immensely in shaping this course. As I have approached teaching, I constantly reflect and review notes from courses in the DA program on pedagogy, and feel strongly that the program emphasis on being capable at teaching has helped me have success in teaching at the university level.

I will never forget the first day I taught a political science 101 course. I was teaching the course with Dr. Mark McBeth and as I walked into the classroom with all of the students sitting there I thought "what have I got myself into?" I was extremely nervous and wondered if the students would fall asleep with boredom, enjoy the material, or think I didn't know what I was talking about. My anxieties calmed when the students seemed to respond well to the concepts and over time my confidence grew more and more as I continued teaching the 101 courses.

I also remember independent study courses with Dr. Rick Foster on international politics. I really gained an appreciation for this topic in political science and will never forget how he would "grill" me on the reading materials which prompted me to always be prepared and to think quickly to respond to his inquiries.

Finally, the insight gained from Dr. McBeth and my committee members working with me on my dissertation was invaluable. I remember many late nights and early mornings writing, thinking and then writing and thinking more. I remember rising early on Saturday mornings for months working on my research and writing before my wife and children were awake. The time preparing my dissertation in the DA program enhanced my growth and capacity as a researcher and writer. Although it was challenging and there were many painstaking hours working on the research, I developed persistence and determination which has helped me in my career as a public administrator and as an adjunct professor.

My advice to current and future DA student is to enjoy the learning process. The DA program is so unique because of the emphasis on becoming a successful teacher and researcher, and it is important to absorb the concepts that will help you be successful in future endeavors. Also, gain a passion for teaching which was instilled in me by my mentor Dr. McBeth and others in the DA program. It is such a thrill and extremely fulfilling when you walk out of the classroom realizing that you really connected with the students.

Dr. Ralph Beregner, D.A. 2002

Dr. Ralph Beregner

I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in mass communication, but that was unavailable at ISU so I decided to follow a long-standing interest in political science developed in my years as editor and publisher of several newspapers in Idaho. En route I earned a Master of Public Administration.

My memories include the great professors who kindled in me interests in sociology, economics (a real surprise!) and political science. I was fortunate to have a cadre of excellent professors in every course I took, and they all become models of what I would some day become, a university professor. I simply adore teaching, research and writing for publication. My professional background in journalism over three decades has also come in handy as managing editor of the Global Media Journal-Arabian Edition. I have an article and book review in the current edition.

My first full-time job was as an instructor in 2000 at American University in Cairo, Egypt, when I was ABD. I finished the Doctor of Arts in 2002 and taught at American University in Cairo for seven years before taking off an academic year to teach graduate students from Macquarie University in Australia aboard a floating university, The ScholarShip, a converted cruise liner. I was one of four professors to teach two semesters and travel around the world (crossing the Equator twice--and yes, I'm a Shellback crowned ceremoniously by King Neptune) with stopovers of a week each in 18 countries on four continents. I am currently an associate professor of mass communication at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where I am completing my fifth year and first year of a terminal three-year contract. Along the way I published five books (see shameless self-promotion in photograph) and I'm currently co-authoring my sixth on intercultural communication and international relations, which will come out sometime in 2015.

My advice to students is to take all the courses you can while you can. Nothing is ever wasted you'll learn (though you won't think so at the time) and you''ll be surprised how many times your mind will wonder back to some professor's lecture and teaching style that you'll emulate.

Dr. Joseph Morris, D.A. 2000

Dr. Joseph Morris

I began Idaho State's DA program in political science in 1996 with the hopes of laying a solid professional foundation on which to build a career in academia. Four years later I graduated from the program with all of the knowledge, teaching experience, and research skills that the program promised. This was due in no small measure to the department's faculty, who not only encouraged my intellectual development, but provided me with a wide range of teaching, research and service opportunities. These opportunities included the chance to teach an array of undergraduate courses, conduct and publish research with a faculty mentor, and direct multiple survey projects for nonprofit organizations. In 2001 I was hired as an assistant professor of political science (tenure-track ) by Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania and, after earning tenure in 2007, was promoted the rank of associate professor.

In addition to the many activities common to all university faculty members, including teaching, committee service, board membership, etc. for four years I served as the director of the Mercyhurst University Honors Program. The program, which is designed for the institution's best students, is among the most highly regard honors programs in the region. Three or four years ago I began work on establishing the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics as a means of enhancing the public discourse surrounding important issues and providing undergraduate students with hands-on experience participating in politics.

The center is, among other things, a state-of-the-art computer-assisted telephone interviewing facility whose primary purpose is to conduct public opinion polls on issues of local, regional and national concern. Since beginning operations in 2010, the center has produced several polls focusing on such topics as social capital in Northwest Pennsylvania, women in politics, hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale region, poverty, juvenile crime, and, of course, congressional and presidential elections. The center's work has been featured by news organizations across the nation including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Harrisburg Patriot-News, CQ Weekly, Politico.com, CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and many others.

Dr. Robert Wadman, D.A. 2000

Dr. Robert Wadman

My time at Idaho State University, could not have been more productive. I received my degree in 1998. I left the Wilmington, North Carolina police department in 1994 and started the DA program that year. A combination of issues created an interest in the POLS and DA program. First, I was impressed with the idea that, in addition to the requirements of a dissertation, course work, and comprehensive exams that most doctoral programs require, the DA also required 9 semester hours in university level teaching skills. Second, ISU was close to our daughter, Brenda Baumgartner, and our grandchildren. Entering the DA program in my 50s, I was concerned about my relationship with younger students. My concerns were unfounded, and my memories surround the friendships I developed with fellow students.

I was hired, prior to completing my degree, by Weber State University. I became a Criminal Justice faculty member in 1997 and have served in this position for the past 17 years. I'm currently going through a phased retirement. I became a full professor at WSU, and the Director of the Criminal Justice Master's Degree Program. Over the past ten years, I have been working with the U.S. Department of State with police departments in transition from communism and military dictatorships - to democracy. In this capacity, I have worked closely with the national police leadership teams in Poland, Nigeria, Albania, and Haiti. My DA dissertation has been turned into a textbook entitled "Police Theory In America: Old Traditions and New Opportunities," Charles C. Thomas Publisher.

My only advice to current students would be to step back and appreciate the moment. The time flies by while you are creating memories that last a lifetime.

Dr. Bill Kirtley, DA, 1997

Dr. Bill Kirtley

I earned my DA in 1997. I always dreamed of earning a doctorate. I spent several summers at ISU with the U.S. Army Reserve. I knew the DA program was right for me. It helped me teach, write, and serve at a higher level. I have fond memories of the extended ISU community. The people of Pocatello support their university. They attend movies, games, recitals, and special programs. I felt very much at home during my time in school. Since graduation, I have taught college courses in history, sociology, and political science aboard deployed U.S. Navy vessels for Central Texas College. I've gone on leave with sailors in foreign countries and stood on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier as it launched fighters on combat missions. Between assignments, I completed a 200-hour course to teach Qi gong and Tai Chi and currently assist in certifying new teachers.

I contributed to several edited works and published 52 articles in professional magazines and journals. Examples of my work are available here. I published a book, The Politics of Death in 2012. Currently, I am vice-president of the National Social Science Association.

DA students should consider attending and presenting at professional conferences. It is an opportunity to test the job market, network, build resumes, and often publish. The National Social Science Association provides a supportive environment, especially at the spring conference in Las Vegas.

Dr. Darrial Reynolds, D.A. 1997

Dr. Darrial Reynolds

Dr. Darrial Reynolds is a Professor of Political Science at Southwest Texas College in McAllen, Texas where he has taught since 1999. He is an award winning teacher at Southwest Texas College.

Dr. Reynolds story:

I do have memories of all the classes and professors from my DA program. In particular, I have memories of the (1) Comparative/International Politics courses taught by Richard Foster, (2) Political Theory courses taught by Wayne Gabardi, and (3) American Politics courses taught by Doug Nilson. I decided to pursue the DA from ISU because (1) the DA program at ISU is intended for students interested in a career teaching political science in a variety of higher education settings ranging from community colleges to universities, and (2) Doctor of Arts recipients are prepared to teach a variety of political science courses including those in American politics and in two additional specialties selected from among the fields of public law, political theory, comparative and international politics, and public administration.

After I left ISU, my first teaching job in higher education was teaching political science courses at South Texas College. The advice that I would give to current students about going on the job market and getting a job is that you should (1) carefully research the teaching jobs in higher education within the discipline of political science, and (2) faithfully submit job applications to the higher education institutions that are searching for someone to teach political science courses that you are prepared to teach.

Dr. Stephen White, D.A. 1997

Dr. Stephen White

Dr. Stephen White just retired as a professor of education at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. His dissertation, "Global Education and Social Reconstructionism: Constructivist Pedagogy in an Era of Global Change" was chaired by Dr. Wayne Gabardi.

Dr. White's story:

Before entering Idaho State University (ISU) I had worked for ten-years at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as an administrator. Likewise, I had achieved an undergraduate degree in political science from Utah State University and a degree from the University of Utah in philosophy. I graduated from ISU in the Department of Political Science with the Doctor of Arts degree (DA) (1997); as well as a Master of Public Administration (MPA) (1994).

My dissertation research is the teaching of American Government within the context of globalization and French intellectual Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's philosophy of global social evolution. The pedagogical component of the work was framed within the higher education philosophy of social reconstructionism and the teaching and adult learning theory of social constructivism.

I sought the DA degree at ISU because of the academic distinctiveness of the doctoral program. The uniqueness of the DA is the focus on interdisciplinary studies and scholarly teaching within the milieu of higher education. Such a scholastic forum gave me the opportunity to research and intellectually explore the foundations of American Government within the scholastic domain of globalization.

I completed studies in constitutional law, governmental processes and public administration. This underpinning in American Government coupled with a footing in interdisciplinary studies prepared me to become a scholar of American Government inside the broader emergence of global theory and developments as a social system.

I have many good memories of my time at ISU. The sense of wonder experienced in the department because the design of the DA program allowed me to explore in-depth my scholastic interests. Not to be over looked was the intellectual liberty and academic freedom granted to establish my intellectual self-hood both professionally and personally. This happened for me because of the sound mentoring and visionary leadership provided me by the faculty in the Political Science department.

My first academic job was as an assistant professor at Appalachian State University. I was tenured and promoted to both an associate and full-professor. I was awarded the College Scholar of the Year award (02-03). I have presented at several national and international conferences including: Cardiff (Wales), University of London, University of Cambridge, Sorbonne University (Paris), University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and the International Asian Conference on Education (Hawaii). Likewise, I have published in many international and national journals. These accomplishments are due to the rigor and soundness of my doctoral research and academic preparation.

The advice that I would provide to current and future DA students is to fully cultivate your academic identity through contribution to the discipline as an interdisciplinary generalist and scholar-teacher. This will require knowledge of the philosophy, history, socialization and culture of American higher education. You can achieve this aspiration by forming a firm understanding of what is content-based college pedagogy, adult learning processes and interdisciplinary curriculum development. The skill and ability to articulate rigorously what it means to be a generalist scholar-teacher is to be found at the knowledge base at the intersection between comprehensive intra-disciplinary studies in political science augmented by intensive understanding of the philosophy of interdisciplinary praxis. Do remember that in our higher education culture being an "academic generalist" in essence a "specialization". Then use this generalist identity as the foundation for your all so important philosophy of college teaching and adult learning.

Dr. Ray Jennings, D.A. 1990

Dr. Ray Jennings

I chose to pursue a DA because I liked two very important things about the DA. First, I knew I wanted to teach and the pedagogical training the DA offered was very appealing. Second, I wasn't ready to hyper specialize. I changed my major four times in college before coming to ISU. In those days, and even now, I was drawn to the intersections of knowledge rather than the inner worlds within any one discipline. The multidisciplinary perspective of the DA was just right then and has been an asset in my professional life ever since.

I particularly liked the field research courses that I took with James Aho. Little did I know I would be employing the techniques he taught us in my development work in conflict zones. All of us in the DA program had a love - hate relationship with Ahmad Fouad, our economics professor. He was brutal but he took it upon himself to make sure that we knew macro and micro economics well enough to teach both subjects by the time he was through with us. I have fond and grateful thoughts toward him these days. Thank you, Dr. Fouad and Dr. Aho.

After graduation, I went to Alaska to teach in a four year liberal arts college in Sitka, Alaska. They had only two government courses on offer and aspired to broader course offerings in sociology as well. I went on to design and teach twelve new courses in four years and establish, and then chair, a multi-disciplinary studies department. It was hard work but these were great, creative days. The college was right on the ocean. I lived in a cabin on an island and would commute to my office by kayak. Later in life, when I was stuck in traffic driving to teach courses in Washington DC at Georgetown University, I would wistfully recall kayaking to work among the humpback whales and mountains.

After leaving Alaska I went overseas to work in foreign aid. It was an unexpected turn in life but a natural outgrowth of what I was teaching in my international relations courses at the time. I traveled to Bosnia in 1993 on a faculty research grant and saw a world and a profession so compelling that I changed course. In 1995, I returned to Bosnia and then went to Serbia, Kosovo, and many more countries on four continents after that; all countries in conflict, recovering from conflict, or in political transition. I worked for NGOs, the UN, USAID, foreign governments, and consulting firms. I returned to teaching and research, coming back from the field in 2000 to teach courses at Georgetown and Syracuse Universities as well as taking research posts at the Wilson Center, the United States Institute of Peace, and Stanford University. After marrying late and bringing two children into our lives from China, my wife and I settled in coastal Maine where we now live. These days, I am an advisor and consultant primarily for USAID and the World Bank.

In terms of advice for students, the DA opens up your life. Not only will a doctorate help you professionally but the breadth of what you will learn in a DA program will give you longitudinal mobility across circumstances and challenges that might prove difficult for specialists to navigate. Squeeze what you can from the courses you choose to take. Respect the Fouads that come into your life. Be prepared to change course because it is very likely that, as a student in a DA program, you too are curious about the places where perspectives meet. Follow that curiosity.

Dr. Chris McKinney, D.A. 1990

Dr. Chris McKinney

Dr. McKinney is currently the Associate Vice President, Innovation Commercialization and Professor of Business, James M. Hull College of Business at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia. Previously, he has been the Director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Enterprise Development at Vanderbilt University. He has held similar technology transfer and faculty positions at the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee. For a complete biography of Dr. McKinney's impressive career, visit this page. We thank Dr. McKinney for taking the time to visit with us about his time in the doctoral program in Political Science at Idaho State University.

Dr. McKinney's story:

I am very grateful to so many folks at ISU. One special mention is Dr. Neal Gilbertsen, a visiting faculty member during my final year of studies. Neal was very inspirational to me and "made a difference" in my career and life. I really like the depth and breadth of the curriculum, as well as the emphasis on teaching. And, the fact that it's a smaller graduate program means we enjoy a tighter student/faculty community. My first job in higher education was at the University of Florida, where I served in the administration and as an adjunct faculty member (1991-1996). The biggest advice that I can give to current or future DA students is whether you're going into full-time faculty or, like me, doing the hybrid administration/faculty route, the key is to highlight distinctive capabilities, interests, and a "can do" spirit. Also, a "warm recommendation" of you as a candidate from a person you know who also is trusted by the hiring folks increases your chances of being hired dramatically.

Dr. Randy S. Clemons, D.A. 1988

Dr. Randy S. Clemons

The DA in Political Science was designed as a PhD equivalency degree (that offered more focus on producing quality classroom performance), and I believe it has been a success. In my case, I was offered three different positions when I put myself on the market and I chose Mercyhurst because it offered a 4-year liberal arts education that valued the same teacher-scholar model that attracted me to Idaho State University (at the time Wisconsin Madison was among the schools I turned down).

In terms of scholarship in the last four years alone I have published a co-authored text book that is in its second edition and used at some of the best graduate schools in the country, two journal articles, one book chapter, and 1 simulation; which also resulted in three publications for three undergraduate research assistants. Additionally, in the last four years I did five reviews for two prominent journals, Perspectives on Politics and the Journal of Public Affairs Education. Further, I presented at three conferences; two papers at the WPSA (for one of them, also organized and chaired the session), and another paper that I co-authored was presented by one of my two co-authors at a regional conference. I have also frequently been asked to play a role as a paid consultant (e.g., helping with strategic planning) in the community, and have presented more than twenty times at national level conferences (frequently chairing and serving as a discussant as well (mostly WPSA but also APSA) and a handful of times at regional level conferences (SPSA, WSSA and PNW).

On campus I served as department chair for over 20 years while building, with the help of my colleagues, our department from one of less than two full-time faculty to a very strong seven person department today. I am now (for the last three and a half years) the Dean of the School of Social Sciences (comprised of Political Science, Applied Intelligence, History, Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Social Work). I have been elected by my peers to be the Faculty Senate President (three times in this role), and to the college-wide Rank and Tenure Committee. I have led our Faculty Contract Committee, Co-Chaired our Core Curriculum Revision Committee, etc. Further, I have taught not only in the undergraduate Political Science program, but also in two of our Masters programs (Criminal Justice and Organizational Leadership) and won the Teaching Excellence Award for the campus in 2006-07.

Though capturing most of the highlights, this is far from a complete summation of my career, leaving out things such as published book reviews, previous journal articles and a book chapter, the vast majority of my committees and service, details about my paid consulting experiences, guest lectures, the new Mercyhurst Applied Politics Center we started two years ago, teaching at the Arizona Honors Academy and Penn-State Behrend, the accomplishments of our students and alumni which are unrivaled at Mercyhurst during my more than two decades there, and so forth. Most importantly I would say this: never in all that time did anyone (no publisher, no editor, no administrator, no colleague, no promotion committee, no student, etceteras) ever question my degree. It did, however, help me land a job at a college (now university) that valued teaching, just as I suspect it might have originally ruled me out of a job at Harvard (but so would any degree from Idaho State University). That seems to be equivalency plus to me.

Dr. Jerry Johnson, D.A. 1985

Dr. Jerry Johnson

I actually came to ISU to chase an MPA in health care administration. It was just a path to a job that I probably didn't have much passion for. I decided to pursue the DA because I did have a passion for teaching and got some great encouragement from both Anne McCulloch and Rick Foster. Of course the gentleman set me straight on all this a served as a surrogate family and mentor was Joe Hearst – a friend of many students and role model at multiple levels.

Some of my memories include late night sessions at the Hearst kitchen table taught me more about politics than any class. I remember one night then Senator Frank Church burst in the door with a couple six packs saying let's talk, I'm running for President. Joe gave advice, Frank ran, I drank in the conversation and beer.

My first job was with Troy State University teaching MPA classes in the NATO command. Best job I'll ever have. We traveled extensively, my teaching got really dialed in and I got involved in some interesting research on international casino industry. We published two editions of International Casino Law shortly after. When we decided to return to the States I was incredibly lucky to land a tenure track job at MSU. Being back in the west and near Yellowstone turned out to shape my research career. At some point I was head of the department and had the good fortune to hire Liz Shanahan (DA 2005). It was satisfying to do that and, by the way, an easy choice given her background and training in the DA. At this point I am shifting my research and teaching into the relatively new field of decision science and combining that with my continued interest in outdoor pursuits.

The advice that I would give current DA students is to get involved in research. As head, I made five hires. Teaching effectiveness is hard to measure, research productivity is what decisions are based on. Embrace the interdisciplinary nature of the degree and resist being painted into a narrow slot. The strength of the degree is in its breadth, that training and personal interest in economics has served me well, made me a better educator and put me in greater demand as a research collaborator. Develop skills beyond classes, get involved. Here is one final piece of unsolicited advice - walk across campus and see what others are up to, chances are, it is interesting and you can add value to it. This makes for a more interesting life.

Dr. James Rodgers, D.A. 1981

Dr. James Rodgers

I received the DA in August 1981. I really liked the professors in political science whom I had taken in my MA there, which I finished in 1979. Also, I had family in Pocatello and still do-this was a plus. The award of a fellowship was a key factor as well. I have many great memories of my time there. I especially enjoyed learning from and working with Steve Cann, Rick Foster, Butch Hjelm, Anne McCulloch, Larry Arnhart, Jim Aho, Profs. Huerta and Fouad. These folks were outstanding. Prof. Aho was a mentor to me later in my career as I began to research and write about the politics of violence. Cann and Foster have been advisors and supporters to me all my academic career. Though I never took his courses, I served on a number of committees with Joe Hearst. He was the salt of the earth. In addition to the classroom activities, I remember fondly all the activities I was able to participate in in PiSigmaAlpha and in the International Club and the annual conference/symposium. I mean one year I was the host for the day and guide for the Libyan Ambassador to the U.S.!!

My first teaching job was here at Saint Mary's of Minnesota in the Fall 1981. I am still teaching here at SMUMN as Professor of Social Science-Emphasis in Political Science. I am continuing to do research and to contribute in the area of the politics of violence.

The advice that I could give would be give the program the very best that you can. You will get back intellectual and personal rewards ten-fold. Enjoy the ISU and Idaho environments, social and geographical. Get to know the professors and your fellow students. ISU and the DA program are outstanding.

Dr. Gary Sturmer, D.A. 1979

Dr. Gary Sturmer

I received my DA in 1979. I had the opportunity to do some supervised teaching at Clark County Community College in Las Vegas and this was a very useful experience Generally classes in my DA program were of very good quality and this prepped me for teaching. The DA was an unique program at the time and I wanted to teach at the undergraduate college level.

After graduating, I taught at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming for 35 years I just retired. The advice that I would give students would be if their goal is to teach at undergrad level (community college) then make sure that you have as broad a preparation as possible If a student wants to teach upper division courses then I suggest more intense study in a particular area.

Dr. Lawson Veasey, D.A. 1979

Dr. Lawson Veasey

I graduated in a DA in Government, Economics (Don Reading), and Urban Sociology. The variety and diversity of the program fit my interests and my skills. I was all about teaching but published a lot over the years. Did a lot of consulting and worked with federal, state, and local governmental agencies. I worked extensively with utility companies on community and economic development programs.

My memory is of great teachers (Foster, Reading, Anne McCulloch, Fouad, Hjelm), solid curriculum (Gov't, PA, Policy, Economics), and internship opportunities ( I did my internship with the Bannock County Land Development Bd., and then worked with them until I graduated.)

I taught for 22 years at the University of Central Arkansas and ran a very rigorous Undergrad. PA Program for all that time. I moved to JSU in 2001 as department head and finished as a full professor since 2011.

My advice to current and future students is to take advantage of every opportunity. I worked on Senator Church's Subcommittee on Multinational Corporations. I published 2 articles with Foster. I taught intro econ for Reading and a variety of courses in gov't. I wrote and supervised grants. Later I worked with Sen. Pryor (AR) on some of his educ. initiatives and worked in the Bush, Clinton, and Reagan campaigns.

Dr. Stephen Pendleton, D.A. 1978

Dr. Stephen Pendleton

I am currently Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science at SUNY-Buffalo State where I have taught for the past 35 years. I started my career in 1978-1979 as a Visiting Assistant I was hired on a joint economics-political science line for a combined department. This department split back into its component disciplines in 1981 and I went into the Political Science Department. Up through 1986, half of my teaching load was in economics.

My DA committee originally was Butch (Hjelm), Charles Umbanhowar (Political Theory), Bill Shields (Sociology) & Don Reading (Economics); Because of personnel changes my final DA committee was Butch, Ann McCulloch, Leonard Kovit (Sociology), & Don Reading (Economics). I can still remember Butch's Navy stories. I remember the time the 3 faculty teaching the second 6 hour interdisciplinary seminar I took, all agreeing there was no such thing as interdisciplinary: it was all multidisciplinary. I remember when a Hare Krishna group, set up on the quad, and nearly drowned out Butch as he lectured in Scope and Methods. I remember Rick offering me a beer when I first got to Pocatello. (from North Carolina). {Editor's Note: Dr. Pendelton later emailed to inform us that Dr. Hjelm eventually yelled out the window at the Hare Krishna group}. When I was there, POLS was called the "Department of Government." Given the rising tide of Idaho political sentiment at the time, Ralph Maughan suggested the department be called "Big Government."

I was taken with the idea of a 3 year doctoral program. (I always intended to get a subsequent PhD in history, but I didn't.) Also, I had always lived in NC, and I wanted to see other parts of the country.

My advice to current DA students is to have an active research agenda and be prepared to produce articles and papers as soon as you hit the ground in a tenure track appointment. When I went to ISU, the DA was a non- dissertation program. While I was happy enough at the time to avoid a dissertation, this made getting tenure more of a challenge as I did not have a body of work sufficiently matured for publication early on. {Editor's note: The DA program added a doctoral project in the early 1980s which was then the equivalent of a dissertation. In 1993, the program added a formal doctoral dissertation}.

Last Modified: 10/06/14 at 06:16:23 PM
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