Teaching

PSC 406: The American Presidency (UIS)

This course provides a modern political science perspective on the American presidency. The U.S. President is often considered one of the most powerful leaders in the world and although the president has theoretically limited power granted to them by the constitution, they have extensive influence over foreign affairs, domestic policy, and electoral politics. Throughout this course, we will use political science research to examine the powers of the presidency, the president’s relationship with the other branches of government, as well as the media and political parties, and the president’s ability to shape domestic and foreign policy. Additionally, we will also examine the process by which presidents are elected to office. This course is designed as a modified seminar. While each class period will begin with a lecture on that week’s topic, a substantial portion of each class will be dedicated to discussing the required readings for that week and important current events related to the American presidency. Since this is in part a seminar class, you can expect to do a lot of reading and writing on a weekly basis. Additionally, active participation in class discussions is expected of all students.    

PSC 451: Empirical Political Analysis (UIS)

This course explains how research is done in political science and in many other social sciences. We will cover research design (how you set up research to learn about the social world). We will do several analyses of real-world data. To do this, we will learn about several different statistical tools, and how to do them in the open source statistical program R. Specifically, we will cover measurement, sampling, hypothesis testing, correlation, and regression.

PSC 502: Methods of Inquiry (UIS)

Graduate education is about training yourself to do research. As an undergraduate, you learned how to be a discriminating user of information, but in graduate school, you will learn to be a producer of new information. In this course, we begin this training by exploring various aspects of the conduct of research, with a focus on researching political and policy questions. We will explore how a researcher conceives of important questions, develops potential answers, defines relevant concepts, and then how one collects and compares empirical data to evaluate these questions validly and reliably. This course lays the foundation for conducting both academic and practical research. The issues we deal with this semester will be among those that you deal with in every other class you take in your graduate program. More important, this course raises questions with which you will grapple throughout your professional career, whether in academia or outside it, both in conducting and evaluating research. We will mostly be discussing these concepts through the lens of social science research, but I encourage you to apply what you learn in this class to your current or potential career as well. We can work together to make this class your own and as useful to your needs as possible, whether you are conducting social science research, policy analysis, program evaluation, or trying to become a better consumer of information. The work assigned in this course is designed to improve your ability to think critically and analytically about how we gain the knowledge that is generated by research. Our assignments will focus on both building an understanding of the basics of research design and on the ability to apply those basics to your own research. These assignments will not be undergraduate “read and regurgitate” tasks. You will be asked to process the material, connect the material from one week to the material from other weeks, and apply the material to real research questions.

PSC 511: Seminar in American Politics (UIS)

This course is a graduate-level seminar designed to explore what it means to study American politics. American politics is a large and diverse field and as a result, we will not be able to cover all facets of American politics in great detail. However, throughout the course, we will cover 14 different topics, ranging from representation to political institutions to campaigns and elections, in order to gain insight into the current state of the field. Since this is a seminar class, you can expect to do a lot of reading and writing on a weekly basis.  

PSC 1113: American Federal Government (OU)

The purpose of this course is to serve as an introduction to the actors, institutions, and processes of American government. Since this is an introductory course, we will cover many topics such as the Constitution, Congress, the Presidency, Voting and Elections, and Public Opinion. While we will not go into deep detail in any one particular topic, this class will provide you with the skills necessary to understand how our government works, and the ability to think critically and logically about its functions. We will also spend time linking current events in the U.S. Government with political science theories and historical trends. In addition, students will engage topics and issues related to Civic Engagement, Issue Engagement, and Data Engagement.

PSC 3143: US Congress (OU)

This course explores the history and development of both the place of Congress in the constitutional order and the internal structures and behaviors of the legislative process. Topics include elections, representation, committees, parties and leadership, collective action and coalition building, and Congress’ lawmaking process. In addition to conventional methods such as assigned readings, lectures, class discussions, and written assignments, students will explore the motivations, constraints, and opportunities that face members of Congress through a semester-long simulation in which each person will assume the role of a member of Congress at the various stages of the legislative process from crafting a reelection strategy and seeking committee assignments to introducing and debating legislation.