The 2014-2015 School Year in Review
Another year has passed in the Department of Government, and a busy year it’s been. As it goes by, it seems like a blur, but now that finals are graded and marks uploaded to the registrar, it’s worth looking back at everything we’ve done.
As always we are very proud of the accomplishments of our students. Every semester, faculty recognize the standout students from their classes. This year, we recognized over 30 students at a special breakfast in each semester. Between the spring and fall graduations, we saw 64 students graduate, including several with honors or as members of EKU’s nationally prominent honors program. Department of Government graduate Ms. Erica Childress was also the student speaker in the Fall. Additionally, we inducted 14 students into our honor societies at the annual awards reception and awarded 9 scholarships and prizes.
Out of the classroom, our students have been involved across campus. Most prominently, the EKU College Republicans, Young Democrats, and Young Americans for Liberty sponsored the first Politics on the Plaza, which they hope to make a regular event. The clubs brought to campus all the elected officials who serve EKU at the state level in either the General Assembly or the Senate, and also had candidates and representatives from the Kentucky Governor’s primaries. Pizza and prizes flowed as hundreds of students swung by to learn about their government and hear the candidates’ pitch for the future of Kentucky.
The Mocklets, EKU’s champion Mock Trial team continued to rack up wins, never placing lower than 7th at a tournament, and placing 11th nationally, sweeping Brown University and beating Delaware, before succumbing in a tight competition to Berkley (eventual 2nd place winner). The last time the team went to nationals, in 2012, they placed 14th.
In addition to teaching classes, the faculty of the DoG have been busy with their service to the university, their disciplines, and their research.
We’ve added 2 new permanent faculty to the department of government, Dr. Dan Bennett, who came to EKU from Southern Illinois University by way of Washington state, and now teaches judicial process in the department. Dr. Kerem Ozan Kalkan came to us from University of Maryland by way of Old Dominion, Oxford, and Stony Brook. Dr. Kalkan teaches political psychology, comparative politics, international relations, and organizational theory.
Dr. Bennett has a pair of research projects come out this year: a book chapter on religious legal advocacy in the United States, and an article on “The Implications of Salary for the Quality of Nominations to the Federal District Courts” which is forthcoming at Justice System Journal. He is working on a new book this summer, which is partly supported by the EKU Junior Faculty Summer Research Award.
Last year’s Junior Faculty Summer Research Award recipient, Dr. Meena Mohanty, presented her early research on judicial knowledge of crime lab oversight at the Award Poster Session in December. We look forward to seeing Dr. Bennett’s work next fall.
The faculty are also busy presenting their research and keeping up with developments in their fields at numerous conferences throughout the year. In the fall, Dr. Anne Cizmar traveled to Miami University of Ohio to present at the annual Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching –one of the premier pedagogy conferences in the United States. Dr. Bennett took his work to the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Most of the department made their annual trip to the Southern Political Science Association meeting in New Orleans, and several faculty presented papers or chaired panels.
We also saw the MPA faculty attend the Southeast Conference for Public Administration (SECOPA) in Atlanta, where Dr. Will Hatcher presented research on e-government usage by local officials, and Dr. Matthew Howell presented research on legislative social networking and its effect on state level public administration. Dr. LeAnn Beaty presented her research on succession planning, and Drs. Jane and Glenn Rainey discussed their work on official languages in the federal workplace in Canada.
Dr. Beaty and Dr. Hatcher also attended the National Association of Schools of Public Policy and Administration in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they discussed the challenges of developing online education for MPA programs. Additionally, Dr. Beaty and Dr. Cizmar attended the 2015 Midwest Political Science Association conference in Chicago, where they presented their paper on “Private Contractor Accountability and the Supreme Court.”
Several faculty had intended to travel to the Kentucky Political Science Association meeting in Somerset, but the Snowpocalypse canceled the meeting.
Faculty aren’t just involved in doing research though. During the summer, Dr. Hatcher and Dr. Howell crisscrossed the state talking to local officials about e-government and better communication between local officials and between governments and citizens. Most of the faculty serve the department and university on committees ranging from grade appeals and academic quality to the Senate Executive Committee. This year we also saw our fellow faculty member, Dr. Michael Benson inaugurated as the 12th President of EKU. Any excuse, of course, to break out the robes. Dr. Linda Gosnell continues to serve on the Standing Committee on Professional Discipline for the American Bar Association. Additionally, the faculty continue to improve their classes. Dr. Gosnell recently set up a mock mediation in the Noel Studio to allow paralegal litigation students to practice mediating personal injury cases, which –though the mediation failed –taught the students valuable lessons about how torts work in the United States.
The department also had its usual cadre of events and activities. We co-sponsored both Constitution Day and First Amendment Week in the Fall and Spring. We also saw our annual welcome hot dog party and concluded the year with the greatest hot dog party of all to celebrate the retirement of Dr. Jane Rainey –long time chair of the Student Faculty Relations Committee, and organizer of the past hot dog parties.
We again conclude the year with personnel changes. In addition to Dr. Rainey’s retirement, Dr. Will Hatcher has taken a job at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia, as the director of their MPA program. Dr. Chris Cyr, from University of Colorado Boulder, will teach International Relations. Dr. Darrin Wilson, of Florida International University, will replace Dr. Hatcher teaching budgeting in the MPA program. Dr. Glenn Rainey, who retired last year, has not yet been replaced, but we will be joined by Dr. Sabrina Riles of University of Georgia, who will be visiting next year to teach Human Resources.
With Dr. Hatcher’s departure, Dr. Randall Swain has been chosen to take Dr. Hatcher’s place on the Senate Budget Committee.
We’ve done even more, though it may have been too small –or the people involved to humble –to mention. It has been a full year, and we look forward to doing more next year.
Congratulations to the students of EKU’s Department of Government, 2014-2015. We will see you in the Fall.
Published on May 18, 2015