University of Mississippi

Kids in the Capitol Program Gives Fifth-Graders a Look at Government

UM McLean Institute, Department of Political Science collaborate to create opportunities

UM McLean Institute and Department of Political Science collaborate to take fifth-grade students from Charleston Middle School on a field trip to the Capitol in Jackson during the legislative session.

The UM McLean Institute and Department of Political Science collaborated to take fifth-grade students from Charleston Middle School on a field trip to the Capitol in Jackson during the legislative session.

OXFORD, Miss. – Dozens of middle school students have gotten a close-up look at their state government in action this spring, thanks to the Kids in the Capitol program, developed by the University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement and Department of Political Science.

The goal of the outreach project was to increase political awareness by taking fifth-grade students from Charleston Middle School on a field trip to the Capitol in Jackson during legislative session. Daniel Fudge, a McLean Institute graduate fellow, and Sue Ann Skipworth, an instructional assistant professor of political science, collaborated on the program.

Fudge said he developed the idea based on his own experience as child in Arkansas, when his class was taken to the state Capitol in Little Rock.

“I can recall sitting up in the gallery and being mesmerized at watching policy in action, knowing that the work done in the legislative chambers could impact the lives of many across the state,” Fudge said. “That memory has stayed with me throughout the years and I wanted a chance to give that same opportunity to students right here in Mississippi.”

The project was funded by both the McLean Institute and the political science department.

“In learning more about the poverty levels in the Delta and combining this with my personal desire to help educate young students about the political process, I helped to forge a partnership with the McLean Institute and the Department of Political Science,” Fudge said. “This allowed me to put this trip together and give the fifth-grade class of Charleston Middle School the opportunity to see their government in action, meet their legislator and, furthermore, see the state capitol.”

The students were given an architectural and historical tour of the Capitol building, allowed to sit in the gallery for the House and Senate to witness the political process firsthand and met with their district representative, Tommy Reynolds.

“This outreach project was successful on many fronts,” Skipworth said. “It was an opportunity to expose students to a different environment. For many of these students, the largest town they had been to was Grenada or Batesville, so it was quite an experience to see a much larger city like that of Jackson.

“The success of this outreach project would not be possible without the help of the political science department and the McLean Institute, as well as the administrative staff and teachers at Charleston Middle School.”

Skipworth hopes to have continued support from the Department of Political Science and the McLean Institute to carry the project forward for many years.

Ole Miss University of MS News


AT&T Donates $100,000 for Gov. Haley Barbour Endowment at UM

Contribution to endowment is one of the first by a major corporation

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (left) visits with Mayo Flynt, president of AT&T Mississippi, and UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter on the Ole Miss campus. Photo by Bill Dabney, UM Foundation

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (left) visits with Mayo Flynt, president of AT&T Mississippi, and UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter on the Ole Miss campus. Photo by Bill Dabney, UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – AT&T has donated $100,000 to help establish the Gov. Haley Barbour Endowment for the Study of American Politics at the University of Mississippi Department of Political Science.

AT&T is one of the first major corporations to contribute to the fund that will support a new faculty position led by a prominent American politics scholar. The initiative to create the endowment was announced last fall.

“Gov. Barbour’s impact on American politics is notable and far-reaching,” said Mayo Flynt, president of AT&T Mississippi. “It’s worthy of continued dialogue and study by scholars and political science students.

“We’re fortunate the University of Mississippi recognizes the importance of preparing the next generation of policymakers with thought-provoking education and exchange of ideas. AT&T is pleased to recognize Gov. Barbour’s successes and accomplishments with this well-deserved endowment.”

The Department of Political Science and the University Foundation established the endowment to honor Barbour in perpetuity, for recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and to ensure quality teaching, research and service are available for future Ole Miss students.

The campaign goal is to raise $1 million for initial efforts. While $1.5 million is the standard goal to endow a chaired faculty position, the University Foundation has set a goal of $2.5 million.

“This gift from AT&T is an extraordinary vote of confidence in the work of our political science department and in the legacy of Gov. Barbour,” UM Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “Developing sound policy solutions that can impact many requires a world-class education, and our graduates must be ready to understand and solve countless domestic policy issues.

“We thank AT&T for contributing to this endowment in honor of Gov. Barbour at the University of Mississippi. Their generosity underscores our approach to political science studies that is important to our campus and to public policy across the state.”

Barbour is a former two-term governor and remains one of the nation’s top political strategists. His handling of the Gulf oil spill and Hurricane Katrina, when he worked with local, state and national leadership to assist victims, received widespread praise.

He is also the author of “America’s Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina” (University Press of Mississippi, 2015), which explores leadership during a crisis.

“My life has been accentuated by numerous efforts to provide students with opportunities to successfully compete in the political arena and in any field rooted in public service,” Barbour said. “There is no place I want to do that more than at my alma mater, Ole Miss.

“If we can attract the brightest scholars, that will only benefit the young people who have so much to offer our great state and nation. I’m humbled by this endowment in my honor and look forward to strengthening the academic reputation of the University of Mississippi.”

This endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the Gov. Haley Barbour Endowment noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38655; contact Denson Hollis, senior director of major gifts, at 662-915-5092 or; or visit

Eleven UM Researchers Awarded Competitive Internal Grants

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs issues request for new proposals

Dr. Alice Clark

Alice Clark

OXFORD, Miss. – The research projects of 11 University of Mississippi faculty members were funded recently, thanks to a competitive internal grants program piloted in 2015 by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

The program, known as ORSP-IG, was created to support promising research in its earliest stage of development. The winning proposals were selected on the basis of their strengths in several categories, including intellectual merit, plan soundness, expected impact (at the institutional, state or national level) and the potential for attracting external investment.

“The university’s research enterprise is strong and growing thanks to the dedication of our talented faculty and researchers,” said Alice Clark, vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. “I congratulate the 2015 award recipients and wish them continued success as they carry out their projects.”

Ranging in value from $2,750 to nearly $10,000, the awards will sponsor projects across campus. Thirty-four faculty members will directly benefit from the studies, while 69 undergraduate and nine graduate students will participate in research.

Additionally, the projects are expected to lead to at least 14 external funding proposals to major federal funding agencies, including the National Institutes for Health, National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense and others.

“We believe that the Investment Grants program has value beyond the sum of the internal dollars awarded,” said Jason Hale, UM director of research resources. “The competition and feedback loop should help to elevate the project narratives to a level that will be attractive to external sponsors.”

Conor Dowling, assistant professor of political science, is the principal investigator of one of the winning proposals, “Collaborative Political Science Survey Research.” Six political science faculty members joined the proposal as co-principal investigators.

The award will allow the faculty members to generate original survey data through participation in the 2016 edition of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, a survey that reaches 50,000 Americans. The process is expected to lead to scholarly publications, external grant proposals and increased graduate and undergraduate student research involvement.

Dr. Conor Dowling

Conor Dowling

“The funding of the proposal will enable the investigators to generate their own original survey data during the course of the 2016 U.S. elections,” Dowling said. “This unique opportunity, which is a part of a collaborative effort with other institutions, will form the basis of several scholarly publications and external grant proposals.

“Not only will faculty in the department be able to pursue research questions on a national scale, but graduate students and interested undergraduates will have opportunities to take part in this research project as well.”

Other 2015 “ORSP-IG Round 1” winning proposals and principal investigators were:

* “An International Graduate Program in Gravitational Physics,” Emanuele Berti, associate professor of physics and astronomy;

* “Mapping Language and Culture,” Allison Burkette, associate professor of modern languages;

* “Characterizing Gunshot Residue from a Firearm Containing 3-D Printed Components: Feasibility of Collecting and Fingerprinting Polymer Residue Using Thermal Analysis and Mass Spectrometry,” James Cizdziel, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry;

* “Archeology Chemistry: Identifying Migration and Trade in Mesoamerica,” Carolyn Freiwald, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology;

* “Recovering the Lost Library of Chartres: Pioneering the Digital Future of the Past at the University of Mississippi,” Gregory Heyworth, associate professor of English.

* “Toward a Better Understanding of Groundwater Recharge in the Mississippi Delta in Support of Sustainable Aquifer Management,” Andrew M. O’Reilly, assistant professor of geology and geological engineering;

 * “Documenting Mississippi Stories,” Ted Ownby, professor of history, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture;

* “Visualization and Development for the SHE™ Application,” Phillip Rhodes, associate professor of computer and information science;

* “Identifying Neural Correlates of Increased Fluency Due to Multi-Modal Speech Feedback in a Stuttering Population,” Dwight Waddell, associate professor of electrical engineering;

* “The Effects of Authoritarian Iconography: An Experimental Test,” Yael Zeira, Croft assistant professor of political science and international studies;

The guidelines for the 2016 competition, known as “ORSP-IG Round 2,” have been released. Proposals by eligible researchers are invited on any topic of research, scholarly or creative interest, and special consideration will be given to those addressing issues related to race.

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs received a high volume of proposals during 2015’s Round 1 competition. To evaluate the proposals, ORSP enlisted several Ole Miss faculty and research staff members who responded to a campuswide call for readers.

For Round 2, a similar process will be used, but a pre-proposal will no longer be required and the proposals will be submitted via a new online portal.

To learn more about ORSP-IG, see or contact Jason Hale at

University of MS News

Public Policy Student Rod Bridges and Political Science Professor Bob Brown Recognized for Academic Excellence

Public Policy Student Rod Bridges and Political Science Professor Bob Brown Recognized for Academic Excellence

Pictured with University of Mississippi College of Liberal Arts Dean Lee M. Cohen (middle). | Photo by Denson Hollis

Robert Brown, professor of political science (from left), UM College of Liberal Arts Dean Lee M. Cohen (middle), and Rod Bridges, president of the University of Mississippi Associated Student Body. | Photo by Denson Hollis

The 29th annual Mississippi Universities Higher Education Appreciation Day—Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) program recognized Robert Brown, professor of political science (left), and Rod Bridges, president of the University of Mississippi Associated Student Body and a public policy leadership and pre-med major in the Sally McDonnell Honors College, and other outstanding students and faculty members from 34 Mississippi universities and colleges on February 2, 2016.

HEADWAE was established by legislative resolution to honor individual academic achievement and the overall contribution of the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning.

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Peace Society Annual Conference

International Conference at UM Focuses on Global Conflict Management

49th annual meeting of Peace Science Society unites preeminent group for discussion, research


David Carter of Princeton University answers questions after speaking at the 49th Annual North American meeting of the Peace Science Society (International). Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

David Carter of Princeton University answers questions after speaking at the 49th Annual North American meeting of the Peace Science Society (International). Photo by Kevin Bain/Communications

A prestigious annual event that encourages the development of peace analysis and conflict management around the globe met at the University of Mississippi’s the Inn at Ole Miss this weekend.

The 49th Peace Science Society International Conference, which began Thursday (Nov. 12) and ended Saturday (Nov. 14), focused on how social science theory relates to international relations. Presenters included scholars and experts from a wide variety of fields.

Representing UM as participants were Jeffery Carter, assistant professor of political science; Benjamin Jones, assistant professor of political science; and Susan Allen, associate professor of political science.

“The Peace Science Society Annual Conference is one of the largest conferences featuring rigorous academic research on peace, violence and conflict around the world,” said Carter, one of the event’s organizers and presenters. “The University of Mississippi is honored to host the conference for the first time in this region.”

Carter presented findings from his paper “You Must Choose, but Choose Wisely: Interstate Conflict and Endogenous Leader Selection.” His talk focused on whether leaders’ personalities influence their decisions on responses to conflict situations.

“We ask questions like, ‘Can the domestic population influence the likelihood of international conflict based upon the leaders’ personal choices?’” he said.

Jones’ presentation, titled “Sequencing Peace: Civil War Termination as a Path-Dependent Process,” included original research on when and how countries plan their recovery after a civil war has ended. Allen chaired a group of presenters Friday morning in Ballroom B.

Besides providing speakers for the conference, the political science department held the event to get students involved.

“It was a great opportunity to see how an academic conference is run, but more importantly, I was able to meet so many young professionals doing amazing new research in my field,” said Nate Andrew, a doctoral student from Mapleton, Utah.

The conference is sponsored by the university’s Office of the Provost, College of Liberal Arts and Department of Political Science.

For more about the Peace Science Society (International), visit

Learning Lessons from Haley Barbour’s Career

Learning Lessons from Haley Barbour’s Career

Initiative launched to honor former governor through UM political science department


An initiative is underway to honor two-term Mississippi governor and national political leader Haley Barbour at the University of Mississippi, with a goal of attracting $1.5 million for a faculty chair in the Department of Political Science.

Initial gifts, already totaling more than $300,000, are an indication of the interest in building a study reflecting on Barbour’s role in shaping American politics over 50 years.


Haley Barbour photograph

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, second from right, receives the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Mississippi Department of Political Science. Congratulating him are, from left, Lanny Griffith, chair of the Ole Miss Political Science Alumni Advisory Board; Lee Cohen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts; and John Bruce, chair of the political science department. An initiative to fund a chair in Barbour’s name in the department is underway, with the study’s focus on the American political system. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

“Gov. Barbour has enjoyed a long and distinguished career and obviously has many more contributions to make” said John Bruce, UM chair and associate professor of political science. “From his start working in the 1968 presidential election up through his two terms as governor of Mississippi, Gov. Barbour has been an example of what people can do in the political arena. His jobs have ranged from explicitly political to apolitical, and from appointed to elected.

“There is much in his career that we can point to when talking with students about ways to be engaged. Whether a student leans to the left or leans to the right, there are lessons to be learned by considering the arc of Gov. Barbour’s career.”

Plans call for the holder of the Barbour faculty position to study political institutions and processes that characterized Barbour’s far-reaching career. Among the leader’s achievements are building a state party organization during an historic shift in party allegiances, working in four successful presidential campaigns, serving as the political director in the Reagan White House, chairing the Republican National Committee during an epic off-year election, leading Mississippi as governor during Hurricane Katrina and building a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.

The named faculty position would allow the department to recruit a preeminent scholar with expertise in American politics, offering enhanced opportunities for students to learn about the development of our nation’s politics from a gifted teacher and researcher, said Lanny Griffith, CEO of the BGR Group in Washington, D.C., and chair of the University of Mississippi Political Science Alumni Advisory Board.

“This time in American politics looks remarkably dysfunctional, reflecting the importance of pursuing this work,” Griffith said. “We want this study to look at our political system not from partisanship but from scholarship, identifying what factors or dynamics will shape our political system going forward.

“The University of Mississippi is the perfect place for this study, considering the array of Mississippians who have played pivotal roles on the national stage.”

Bruce echoed that sentiment by pointing to the leadership roles of Barbour.

“His work in the White House, the governor’s office, the national party – these are all areas where political science has a great deal to say,” he said. “Gov. Barbour’s work has increased the visibility of our state, and his work after Hurricane Katrina brought substantial help to those in need. The Governor Haley Barbour Chair for the Study of American Politics will be a lasting legacy to an impressive body of work by one of our own native sons.”

Griffith added that building the Barbour Chair would impact young people’s lives. “I would hope that this study would help Ole Miss students understand the opportunities we have to be involved – the critical need to be involved – and help chart the course of our nation.”

Top Republican and Democratic political leaders participated in the launch of this significant campaign on the Oxford campus, including U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and Texas Gov. Ricky Perry. Chairing the event were Austin Barbour and Paul Hurst of Jackson and Wilson Golden of Gainesville, Georgia, while Griffith is spearheading the overall fundraising for the chair.

While visiting campus for the reception in his honor, Barbour said he was “flattered and honored” to consider the prospects of a faculty chair bearing his name.

“It is special that the University of Mississippi has decided to establish this position, which will have more of a focus on politics and elections and less on government, as well as give attention to the development of a two-party political system,” he said. “I think most college students – whether they grow up in Mississippi or not – don’t realize the long history and importance of Mississippi’s elected officials in American politics.

From L.Q.C. Lamar, who negotiated the end of Reconstruction, to an impressive array of leaders through history and to the present, Mississippians have been incredibly influential across the nation.

“We’ve had many Mississippians in politics who mattered, and not just in the state. And look at the development of the two-party political system in our state. Its development in the last 50 years has been rather remarkable. The first time I ever saw a political poll in Mississippi was in 1968, when only 6 percent of Mississippians identified themselves as Republican. You had to be an optimist to be a Republican in 1968.”

The fundraising campaign is nearing its first goal: building an endowment of $400,000 to fund initial work. Annual income from the permanent endowment will cover salary, research expenses and student learning opportunities.

The long-term goal is to attract funds to increase this endowment to the chair level at $1.5 million, when it will become known formally as the Governor Haley Barbour Chair for the Study of American Politics.

Ultimately, the endowed chair will attract a prominent scholar in the study of American politics, as the university remains focused on building faculty support as its student enrollment continues to soar. With the largest enrollment in the state, UM needs to add 215 new faculty members over the next three years.

Endowed faculty chairs honor the person for whom the position is named, ensure that young people are taught by gifted professors and strengthen the academic reputation of the university, from which Barbour himself earned a juris doctor degree in 1974.

To make a gift online, visit Gifts can also be made by mailing checks payable to the University of Mississippi Foundation – with the fund’s name noted in the check’s memo line – to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

For questions and information on supporting the campaign, contact John Bruce at 662-915-7401 or; or Lanny Griffith at

Scholarship Honors Retired Professor

1575966_profile_picScholarship Honors Retired Professor

UM political science alumni and friends have honored Goberdhan Bhagat, who taught in that department for 30 years before retiring in 1994, with a scholarship endowment in his name. Bhagat (affectionately known as GB) joined the faculty after serving as a diplomat for the Indian government in the United Nations.

“GB introduced several generations of students to the world of international politics,” said Rich Forgette, chair of the political science department. “He has influenced the lives and thinking of many alumni, including many Mississippi political leaders. We are thrilled to have a scholarship that honors this great educator.”

The Bhagat Scholarship Fund began as a project of the Political Science Alumni Advisory Board. Once fully endowed, the scholarship will be awarded to a political science student in the “Take 5” program, in which exceptional undergraduates can earn a master’s degree with only one additional year of study.

The department welcomes alumni to be part of this group and encourages donations to the Bhagat Scholarship Fund.


Former Political Science Chair Robert B. Albritton II Fondly Remembered

Former Political Science Chair Robert B. Albritton II Fondly Remembered

UM administrators, faculty members recall late colleague and mentor as a great leader, example


Robert Bynum Albritton II

Robert Bynum Albritton II, chair and professor emeritus of political science, is being fondly remembered by his University of Mississippi colleagues as a visionary leader, loyal mentor and respected teacher.

Albritton, 78, passed Sept. 9 at his home in Oxford. A memorial service will be held later in Andalusia, Alabama. Coleman Funeral Home was in charge of local arrangements. Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, Tennessee 38101-9908 or Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society, P.O. Box 1674, Oxford, MS 38655.

“We will miss Bob as a colleague and a friend,” said Rich Forgette, senior associate dean of UM’s liliCollege of Liberal Arts and professor of political science. “Bob had far-reaching academic interests: state and local politics, democratic theory and Thailand. He was an active scholar who loved to discuss research with colleagues.”

John Bruce, UM chair and associate professor of political science, said Albritton was “simply a good guy” who held good values, worked hard and savored friendship.

“Bob was, in many ways, the ultimate Renaissance guy,” Bruce said. “He would carry on informed conversations about a huge range of topics. The Department of Political Science and the University of Mississippi are better for the time he spent here.”

Robert Brown, a former student of Albritton’s at Northern Illinois University who recruited his mentor to join the UM faculty as department chair, said Albritton was “everything an academic should aspire to be.”

“He was energized by the give and take of academic debate and was a thoughtful researcher who addressed important questions,” said Brown, a UM political science professor. “Bob was a lifetime learner who never tired of tackling new ideas and lines of inquiry. And he was a caring and energetic mentor and teacher who had a profound impact on the lives of his students.

“Those of us who are lucky enough to do this wonderful job should look to Bob Albritton as a role model of how to be a university professor.”

A native of Andalusia, Albritton earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama. He moved to Oxford in 1998, serving as professor and chair of the Department of Political Science until 2003, when he left his administrative role to concentrate on teaching. He also chaired the university’s Faculty Senate in 2011-2012 before retiring in spring 2012.

Previously, Albritton taught at Northern Illinois University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Williams College, University of Vienna in Austria, Northwestern University and Chiang Mai University and Songkla University, both in Thailand.

Albritton’s professional activities included memberships and appointments in the Mississippi Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association, Policy Studies Association, Policy Studies Review, Journal of Politics, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, American Politics Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, American Political Science Association, and the Association of Asian Scholars.

He co-edited one book and co-authored more than 30 journal articles, textbook chapters and countless conference papers.

Having played football, Albritton was an avid football fan. He was also an animal lover who often volunteered at the animal shelter as a “paw-walker.”

He is survived by his wife, Nantaporn Apasiripol of Oxford; a son, Robert Bynum Albritton III of Herndon, Virginia; a daughter, Phyllis Mary-Anne Albritton of Evergreen, Colorado; a brother, William Leonard Albritton of Saskatoon, Canada; and three grandchildren.

Online condolences may be left on the Tribute Wall at!/Obituary.

Student Finds Calling Through DC Internship

http://libartAnna Lee

Student Finds Calling Through DC Internship


University of Mississippi senior Anna Lee Whisenant, a Madison native, spent her summer in Washington, DC, as a policy intern for the US Small Business Administration (SBA).

The public policy leadership and political science double major worked in the SBA Office of Financial Assistance helping to rewrite policy to better suit the needs of small businesses.

Whisenant said her studies at UM have given her the knowledge to be an asset to the SBA as an intern.

“I’ve definitely been preparing for this with my courses in public policy,” she said. “And I’m doing a good job here because of my education at Ole Miss.”

The successful internship has helped Whisenant decide to pursue a career in law with the hope of working as general counsel for a federal agency such as the SBA.

Robert Brown Is UM Teacher of Year

Political science professor receives Elsie M. Hood Award at Honors Convocation

Robert Brown | Photo by Robert Jordan, UM Communications

Robert Brown | Photo by Robert Jordan, UM Communications

During Robert D. Brown’s 24 years of teaching at the University of Mississippi, the popular faculty member has earned many honors, but receiving the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award Thursday ranks as his most rewarding.

The professor of political science was presented the coveted accolade by Chancellor Dan Jones during the 72nd annual Honors Day Convocation. Brown, who has taught the full range of students at the university, was overjoyed and humbled by the recognition.

“I was completely stunned and dumbfounded,” Brown said. “I know and admire several people who have won this award, so the whole thing is really quite humbling.”

Brown joined the UM faculty as an assistant professor in 1991. Over the past two decades, he has been promoted to associate professor and professor, in addition to being co-founder and former director of the Social Science Research Laboratory. Brown is now a senior research associate of the SSRL and graduate program coordinator.

“Professor Brown is being recognized by his peers for outstanding teaching,” Jones said. “I am grateful to him for his commitment to our students and to perpetuating the culture among our faculty of making teaching our highest priority.”

One student noted that Brown “really made me want to learn.” Another said, “ He is by far the greatest instructor, friend, mentor and ally at the University of Mississippi.”

He was presented the UM Faculty Achievement Award for 2005-06, but said the Elsie Hood is “very, very special to me.”

“My home department is full of wonderful, dedicated teachers, and it’s nice to be able to represent them,” Brown said. “I want to be a good teacher, to challenge students to address difficult issues and be challenged by my students in return.”

“I want to help students see things from different perspectives and understand that they can have an impact, make a difference. To think that students thought enough of our experience together to nominate me really means more than I can possibly say.”

Besides teaching undergraduate political science courses and graduate seminars and research projects, Brown has served on the University Strategic Planning Committee, Faculty Senate and the University Smoke-Free Campus Policy Implementation Committee.

A nomination letter from one student notes that “he not only changed my view of his course in Politics, but of all my classes since then, giving me the desire to dig deeper and apply concepts I never would have been interested in doing so otherwise.” Another student, who has taken his classes for three consecutive semesters, said, “(he) gives careful attention to each member of the class and creates an environment where a group of strangers felt comfortable discussing controversial and intriguing questions about society.”

Brown earned his doctorate at Indiana University, a Master’s and bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University. Co-author of 20 refereed articles, book chapters, he has been the principle or co-principle investigator on external grants totaling more than $5 million.

Brown said he considered himself “lucky” to be teaching American politics at the university.

“When I walk into a classroom, I never quite know what I’m going to find,” he said. “Things can literally change from day-to-day, which helps keep the material (and hopefully me) fresh.”

Teaching in the Honors College the past several years has also been fulfilling for Brown.

“I’ve been in class with smart accomplished kids who are going to make a real difference,” Brown said. “I’ve witnessed amazing bravery, empathy and community. These things have touched me deeply and I will never forget them. My Honors students have made me a better teacher and a better person.”

Brown acknowledged several UM faculty and staff for their contributions to his success.

“I’ll begin with my old teacher and friend Bob Albritton, who got me into the profession to begin with,” he said. “He’s retired now, but there’s nobody on the planet who loved teaching political science more than Bob.”

“When I got here I was lucky to walk into a department containing John Winkle, a former recipient of this award and a teaching legend at Ole Miss. His mentorship has been very important to me. The person I’ve spent more time talking with about classes and teaching is my great friend Tim Nordstrom. Being able to bounce ideas around with Tim is something I really enjoy, and he has no idea how many of his ideas I’ve stolen.“

Brown said he owes a huge debt of gratitude to Doug Sullivan-Gonzales, dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and associate professor of history. “Doug continues to give me the chance to work with these incredible students and talented faculty and staff, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities he’s given me.”

Brown is married to Laura Diven-Brown, director of UM financial aid. Their son, Sean, is a sophomore at Oxford High School.

Each year since 1966, the university has recognized excellence in teaching by presenting the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award. Based on nominations from both students and faculty, the award includes a personal plaque and a check from the chancellor. Recipients’ names are also engraved on a plaque listing previous winners, which is displayed in the J. D. Williams Library.