Missouri State University
Political Science Blog

Warming Cross-Straits Water – Faculty in the News

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Political Science Professor Professor and Global Studies Graduate Program Director, Dr. Dennis Hickey, suggests that Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), needs to clarify her position on cross-Straits relations as she embarks on her visit to the United States.

For the full story in Thursday’s China Daily see the link below.


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Megan Lucy Appreciates Flexibility of MPA Degree: A Perfect Education For Her Goals (Maybe yours, too)

Megan Lucy

My name is Megan Lucy, and I graduated in 2012 with an MPA from Missouri State. Since my graduation, what I have appreciated most about my MPA is the flexibility it has given me to travel and pursue a wide variety of employment opportunities. I married a fellow Missouri State Bear the day after graduation, and have traveled with him to Toledo, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky as he pursues a Ph.D. in music. In each of those locations, my Missouri State education has allowed me to quickly find stable, well paying, and interesting employment so that my life following a musician around the country isn’t nearly as Bohemian as it sounds.

While still a student at Missouri State, I had the opportunity to work for my political idol, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. I started at her office as an intern, through a connection I had made in Model United Nations. After a few months, I was hired as a staff assistant managing the day to day affairs of the Senator’s Springfield office and representing her at events throughout the state. I was then promoted to Veterans’ Affairs casework, assisting veterans to navigate the federal bureaucracy and receive the benefits they are due.

When I moved to Ohio, the 2012 election cycle was in full swing and I was hired as a field organizer for the Ohio Democratic Party, working primarily on U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s reelection campaign. This was one of the first major elections since the Citizens United decision, and the most expensive Senate election up to that point. While we ultimately prevailed, getting Senator Brown reelected and swinging the state for President Obama, I learned that organizing is very hard work, especially when you are up against millions of dollars.

After the intensity and uncertainty of campaign life, I decided to switch gears and more actively pursue public administration instead of politics. My favorite subject in the MPA program was organizational psychology, and I wanted to experience what it was like to work within a larger organization. I took an administrative assistant job in the College of Arts and Sciences at Bowling Green State University, and after moving to Kentucky took a very similar job in the Dean’s office of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at University of Kentucky. My primary responsibilities are the oversight of faculty personnel actions- the hiring, promotion, and evaluation of professors.

Simplifying bureaucracy is a specific and valuable skill set that an MPA provides. As a caseworker for the Senate, I helped veterans and their families who while dealing with bereavement and injury were faced with what seemed like an overwhelming wall of bureaucracy. Through campaigns, I worked with volunteers to find effective ways for their voices to be heard when they felt drowned out by corporate spending. Unclear expectations for hiring, promotion, and tenure are some of the leading causes for women and minorities leaving academia, especially in the STEM fields. At BGSU, and now at the University of Kentucky, I work to clarify university policy and provide support to academics as they advance their careers, so that we can retain the best and brightest in their fields.

The MPA has been a perfect degree for me as it has allowed me to explore a wide variety of fields, while retaining that core mission of simplifying bureaucracy so others may thrive. It has also allowed me the flexibility to balance my career and personal life. A less flexible degree could have left me unemployed for many months as I moved around, or unable to provide the benefits my husband and I need to sustain ourselves while he is a full time student. As it is, my education has been perfect for my three goals of helping others, being financially stable, and achieving a positive work-life balance.

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Dr. Kevin Pybas Named 2016-2017 Provost Fellow for Public Affairs


Dr. Kevin Pybas, Political Science faculty member and the University’s Pre-Law Advisor, has been named 2016-2017 Provost Fellow for Public Affairs.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Missouri State University’s Public Affairs theme for the 2016-17 academic year, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Perspectives on Democracy, is rich with opportunities to engage the campus community in discussions that will explore both our rights and our responsibilities as citizens in a modern, representative democracy.

Dr. Pybas will will be responsible for refining this theme, developing and promoting related activities during the 2016-2017 academic year, and will serve as the Chair of the 2017 Public Affairs Conference.

Congratulations Kevin and Champagne for everyone!

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Spring 2015 Graduation Dinner

Faculty bid farewell to Spring 2015 graduates from the Political Science department; including undergraduate majors and graduate students in the Global Studies and Public Administration Programs.

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PLS, MGS, and MPA faculty joined students and their families for dinner on the night before graduation. Special guests included CHPA Dean, Dr. Victor Matthews, and emeritus faculty member, Dr. Mark Rushefsky, and his wife Cindy. This annual event is underwritten by a generous donation from PLS alum, Wayne Bischler. We sincerely appreciate Wayne’s long-standing support of the department and its programs.

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Congratulations Graduates! https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YWxhdFqVyZ8#t=81

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It’s “Risky” – Stimulation by Simulation

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This year’s Foreign Policies of Middle Eastern States simulation, David Romano and his students focused on the Islamic State and the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Students took on the roles of the Assad regime, the Baghdad government, Iran, Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the Islamic State and other actors. Using a giant “Middle East RISK board” and pieces, those who failed to secure their objectives via negotiation could try “diplomacy by other means.” To help them, “Special Action Cards” were also available — which allowed students to do things such as accusing their enemies of being Zionist spies, launching terrorist attacks, getting positive al Jazeera news coverage or hosting U.N. monitoring teams in order to secure a lull in the fighting.

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And The Winner Is………Dr. David Romano

Congratulations to Dr. David Romano, Recipient of the 2015 Missouri State University Foundation Award for Teaching.

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In addition to earning the Foundation award, David was also selected for the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Governor’s Award is based on effective teaching, innovative course design and delivery, effective advising, service to the University community, commitment to high standards of excellence and success in nurturing student achievement. The award is present by the Governor and the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. I see a round of paintball in Jay Nixon’s future.


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Caissa* Bestows Her Blessings

The Missouri State University Chess Club, with faculty advisor Nick Beatty, recently hosted a tournament in Strong Hall. The event consisted of four rounds and lasted about twelve hours. Participants came from across the country, as well as across the state of Missouri, and included PLS majors. In addition to the participants, there were several observers from the community.

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All players were impressed with and grateful for the hospitality provided by Political Science department and the University. A chess organizer from Kansas City expressed an interest in hosting larger a tournaments at MSU in the future. According to Nick, there were no injuries.

*According to a 1763 poem by Sir William Jones, Caissa is the Goddess of Chess.

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Meantime the god, elate with heart-felt joy,
Had reach’d the temple of the sportful boy;
He told Caissa’s charms, his kindled fire,
The naiad’s counsel, and his warm desire.
“Be swift, he added, give my passion aid;
A god requests.” – He spake, and Sport obey’d.
He fram’d a tablet of celestial mold,
Inlay’d with squares of silver and of gold;
Then of two metals form’d the warlike band,
That here compact in show of battle stand;
He taught the rules that guide the pensive game,
And call’d it Cassa from the dryad’s name

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Amy Snyder Presents Research at Prestigious Political Science Meeting


I presented my independent study project at the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) meeting on a panel about NGOs and disasters. My research is focused on analyzing how natural disasters affect human trafficking. Following the earthquake in Haiti there were many reports that human trafficking had flourished while the country tried to recover. However, similar reports did not occur after Hurricane Katrina or the Tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan. Also, no studies have been done to understand exactly how disasters create an environment that allows human trafficking to grow. My presentation compared the literature from both areas of study and presented two case studies, the U.S. and Haiti. These case studies reflect that any natural disaster creates a more vulnerable environment providing the opportunity for trafficking. My presentation concluded with suggestions for more in depth research and strategies for organizations on the ground following a disaster.

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Where Are They Now – Ken Rutherford


Since leaving Springfield and MSU for James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA) to accept the Director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR), I’ve had one opportunity to return to MSU – for the Public Affairs Conference. It was joyous to be back on campus, see great friends and enjoy the wonderful beauty.

My family and I are currently living in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley. Besides spending too much time at the office and overseas, I enjoy being with Kim and our children – including attending their activities, and joining me on overseas trips when they can – and trying to find the time to garden, serve on several charity boards, and write – current book project is the Confederate use of landmines during the American Civil War tentatively titled “Landmines in Our Backyard: The U.S. Civil War’s Buried History.”

The recent significant re-emergence of nation-building violence in many countries around the world, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine are harbingers of a new age of conflict patterns. Finding sustainable ends to conflicts to build sustainable peace and bridge societal cleavages have become fundamental necessities to international stabilization. The residents of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are uniquely positioned to provide a framework to do just that with the lessons from the surrender 150 years ago on April 9, 1865, of Gen. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at nearby Appomattox.

Kim and I arrived in Springfield and SMS in 2000 with our four children, who were all five years old or younger. They are all teenagers now. Many of my former SMSU/MSU colleagues and students may remember my better-half – Kim – and our kids from our dinner parties, around town or loudly running the Strong Hall and PLS hallways. Here is a brief update:

Kim holds the busy home front together. While trying to find time to keep her runs and hikes on schedule, she works part-time as a critical nurse. Hayden (20) is in Golden, Colorado as a sophomore at Colorado School of Mines, where he is majoring in mechanical engineering, and minoring in explosives engineering, and playing linebacker on the football team. Campbell (18) is wrapping up his high school senior year and celebrating with an appointment to the Corps of Cadets at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), where he plans to major in biology, commission into the US Army or Marines on way to a medical or Veterinary career. Duncan (16) continues his serial entrepreneur interests with a few business ventures, including leading our chicken raising and bee keeping efforts, and remains an engaged debater both at school and at home. He is going to Morocco this summer to study Arabic. Lucie (15) is enjoying her first year of high school, occupying her days with volleyball, basketball, track and newspaper reporting.

Last year, I enjoyed visiting with former PLS student Munisa Vahobova in her beautiful home country of Tajikistan and the year before having the honor to officiate the marriage of another PLS student – Scott Waddle in Chicago.

Here’s a link to Ken’s JMU webpage – https://www.jmu.edu/cisr/staff/rutherford-ken.shtml

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