Department of Political Science and Public Administration

  • Amsler, Kempin Reuter receive mentorship award

    The UAB Graduate Dean's Excellence in Mentorship Award recognizes full-time regular UAB faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments as mentors of graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows.

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  • Phenomenal year for undergraduates presenting research on the big stage

    Five UAB students will present at the World Conference of Undergraduate Research in Oldenburg, Germany.

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  • UAB Office of Undergraduate Research to host annual Spring Expo on April 18-19

    UAB students are gearing up for the annual Spring Expo to celebrate research and service-learning endeavors.

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  • UAB Commission on the Status of Women honors six Outstanding Women for 2019

    Six UAB women are honored as the Outstanding Women for 2019 by the Commission on the Status of Women in celebration of Women’s History Month.

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  • Six honored as Outstanding Women for 2019

    Each year the UAB Commission on the Status of Women presents these awards during Women’s History Month to honor women in the UAB and Birmingham communities who have mentored or served other women, taken a courageous stance or overcome adversity to achieve a goal. They will be honored during a special ceremony March 20.

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  • UAB graduate and professional programs again ranked among the nation’s best

    U.S. News & World Report ranking features a number of UAB programs ranked in the top 25, including a School of Health Professions’ master’s program at No. 1.

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  • 2019 Winners of College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching Announced

    Established in 2018, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes full-time regular faculty members of College of Arts and Sciences who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in teaching.

    Established in 2018, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes full-time regular faculty members of College of Arts and Sciences who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in teaching. The individual must have held faculty status at UAB for a minimum of three years and may receive the award only once in any three-year period. Winners were selected by the CAS President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Committee from three groupings of the College's academic departments:

    • Arts and Humanities – Art and Art History, Music, Theatre, Communication Studies, English, Foreign Languages, History and Philosophy
    • Natural Sciences and Mathematics – Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics and Mathematics
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences – African American Studies, Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Political Science and Public Administration, Psychology, Social Work and Sociology

    Winners were selected for their outstanding accomplishments in teaching as demonstrated by broad and thorough knowledge of the subject area; ability to convey difficult concepts; fairness, open-mindedness and accessibility to students; ability to inspire and mentor students; effective use of innovative teaching methods, promotion of ethical and professional values; modeling service and scholarly activities; and more.

    The three winners will be honored at a reception at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts on March 5 and will be considered for the final College of Arts and Sciences nominee for the President’s Award of Excellence in Teaching.

    From the Arts and Humanities, Dr. DeReef Jamison, Associate Professor in the African American Studies Program

    Dr. Jamison explores the connections between Africana intellectual history and social science, particularly the notion of cultural consciousness. In his teaching, Dr. Jamison encourages students to think critically about the world in which they live. As he says in his faculty bio, he seeks to follow the model set by pioneering African American Studies scholars who stressed academic excellence, social responsibility, and social change.

    Dr. Jamison received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Bowie State University, his master's in community psychology from Florida A&M University, and his doctorate from Temple University in African American Studies.

    One of his student nominators said, "Dr. Jamison's classroom is unlike any other educational space. His remarkable teaching style remains a highlight of my education at UAB. He also takes a careful interest in each student and is available to expound on class assignments and topics or just sit and listen to the fanciful ideas of aspiring scholars. It was Dr. Jamison’s encouragement that persuaded me to apply to be an intern at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and his love of and commitment to his research and publications emboldened me to pursue graduate school."

    From the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Dr. Karolina Mukhtar, Associate Professor in the Department of Biology

    Dr. Mukhtar graduated with a joint B.S./M.Sc. in biology from the University of Szczecin, Poland. She received her Ph.D. in genetics from the Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, and completed her post-doc in plant immunity from Duke University.

    Her research focuses on various aspects of plant-microbe interactions using genetic and biochemical approaches. Specifically, she explores the interface between the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and several of its pathogens, including both fungi and bacteria. She is a committed teacher at all levels, including K-12, and was named one of the 11 inaugural UAB Faculty Fellows in Service Learning.

    She has created innovative teaching methods and is committed to developing instructional strategies for students with various learning disabilities. In Spring 2015, she was named Outstanding Faculty Mentor by the Office of Disability Support Services.

    One of Dr. Mukhtar's student nominators said, "Dr. Mukhtar's engaging lectures, clear explanations, and presentation of the field's newest discoveries combined to make my undergraduate Plant Biology class the best lecture-based course I have ever experienced. Later, when I was one of her Supplemental Instruction Leaders, she always made sure I had everything I needed to do my job well and made time to explain the concepts so I could better serve the students. I was able to see how she adapted her plans based on the needs of the students. She consistently looks for ways to improve her teaching methods to ensure her students gain a deeper understanding of genetics."

    From the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Erin Borry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration

    Dr. Borry's research focuses on bureaucratic structure, employee minority status, and employee willingness to bend rules and perceptions of red tape. She has also published work on governmental transparency and government websites.

    Dr. Borry received her bachelor's degree and master's in public administration from Rutgers University and her doctorate from the University of Kansas. She currently serves as the digital media editor for the journal Public Integrity and as a board member for two sections within the American Society for Public Administration. She is also a research fellow with the Center for Organization Research and Design (CORD) at Arizona State University and is an affiliated researcher with the Local Government Workplaces Initiative (LGWI) at the University of North Carolina.

    Some of her most recent courses include Human Resources Management, Intergovernmental Relations, Open Government, and Scope of Public Administration.

    One of her nominators wrote, "Dr. Borry’s teaching influences my daily leadership. As an executive director of a local non-profit, I frequently rely on the concepts Dr. Borry demonstrated in the Human Resource Management class. When I took her class, I had limited experience managing employees. She had the challenging task of conveying a topic with which most of us had no experience, and she did so brilliantly. I’ve heard that alumni success raises the caliber of academic programs. However, alumni would not be successful without relevant, engaging, and high-caliber teaching. Dr. Erin Borry provides the academic foundation for me and my fellow alumni to succeed."

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  • Srivastava named Truman Scholarship Award finalist

    UAB Honors College student will interview in early March for the prestigious Truman Scholarship.

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  • Blanton is new chair for Political Science and Public Administration

    Robert Blanton, Ph.D., who joined the UAB faculty in 2014, will begin his new role Aug. 1.

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  • Blanton is new chair for Political Science and Public Administration

    Rob Blanton, Ph.D., an expert on international political economy and current professor in the department, will begin his new role Aug. 1.

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  • UAB student invited to interview for Marshall Scholarship

    UAB student selected as a finalist for coveted scholarship to study abroad.

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  • Expert: Human rights should be a focus as North Korea peace talks unfold

    Human rights and international politics experts say efforts to shine a light on human rights abuses in North Korea and calls for improvement must be stated in future discussions.

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  • UAB’s MPA Program hosts first international training program

    Ten senior faculty members from the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC) came to UAB for an intensive three-week training program centered around building leadership skills in the public sector.

    On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, a closing ceremony was held for the first class of graduates from the first international training program conducted by UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences. Ten senior faculty members from the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC) came to UAB for an intensive three-week training program centered around building leadership skills in the public sector. The BPATC trains all civil servants in Bangladesh. The training program was funded by a $50,000 grant sponsored by the Bangladesh government and the BPTAC.

    Dr. Akhlaque Haque, professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration and director of the department’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, is the principal investigator on the grant. Dr. Haque spearheaded the 21-day program, which featured training through lectures and workshops on subjects such as Leading with Integrity; Strategic Planning; and Conflict, Peace, and Negotiation. Participants also met with local government officials and went on surrounding city tours and excursions.

    “What made our program unique is we took the time to reflect on what the Bangladesh government might need and what would be most helpful to them, and we created the training program around that,” said Haque. “So, when we were asked to send a proposal about leadership, we blended two types of training: Leadership in soft skills, and then exploring what it takes to be a leader.”


    [widgetkit id="33" name="PSPA -- BPATC 2018"]

    At the closing ceremony, the participants were presented with certificates from the UAB Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) for completing the training program. The CTL trains faculty members at UAB; Senior Vice Provost and Senior International Officer Dr. Suzanne Austin thought that they should be involved in the BPTAC training, as well.

    “The fact that the government of Bangladesh chose UAB to provide an extended professional development opportunity to this cohort of civil servants is a testament to our Public Administration program,” said Dr. Austin. “Training programs like this are a wonderful way to expand the global reputation of UAB and we look forward to sharing our expertise in many areas with future delegations from around the world.”

    Dr. Robert Palazzo, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said this program supports the College’s goal of increasing its international profile.

    “Expanding global reach and global impact is a key aspiration of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Haque’s leadership and commitment aligned with the support of the Provost’s Office has made this program possible and successful,” he said.

    Dr. Haque echoed those sentiments of support throughout UAB. “The program came together thanks to the remarkable support of several UAB resource officials from housing and immigration to the CTL, the Dean’s Office, and the Provost’s office,” said Dr. Haque. “We are so grateful for their support.”

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  • Student profile: Laila-Rose Hudson

    Laila-Rose Hudson is the UAB Political Science Program’s Outstanding Student for 2018.

    Political Science student Laila-Rose Hudson, who is graduating on April 28, 2018, is featured in the latest issue of Pi Sigma Alpha newsletter. She is both a recent Pi Sigma Alpha honors inductee and the UAB Political Science Program’s Outstanding Student for 2018. Pi Sigma Alpha is the premiere honor society for students of political science.

    Read her profile on the Pi Sigma Alpha website.

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  • Taking a Leap

    Psychology and Public Administration alumna Ann Bridges Steely says her biggest career risks brought the greatest rewards.

    Psychology and Public Administration alumna Ann Bridges Steely says her biggest career risks brought the greatest rewards.

    Growing up in Homewood, Alabama, as the oldest of three daughters, Ann Bridges Steely never saw herself as terribly adventurous. Though she began her undergraduate studies out of state, she came back to Birmingham and finished at UAB with a bachelor’s in psychology in 1976. She took a job with the Jefferson County Personnel Board right after graduation where she administered testing to various county employees. But she found herself wanting to enhance her skills and knowledge, so she started looking for graduate programs.

    “I really wanted to be certified in testing, so I started looking at programs with different schools of education,” she says. “But about that time, I found out about the new Master's in Public Administration that UAB was offering. It was just starting and I was in the first class to graduate in 1980.”

    In the new MPA program, Steely found herself surrounded by professionals who worked in the public sector and for nonprofits. “They were seasoned professionals who were just waiting for a master’s program like that to come around,” she says. “I learned so much from them about administration, bureaucracy, and holding my own in a male-dominated environment.”

    Steely didn’t know it then, but those lessons would come in handy when she took her first big leap off the professional high dive. She had applied for the White House Internship Program, but during the economic recession of the early 1980s, funding for the program had been cut. Unbeknownst to Ann, however, the list of applicants was circulating through the federal government, including the Air Force.

    “The list landed on the desk of an Air Force Colonel who happened to be from Anniston, Alabama, so he took a liking to me,” Ann says. “Maybe because we were both from Alabama, I don’t know. But he called me and offered me a job with the Air Force. He convinced me to move to San Antonio and make a career.”

    Off She Goes

    Ann packed up her meager belongings, said goodbye to her parents and sisters, and drove herself to San Antonio, a city she’d never even visited. “My parents were crying when I left with my little U-Haul,” she recalls. “It was hard for them to let me go, but they knew I was happy and they knew I had a good job.” It was a bold and brave move for a young woman in her early 20s, who had never considered a civilian military career and who had no experience working for the federal government.

    "I took jobs that other people didn’t want. Those are the kinds of risks that give you the greatest rewards."

    “I hit it at the right time,” she says. “I went in with a master’s degree right when the military was trying to professionalize their work force. Plus, Reagan was president and there was a lot of spending on defense.”

    Ann’s first job allowed her to use her undergraduate and graduate degrees, along with her work experience at the county personnel board. She stayed at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio for 18 years, eventually moving into contract negotiations. “I liked the military environment,” she says. “I liked the structure and the professionalism. As a contract negotiator, I helped define requirements for personnel positions, I solicited proposals, I really negotiated the terms and conditions for all kinds of contracts and services.”

    When she had the opportunity to move to D.C. to work for the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC), her husband agreed to follow her. After three years with the FDIC, she moved into defense contracting, working for Raytheon for another six years. “I had such a fulfilling, worthwhile career,” she says. “I loved it, the entire 22 years I was in the Air Force and the Department of Defense. I had never been exposed to the military when I was growing up, but I wish I had been, because for young professionals it’s a wonderful opportunity. Especially if you do any ROTC training, they give you a lot of responsibility at a young age, more than the civilians.”

    Although as a young woman Ann had to stretch herself to take a job with the Air Force in an unfamiliar city, her long and successful career is proof that her bravery paid off. From early professional recognition (BOTTOM RIGHT) to many years of personal travel with her husband Phillip Steely and friends and family (ABOVE), Ann has had a rich life that she attributes in part to her willingness to take risks. Grounding her throughout have been her mother and sisters (TOP RIGHT).

    Rising to the Top

    While Steely didn’t benefit from the acceleration that ROTC training could have given her career, she nevertheless rose quickly through the ranks. And she says much of that had to do with her independence and her willingness to take risks. “It really started with that first decision to take the job with the Air Force,” she says. “I paid my own way to move and I didn’t know a soul in San Antonio. I took jobs that other people didn’t want. Those are the kinds of risks that give you the greatest rewards.”

    As a young woman in a primarily-male work environment, Steely was aware of both her gender and her age as she advanced to higher-level jobs. “I never felt like being a woman—whether in uniform or not—was an issue. I saw plenty of women be successful,” she says. “But at the same time, as I was moving up the ranks, there were no women at the G-13 level, which is mid-management, by the time I got [to that level]. After four years there were a handful, but I was also the youngest to reach the G-15 level, which is equivalent to a colonel. But there were plenty of times when I was young and the only woman in the room and I was asked to get their coffee. I moved up every year for five years and they would look at me and couldn’t believe I was in the position I was in. The bias was there, but I’ve always thought it’s often how you respond to it.”

    How did she respond to the request for coffee? “I would just say, ‘Let me see if I can find someone to do that.’”

    And what did her male superiors do then? ”They would just laugh, maybe a little selfconsciously.”

    Steely continues. “Generally, I felt that if I performed it was okay, but I’m not naïve: I’m aware there was probably harassment. But in my experience, if I held my own and worked hard and did good work, I would be rewarded.”

    “I would always tell people, men or women, when they would ask me about the work/life balance or whether they should move or stay, that there are tradeoffs. Making a decision will close the door on some opportunities, but it will open other doors.” Still, Steely says, she had her moments of self-doubt and worry. “Every time I took a career risk, I would question myself. When I moved from contracting to project management, which was dominated by engineers, I cried, ‘What have I done?’ But that always led me to the most career growth. Not necessarily promotions, but I grew. You learn from every job, even the bad ones.”

    Giving Back

    Steely is in the process of establishing a program in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration that will enable MPA students to have an internship in D.C. “I want to give people the opportunities to do the things they may not have thought of,” she says. “I loved my career with the federal government and want our UAB MPA students to be able to explore the same pathways. It’s important that students feel safe taking that risk.”

    Steely says that, just as she had strong mentors during her career, she wants to be able to play the role of supporter and advisor to younger people entering the professional workforce. “It’s important they realize that you don’t know what you will excel at until you try,” she says. “You can feel that you don’t have control, but you sometimes have more control than you think. You have to really try to learn from what you fail at, and find some mentors. You can never outgrow a mentoring relationship, and you can learn from anybody, just as you can mentor anybody.”

    After a long and successful career, her biggest piece of advice? “There’s a great big world out there. Take a leap off the high dive.”

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  • Colombia’s Long Search for Peace

    Veteran Colombia observer Michael J. LaRosa, Ph.D., explains how Colombians recently succeeded in brokering an unprecedented peace agreement between their government and its enemies.

    What can Americans learn from Colombians’ heroic efforts to end their nation’s long-running civil war/dirty war, a conflict that has haunted their society for over half a century? Come listen to veteran Colombia observer Michael J. LaRosa, Ph.D., explain how Colombians recently succeeded in brokering an unprecedented peace agreement between their government and its enemies, leaders of the notorious FARC guerillas. Bring your questions.

    When: Thursday, April 5, 6:00 p.m.

    Where: Alumni Theatre, Hill Student Center (2nd floor), UAB Campus

    Sponsors: Departments of History, Anthropology, and Political Science and Public Administration, and the CAS Institute for Human Rights.

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  • College of Arts and Sciences graduate programs ranked nationally

    The Graduate and Professional programs within the Departments of Biology and Political Science and Public Administration rank among the nation’s best.

    The Graduate and Professional programs within the Departments of Biology and Political Science and Public Administration rank among the nation’s best, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools Rankings.

    The rankings, released today and available online at usnews.com, include the graduate program in the Department of Biology (No. 62) and the Public Affairs MPA program in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration (No. 72).

    In addition, the graduate program in the Department of Computer Science was listed in the Best Online Graduate Computer and Information Technology Programs (No. 19).

    “These rankings reflect our commitment to academic excellence and the broad diversity of intellectual pursuits in the College of Arts and Sciences,” says Dr. Robert E. Palazzo, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

    Each year, U.S. News ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medicine, including specialties in each area. The rankings in these six areas are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students. Indicator and opinion data come from statistical surveys of more than 2,012 graduate programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 20,500 academics and professionals in the ranked disciplines. The surveys were conducted during the fall of 2017 and in early 2018. In each field, rankings of programs in various specialty areas based on reputation data alone are also presented.

    The magazine also ranks programs in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities on a rotating basis, usually every three years. These rankings are based solely on the ratings of academic experts.

    U.S. News made a number of key updates to the methodologies this year. For the most detailed explanations of these changes, visit usnews.com/education.

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  • Moving Birmingham Forward with Mayor Randall L. Woodfin

    The Department of Political Science and Public Administration Politics and Lecture Series presents "Moving Birmingham Forward with Mayor Randall L. Woodfin."

    The Department of Political Science and Public Administration Politics and Lecture Series presents "Moving Birmingham Forward with Mayor Randall L. Woodfin."

    A native of Birmingham, Mayor Woodfin is an attorney and former president of the Birmingham Board of Education. He cares about this city and its future. He's committed to bringing a new vision, a new dedication, and a new energy to a city where he wants citizens to have every opportunity to work, play, and grow to their fullest potential.

    Where: Heritage Hall 102
    When: March 29, 2018, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Reception follows talk.

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  • UAB junior named finalist for Truman Scholarship

    Erica Webb has been named a finalist for the prestigious scholarship; winners will be announced April 20.

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  • Jahani receives Samuel B. Barker Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies

    Firooz Jahani is a Fulbright Scholar from Afghanistan and a graduate assistant in the Masters of Public Administration Program in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.

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