The past year was another year of change and transition for us. Dr. Gregory Rocha retired at the end of the fall 2015 semester. He taught a multitude of students in his 25 year career at UTEP, including several employed by local governments and agencies. The El Paso City Council recognized Dr. Rocha by declaring December 8th to be Dr. Greg Rocha Day. Dr. Kathleen Staudt was also honored by the Texas House of Representatives, recognizing the deep influence of her research and efforts to improve education and society in the borderlands. We also would like to welcome those new to our department. Dr. Rebecca Reid joins us as a recent graduate from the University of South Carolina and will be teaching courses in the area of American public law and international law. The addition of Dr. Reid to our faculty provides us with a very strong public law foundation. We also wish to welcome our new administrative assistant, Ms. Lorena Chavez, who joined us last February, and Ms. Edith Duran, our new administrative clerk, who joined us last summer.
We continue to facilitate opportunities for our students, including internships in Washington, D.C., the state of Texas, and local opportunities and abroad for various internships. Many of our students have also taken advantage of study abroad opportunities and traveled to conferences. Our students have also made student organizations active and successful. Pi Sigma Alpha had another wonderful student paper conference, including guest speaker, Dr. David Lektzian of Texas Tech University, who spoke about his research on economic sanctions. Our students were also very active across a variety of community engagement and service-learning activities that benefited the members of our community most in need and the Paso Del Norte Region more broadly.
This past fall, we very much enjoyed meeting with those of you who were able to make it to our annual Homecoming Tailgate celebration. We would like to increase the number of opportunities for alumni to interact with students in the coming years, and we hope that you will think about participating in various activities. We thank our alumni for all of your kind contributions and continued support, which helps us to better serve our students--we very much appreciate it!
Please feel free to visit our department website and our Facebook page for more information about us, including our MA program for those interested. Please also consider donating to the Political Science program to help us for the coming year. We look forward to seeing you at future events and wish you all the very best.
--Dr. Charles Boehmer, Chair of Political Science
"It is tremendous to get to this point in your life. I looked over and thought about my life because I was getting ready for Social Security and so forth... Luckily, I have always had interesting jobs that have taken me through my life and even as a fifteen year old I delivered newspapers in the morning. And, believe it or not, I'll just be real quick with this... several times I saw UFOs up in the sky! (laughs) I'm not lying to you! (more laughs, with a wink) ...but seriously my life has been pretty good with the jobs but this is the best job without any question whatsoever. And it is the best job because of you--you are the ones that made this thing worth it. I've got like thirty some years of ties with the university since i got here in 1979 as a graduate student and it is the people who have made this so wonderful and that's you. And it is going to be that way and I guess we will all move on and it will still be a wonderful institution. And for that let me thank you."
~Dr. Greg Rocha
The State of Texas House of Representatives passed Resolution H.R. No. 1454 to recognize the many contributions of our own Dr. Kathy Staudt during her continuing service for UTEP and the Paso Del Norte Region! See the details below:
- An undergraduate class on Political Geography at the Department for Political Science.
- An undergraduate/graduate class at the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies (cross listed with English). The topic of this class is: Borderlands in History and Modern Literature of East Central Europe.
- A graduate class in European History at the Department of History. This course is about forced migration in Twentieth-Century Europe.
Dr. Halicka is a member of the Association for Borderlands Studies and is attending its Annual Conference in April 2016 in Reno (Nevada). She will present a paper entitled “How to Write a History of the Borderland? East Central Europe in Transnational Perspective.”
STUDENT ACTIVITIES: SHINING STARS
This year we are profiling our 2015-2016 Komarnicki Scholarship recipients so everyone can get to know them a little better (recipient profiles for those who responded are shown in alpha order and a full list of this year's record number of recipients is provided at the very bottom):
Hobbies: Music and cooking new recipes
Inspiration: my inspiration is my mom, seeing her overcome every adversitythrown at her and continuing to be the string woman she is inspires me to be great, successful, and to never give up. I want to make her proud!
Major/Minor: Political Science/Asian Studies
One or two hobbies you’d like to share: Watching foreign TV shows from China,korea, Japan, Spain, etc.
Inspiration: In the future I want to travel the world and make a difference insociety, so all the good work that I do are little steps to reach my futuregoals. My parents inspire me to be a better person, and I hope that in thefuture I can be a daughter that they're proud of.
On December 4, Pi Sigma Alpha celebrated the initiation of the following members into the National Political Science Honor Society: Maritza Garcia, Arnulfo Luna, Adriana Aranda, Samuel F. Drusina, Amber M. Gomez, Matthew G. Marquez, Dustin C. Orr, Ricardo A. Romero, and Perla Rubio. In April 2015, Pi Sigma Alpha hosted a Student Paper Conference on Political Conflict, which was highly successful.
FACULTY ACTIVITIES: TRAIN KEEPS A-ROLLIN'
Dr. Charles Boehmer served as Chairperson of the Department of Political Science and in this role helped reform the curriculum, advised students, and completed other tasks. He continues to work on research on international organizations, and other topics such as terrorism. And last but not least, he continued as co-advisor of the Global Relations Organization.
Dr. Todd Curry Since joining the UTEP Political Science Faculty, Dr. Curry has published an article in the Justice Systems Journal, and has a forthcoming article that will appear in The Journal of Politics, considered one of the top journals in Political Science. Furthermore, Dr. Curry has taken leading role in helping to facilitate student research at both the graduate and undergraduate level. He currently has a paper under – review that is co-authored with graduate student Ricardo Romero, and is mentoring three different undergraduate research projects.
Dr. Gaspare M. Genna published two co-authored books: Efectos Regionales Del Libre Comercio: El Caso Del Noreste De México (Regional Effects of Free Trade: the Case of Northeast Mexico) and Regional Integration and Democratic Conditionality: How Democracy Clauses Help Democratic Consolidation and Deepening. He accepted an invitation to present co-authored work at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) and had working papers publish by the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and the Miami-Florida European Union Center of Excellence. He was also selected as a lead faulty mentor for UTEP’s Mentoring Advising Partnerships and aided in the development for UTEP’s new Quality Enhancement Plan. The QEP is the cornerstone of UTEP’s accreditation for the next ten years.
Dr. Taeko Hiroi published a book, with Dr. Genna, “Regional Integration and Democratic Conditionality: How Democracy Clauses Help Democratic Consolidation and Deepening” (Routledge), a co-authored article, titled “Policy Change and Coups: The Role of Income Inequality and Asset Specificity” in International Political Science Review, and another co-authored article, “Obstrucción y Proceso Decisorio en la Cámara de los Diputados: Brasil 1991 a 2010” in América Latina Hoy, Revista de Ciencias Sociales. With Dr. Genna, Dr. Hiroi also published an article, “Do Democracy Clauses Matter? The Effects of Regional Integration Associations on Political Stability and Democratic Consolidation” in the prestigious EUI Working Paper Series, published by the European University Institute, Italy. In addition, she presented various papers at both national and international conferences and gave two invited talks. Dr. Hiroi continues to serve as Director of Graduate Studies and Faculty Advisor for Pi Sigma Alpha. She successfully completed accreditation reports for the Political Science Graduate Program and oversaw Pi Sigma Alpha’sStudent Paper Conference on Conflict held in April 2015.
Dr. Greg Schmidt presented papers at conferences in Lima, Peru and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, while continuing work on a co-authored book on gender quotas in South America. He taught 13 courses, served as an undergraduate advisor, received a grant, and participated on various committees.
Dr. Cigdem Sirin published a co-authored refereed journal article in International Studies Quarterly. She also had two additional manuscripts accepted for publication—one is forthcoming in Presidential Studies Quarterly and the other one will appear in the Journal of Politics. In her teaching, she received the UTEP Library’s Information Literacy Course Enhancement Grant ($3,000) and was also the recipient of CETaL’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Proposal Award ($1,000). She also continued taking part in the Academic Technologies’ TeachTech program for which she received an award of $2,000. For departmental service, she served on the Executive Committee, Undergraduate Committee, as library liaison, and CETaL liaison. More broadly, she served as a member of the Liberal Arts Curriculum Committee and CETaL’s Council of Fellows, continued to serve in the Women’s Advisory Council to the President, and also served at the Faculty Senate’s Teaching Effectiveness and Development Committee.
Dr. Kathleen Staudt, the Endowed Professor of Western Hemispheric Trade Policy Studies, co-authored a book with Zulma Méndez, Courage, Resistance, and Women in Ciudad Juárez: Challenges to Militarization (Austin: University of Texas Press 2015). The book has been well-received and adopted in upper-division classes at several universities where talks have been given. The co-authors also appeared on KRWG’s Fronteras show. The book has been translated to Spanish for dissemination in the Americas. Kathy also was involved in exciting public engagement activities: a TEDxEl Paso talk in May, “My Border: Gateway to the World” and panelist at the Border Summit organized by Congressman Beto O’Rourke and President Diana Natalicio in August. In March, Kathy attended a border studies conference in Northeastern India and New Delhi where she met new colleagues and scholars from the region. She completed her term on the Board for the Association of Borderlands Studies.
Dr. José Villalobos published a co-authored refereed book entitled Czars in the White House: The Rise of Policy Czars as Presidential Management Tools(University of Michigan Press, 2015). In addition, he also published two entries for a PA/PP encyclopedia volume (Taylor & Francis) co-authored with three graduate students (one entry entitled “Presidential Policymaking: Transaction Costs” with Richie Romero and another entitled “White House Office: Staff Secretary” with Manuel Gutierrez and Joshua Acevedo). He also had two forthcoming articles accepted for publication at the Journal of Politics and Presidential Studies Quarterly. He continued serving as Provost's Faculty Fellow-in-Residence in the Center for Civic Engagement at UTEP, Fellow for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and member of the Community Engagement Council of the Provost's Office.