José D. Villalobos, Ph.D.
His research examines U.S. institutional leadership/management, public opinion dynamics, and policy making in the areas of the U.S. presidency, race/ethnicity politics and identity, and immigration policy. His journal publications include articles in: Journal of Politics, Political Psychology, Political Research Quarterly, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Public Administration, American Behavioral Scientist, Administration & Society, International Journal of Public Administration, Review of Policy Research, and numerous other scholarly venues. Some of his work on the presidency includes an article that examines the role emotions play in presidential appeals for policy making (Presidential Studies Quarterly 2017) as well as a book chapter on presidential rhetoric and public policies in national security covering and comparing the Obama and Trump administrations (Routledge 2018). His research on the presidency has also applied public management theory to evaluate White House Chief of Staff influence (Public Administration 2014) and effectiveness in performance (Political Research Quarterly 2012, 2009). He is also co-author of the book Czars in the White House: The Rise of Policy Czars as Presidential Management Tools (University of Michigan Press 2015), which provides an in-depth analysis for better understanding the presidential staffing practice of appointing administrators—so-called policy czars—and charging them with directing the response to the nation’s most pressing crises.
For his current research agenda, Dr. Villalobos and his co-authors, Cigdem Sirin and Nicholas Valentino, have produced numerous scholarly articles and a book delving into their original Group Empathy Theory framework, which posits empathy felt by members of one racial/ethnic group can boost support for another (e.g., immigrant detainees and refugees), with major public policy implications, even when the racial/ethnic groups are in direct competition for rights, security, and resources (Journal of Politics 2016; American Behavioral Scientist 2016; Political Psychology 2017). The book project, entitled Seeing Us in Them: Social Divisions and the Politics of Group Empathy (Cambridge University Press 2021), details their theoretical framework and application of their Group Empathy Index (adopted by both the ANES and BES) via a litany of large-N representative surveys and experiments demonstrating that group empathy is a primary determinant of political opinions and actions across racial/ethnic groups even when other competing factors—including party identification, ideology, ethnocentrism, and social dominance orientation—are at play. The book is included as part of the Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology Series and is a recipient of the 2022 APSA Best Book Award (American Political Science Association) and the 2022 APSA Experimental Research Section Best Book Award (American Political Science Association). Dr. Villalobos has also recently published a co-authored book chaper with Cigdem Sirin that provides a wide-ranging overview of the study and significance of the role discrete emotions play in politics for a volume on political decision making (Oxford University Press 2021). In the area of the scholarship of teaching, there is also an upcoming co-authored book chapter that applies the "Empathic Global Citizenship" framework for curricular innovation in community-engaged learning (Springer, forthcoming).
Dr. Villalobos currently serves as Chair of the Dean's Community Engagement & Leadership (CEL) Program, member of the Liberal Arts Community Engagement (LACE) Initative, member of the Political Science Undergraduate Committee, and member of the Political Science Job Search Committee. He also recently served as a member of the Distinguished Teaching Award Committee for the American Political Science Association (APSA), UTEP Faculty Senator, and Director of Student Enhancement and External Relations (SEER) for Political Science. Among his numerous community engagement activities, Dr. Villalobos has served as a faculty liaison with UTEP's Center for Community Engagement for promoting nonpartisan voter awareness and voter registration in El Paso (over 15,000 voters registered to date), as well as with nonpartisan outreach efforts on vaccine awareness. He has also volunteered with Trinity-First Day School and Annunciation House in helping to provide meals for immigrant asylum seekers. His interviews with media outlets have included NPR, New York Times, NBC, Radio France, Deutschland Radio, CCTV, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Marfa Public Radio, El Paso Times, El Paso Matters, KFOX14 (El Paso), PBS (KCOS-TV, El Paso), Univisión, UTEP's KTEP Radio, and UTEP's Prospector, among others.