José D. Villalobos, Ph.D.
Dr. José D. Villalobos is Associate Professor of Political Science and a UTEP Distinguished Teaching Professor. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and his doctoral degree from Texas A&M University. He is a recipient of the University of Texas System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award, UTEP's Most Distinguished Faculty Member Award for commitment to teaching excellence, and, most recently, a UT System Curricular Innovation Grant. He is also an Inaugural Member of UTEP's Academy of Distinguished Teachers and has served as the Provost’s Faculty Fellow-in-Residence for UTEP's Center for Community Engagement.
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 recent 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 most current research agenda, Dr. Villalobos and his co-authors 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) vis-à-vis a litany of large-N representative survey waves 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 also included as part of the Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology series.
Dr. Villalobos currently serves as Chair of the Dean's Community Engagement & Leadership (CEL) Task Force and Program. He is also serving and a Faculty Senator and continuing as the Director of Student Enhancement and External Relations for Political Science. Dr. Villalobos also recently served as a member of the Distinguished Teaching Award Committee for the American Political Science Association (APSA). Among his numerous community engagement activities, he has served as a volunteer with Trinity-First Day School and Annunciation House in helping to provide meals for immigrant asylum seekers. He has also served as a faculty liaison with UTEP's Center for Community Engagement and the Border Network for Human Rights for promoting voter awareness and voter registration in El Paso (over 14,500 voters registered to date). Dr. Villalobos has also recently served as member of the College of Liberal Arts UTROTA selection committee, member of the College of Liberal Arts selection committee for the Outstanding Thesis Award, member of UTEP's Outstanding Project Award Committee, and member for the Committee for the President's Meritorious Service Awards. His interviews with media outlets have included UTEP's KTEP Radio, NPR, 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, and UTEP's Prospector, among others.