Dr. José D. Villalobos
His research examines U.S. institutional leadership/management, public opinion and behavior dynamics, and policy making in the areas of the American presidency, race/ethnicity, and immigration. His journal publications include articles in: The 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. 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). He 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. He also recently published a piece that looks at contemporary Latinx voting behavior and trends in U.S. presidential elections (ABC-CLIO 2022).
As part of 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 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 theory 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 matters for public opinion about immigration, humanitarian intervention, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, environmental disaster relief, terrorism, welfare, Brexit, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In all, they find 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, has been reviewed in Political Science Quartely, and is a recipient of the 2022 APSA Best Book Award, the 2022 David O. Sears Best Book on Mass Politics Award (ISPP), the 2022 Robert E. Lane Best Book in Policial Psychology Award (APSA), and the 2022 Best Book in Experimental Research Award (APSA). Dr. Villalobos has also published a chapter 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 engagement, there is also a new co-authored chapter that applies Villalobos et al.'s novel, dual emotional-logical Empathic Global Citizenship framework for curricular innovation in community-engaged learning (Springer 2022).
Dr. Villalobos currently serves as a member of the Dean's Community Engagement & Leadership (CEL) Task Force and Program, member of the Liberal Arts Community Engagement (LACE) Initative, and member of the Political Science and Public Administration Undergraduate Committee. He is also serving as member for the 2023 Best Dissertation Award Selection Committee for the Experimental Research section of APSA as well as member for the 2023 Best Book Award Selection Committee for the Political Psychology section of APSA. He also previously served as Chair of the Dean's CEL Program and Task Force and member of the Distinguished Teaching Award Selection Committee for the American Political Science Association (APSA). 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, 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.
Department of Political Science and Public Administration
Benedict Hall 306
Phone: (915) 747-7978