The KPSA celebrated its 50th Anniversary with an annual two day conference at Western Kentucky University March 4-5. Political Science faculty, undergraduate and graduate students from across the state and region presented original research that reflected the theme of the conference, "50 Years of Passion, Power and Politics". Sessions included papers on American political theory, international affairs, American politics and European political thought.
Panels and roundtable discussions examined contemporary issues. WKU Political Science professors, Joel Turner and Scott Lasley (chair of the Warren County Republican Party), Ronnie Ellis (CNHI News Service) and Sherman Brown from the Kentucky State Democratic Party led a spirited discussion on the 2010 midterm elections and projections for upcoming campaigns. Bowling Green City Manager , Kevin DeFebbo and colleagues shared their experiences in a discussion of practical politics for the professional. Paul Markham, co-director of the WKU ICSR and Patrick Neal, Special Assistant in Secretary of State office introduced attendees to KACE (Kentucky Association for Civic Education) and the upcoming Civic Health Index. CPE Vice President, Daniel Hall, Vice President for Community Engagement at the University of Louisville and WKU professor Courtney Voorhees discussed community engagement within the academy.
The keynote speaker for the Friday night awards banquet was newly appointed Secretary of State Elaine Walker who discussed her plans for the coming months. Berea College student, Ahmad Shuja, was awarded the Abdul Rifai Award for Best Undergraduate Paper for his research paper, "Minority Secessionism in Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes". The David Hughes Award for Best faculty paper was presented to Morehead Professor Jonathan Pidluzny for his research, "The Social Requisites of Liberal Democracy and Alexis de Tocqueville's Analysis of Islam.
The WKU Department of Political Science salutes Professor Emeritus, Dr. Edward Kearny, for his selection as the 2011 Distinguished Political Scientist. This award is given to a political scientist whose contributions to the discipline and profession are regarded as outstanding and worthy of notice.
Dr. Edward Kearny, Professor of Political Science, had a distinguished career at Western Kentucky University for almost thirty years. During his productive career at WKU, Dr. Kearny distinguished himself as both an outstanding scholar and teacher of political science. His areas of expertise were American political thought and the American presidency. He wrote Mavericks in American Politics, The American Way (with Joann Crandall and Maryanne Datesman), Thurman Arnold: Social Critic, and he edited The World of the Policy Analyst and Dimensions of the Modern Presidency. He had numerous publications in well respected journals of political science. Moreover, he was an outstanding classroom teacher who made his classes come alive with his engaging teaching style. His lectures were well researched and very interesting. Students consistently gave him outstanding evaluations for decades.