The Political Science Program, which had been located in the Department of History, became an independent department at State College of Arkansas (now the University of Central Arkansas) in 1971. Dr. Robert M. McChesney was chosen as the department’s first chairperson. The department was located in Main Hall on the campus of UCA. The Political Science Program included a BA and BS in Political Science. The faculty in the department included Dr. Donald E. Whistler and Professor Simms McClintock. Dr. Whistler taught primarily in the areas of Political Theory and American Government & Politics, including the American Congress. Professor McClintock, who taught in the area of International Relations, earned a BA degree from Hendrix College in 1951 and a MA degree from Columbia University in 1953. In 1966, Professor McClintock founded and served as Coordinator of the Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) program in the Department of Political Science. In 1976, Dr. McChesney was appointed as Dean of the UCA College of Sciences and Humanities, and Dr. Charles D. Dunn was hired as Chairperson of the Department of Political Science. The Public Administration Program (BS degree), directed by Dr. Dunn, was established within the Department of Political Science in 1976. In 1978, Professor McClintock was elected as a delegate representing Faulkner County to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention held in Little Rock in 1979-1980.
Recipients of President Silas Snowe’s Achievement Award for “greatest
contributions to SCA’s growth and programs” in 1972-1973 are
Professor Simms McClintock and Mrs. Leslie P. “Maxine” Crafton.
In 1982, Dr. Dunn was appointed to the position of Director of Governmental Affairs at UCA, and Dr. Michael A. Kelley was appointed as Chair of the Department of Political Science. In that same year, Dr. R. Lawson Veasey was appointed as Director of the Public Administration Program. In August 1982, Dr. Gary Wekkin joined the faculty of the department. Dr. Wekkin has taught primarily in the area of American Government & Politics, including the American Presidency.
In August 1991, Dr. Tom N. McInnis joined the faculty of the department. Dr. McInnis earned his M.A. in Political Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1986, and previously taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia (1985-1988), University of Hawaii-Hilo (1988), and Wells College in Aurora, NY (1989-1991). At UCA, Dr. McInnis has taught primarily in the area of American Government & Politics, including Civil Liberties and Constitutional Law.
In August 1993, Dr. John Passe-Smith joined the faculty of the department. Dr. Passe-Smith has taught primarily in the area of Comparative Politics. In 1997, the UCA Board of Trustees approved a resolution honoring retired Professor McClintock for his 31 years of service at UCA, including founding and coordinating the AMUN program.
In 2001, Dr. Wekkin was chosen as one of two “Outstanding Faculty Members” in the College of Liberal Arts. That same year, Dr. Wekkin’s co-authored book Partisan Linkages in Southern Politics: Elites, Identifiers, and Voters was selected for the V. O. Key, Jr. Award for “Best Book on Southern Politics” from the Southern Political Science Association. Dr. Wekkin was also presented the award for “Outstanding Teaching in Political Science” from the American Political Science Association in 2001. Dr. McInnis’ book The Christian Burial Case: An Introduction to Criminal and Judicial Procedure was published by Praeger Publishers in 2001.
In the Summer of 2001, Dr. Veasey departed to become Chair of the Department of Political Science at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. Also that summer, Dr. Kelly departed to become Chair of the Department of Political Science at Pittsburgh State University in Kansas. Two new faculty members, Dr. Kim U. Hoffman and Dr. Mark J. Mullenbach, joined the department in the summer of 2001. Dr. Kim U. Hoffman joined the faculty as an Instructor of Political Science with a joint appointment with the Department of Geography/Political Science and the Graduate School for Management, Leadership, and Administration in August 2001. Dr. Hoffman earned her Masters in Public Administration (M.P.A.) from the University of North Texas in August 1991 and her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma in August 2003. Dr. Mullenbach earned his M.S. in Political Science from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois in December 1989 and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona in December 2001. At UCA, Dr. Mullenbach has mainly taught courses in the fields of International Relations and Comparative Politics. Dr. Mullenbach has also served as Coordinator of the AMUN since 2001. In 2002, Dr. Wekkin was honored with the university’s “Research Scholar of the Year” Award. Following the departure of Dr. Ronald Hy in June 2003, Dr. Donald Whistler served as Interim Chair of the department from July 2003 to April 2004. Dr. Gary Wekkin served as Interim Chair of the department from May 2004 to June 2005. Dr. Clay Arnold took over as permanent Chair of the department on July 1, 2005.
In January 2007, the International Studies Program (BA degree) was established within the Department of Political Science, with Dr. Passe-Smith serving as the program’s first director. In January 2011, Dr. Mullenbach took over as Director of the International Studies Program.