59th Annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) Conference in St. Louis

Twelve UCA students participated in the 59th annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) conference held in St. Louis, Missouri on February 20-23, 2019.  More than 350 students from some 30 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. participated in the four-day conference held at the Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet.  Wes Rogerson, an Officer for Global Health Advocacy at the United Nations Foundation (UNF) in Washington DC, gave the keynote speech during the opening session of the conference on Wednesday, February 20th.  The UCA delegations, which represented Afghanistan and Peru, consisted of Layla Alhajjaj, Skyler Austen, Carolyn Casey, Dylan Garrison, Nelson Graves, Mya Hall, Ganell Jones, Cagney Kilgroe, Abby Mattingly, Quade Reed, Riley Tribble, and Kenny Vo.  Dr. Mark Elrod and Dr. Mark Mullenbach, faculty members in the Department of Political Science, served as faculty advisors for the UCA delegations to the MMUN conference.

Pi Sigma Alpha: Alpha Delta Theta Chapter Hosted “Pizza & Politics” Series

The UCA Department of Political Science’s Alpha Delta Theta Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha (PSA), the national political science honor society, hosted the “Pizza & Politics” series during Spring Semester 2019.  PSA was founded in 1920 and includes more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Dr. Tom Williams, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), was the featured speaker for the first program in the “Pizza & Politics” series on Thursday, February 21, 2019.  The “Pizza & Politics” series was held in the Fire Place Room of McCastlain Hall.

All interested UCA faculty, staff, and students were invited to attend.  Political Science student Itzel Velazquez served as the President of UCA’s chapter of PSA in 2018-2019.  Dr. Heather Yates in the Department of Political Science served as the faculty advisor.

Alumni News: Jean Francois Adoupo

Jean Francois Adoupo, who graduated from UCA with a B.A. degree in Political Science and International Studies in August 2017, was recently hired to the staff of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in his home country of Cote d’Ivoire.  The IOM provides assistance to thousands of displaced individuals and migrant workers who have gone to Cote d’Ivoire in recent years from West African neighboring countries, as well as to Ivorian migrants who have recently chosen to return to Cote d’Ivoire after years of political instability.

According to the IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, “Côte d’Ivoire is one of the West African countries with the highest number of migrants on its territory, with 2.2 million people living and/or working in the country….[b]etween January 1st, 2017 and October 31st, 2018, IOM Côte d’Ivoire assisted 4,889 Ivorian migrants in their voluntary return to Côte d’Ivoire, including 1,284 women (26%).”

The IOM was originally established in 1951 to assist individuals displaced in Europe following the Second World War.  Nearly one million migrants in Europe were resettled with the assistance of the IOM during the 1950s.  Currently, there are more than 170 member-states of the IOM, which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.  The IOM has an annual budget of $1.8 billion and worldwide staff of 11,500 employees.

53rd Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference at UCA

The UCA Department of Political Science hosted the 53rd Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) conference at the University of Central Arkansas on November 16-17, 2018.  Some 560 delegates from 30 high schools in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas participated in the conference.  Spencer Burton served as Secretary-General, and Willis Arnold served as Deputy Secretary-General of the conference.  Dr. Mark Elrod, Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, served as AMUN Conference Coordinator.  Dr. Mark Mullenbach, Associate Professor of Political Science, served as AMUN Faculty Advisor Liaison.

During the opening session held in Ida Waldran Auditorium in Main Hall on Friday, November 16th, Dr. Tom Williams, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, gave the welcoming address to the assembled delegates.  In addition, four students spoke to the assembled delegates, including Drew Janes (United Kingdom) of Pope John Paul II High School, Landon Perdue (Equatorial Guinea) of Brookland High School, Genrietta Churbanova (Russian Federation) of Pulaski Academy, Seylor Cluck (France) of Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville, and Madi Bagsby (Morocco) of Pope John Paul II High School.  The delegation representing France (Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville)  was presented the Outstanding Delegation award during the closing session on Saturday, November 17th.  The delegations representing the Russian Federation (Pulaski Academy) and the United Kingdom (Pope John Paul II High School) were presented the Outstanding Delegation Runner-Up awards during the closing session.

Department of Political Science hosted the 8th Annual ACMUN conference

The Department of Political Science and the UCA Model United Nations (MUN) student organization hosted the 8th annual Arkansas Collegiate Model United Nations (ACMUN) conference at UCA on Friday, November 2, 2018.  Nearly 100 college and university students from Arkansas State University-Beebe, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech University, Hendrix College, Harding University, Lyon College, Northeastern State University (Tahlequah, Oklahoma), Northwest Arkansas Community College-Bentonville, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and UCA participated in the conference, including simulations of the Security Council, Human Rights Council (HRC), Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).  UCA students represented the delegations of Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, France, Kazakhstan, Panama, Peru, South Africa, and Sweden.  Dr. Mark Elrod and Dr. Mark Mullenbach served as faculty advisors for the UCA delegations participating in the conference.

Outstanding Delegations:
Security Council – Cote d’Ivoire (Hendrix College)
Economic & Social Council – Australia (Harding University) and Nigeria (Hendrix College)
Human Rights Council – Senegal (Hendrix College)
UN Environment Programme – Senegal (Hendrix College)

Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mentions:
Security Council – France (UCA), Kuwait (UA-Little Rock), Netherlands (NSU), Russian Federation (ATU), United Kingdom (ASU-Jonesboro)
Economic & Social Council – Democratic Republic of Congo (Hendrix College), France (UCA), Republic of Korea (Lyon College), Rwanda (ASU-Jonesboro), Sweden (UCA), and United Kingdom (ASU-Jonesboro)
Human Rights Council – Cote d’Ivoire (Hendrix College), Democratic Republic of Congo (Hendrix College), Ethiopia (UCA), Nigeria (Hendrix College), Philippines (ATU), and United Arab Emirates (UA-Little Rock)
UN Environment Programme – Australia (Harding University), Democratic Republic of Congo (Hendrix College), Kuwait (UA-Little Rock), Nigeria (Hendrix College), Peru (UCA), Russian Federation (ATU), and Saudi Arabia (UA-Little Rock)

Best Overall Delegation:
Nigeria – Hendrix College

Best Overall Delegations-Honorable Mentions:
Australia – Harding University
Cote d’Ivoire – Hendrix College
Democratic Republic of Congo – Hendrix College
France – University of Central Arkansas
Guatemala – Arkansas State University-Beebe
Kuwait – University of Arkansas-Little Rock
Russian Federation – Arkansas Tech University
Senegal – Hendrix College
Tunisia – University of Arkansas-Little Rock
United Kingdom – Arkansas State University-Jonesboro


Department of Political Science hosted 2nd Model UN Summer Camp at UCA

The Department of Political Science hosted the 2nd annual “Arkansas and the World: Model United Nations Summer Camp” at the University of Central Arkansas on July 15-20, 2018.  More than 30 Arkansas high school students participated in a unique, interactive learning experience designed to enhance their understanding of international relations, diplomacy, and international organizations in the 21st century.  The students participated in workshops on international relations, the fundamentals of Model United Nations, the historical roots of the United Nations, and the UN’s role in international affairs.  The students also represented assigned countries in a simulation of the UN General Assembly, including several committee and plenary sessions held throughout the week.  The students also competed in a Global Trivia Competition held each night of the summer camp.

The summer camp was funded by a grant awarded to Dr. Mark Mullenbach, Associate Professor of Political Science, by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE).  Dr. Mullenbach, who served as the camp director, was assisted by two instructors, Dmitriy Nurullayev, a doctoral student of Political Science at Louisiana State University, and Stephanie Gray, who recently graduated with a BA degree in International Studies from UCA.  Eight undergraduate students from UCA and LSU, including Spencer Burton, Caroline Casey, Quade Reed, Nelson Graves, Amber DiPersia, Abby Mattingly, Rachel Campbell, and Shaya Khorsandi, served on the summer camp staff as resident assistants.  Two recently-graduated high school students who participated in last year’s Model UN Summer Camp, Jayden Moody and Nathan James, also served on the staff of the summer camp.

Guest speakers during the week-long summer camp included Governor Asa Hutchinson; Cindy Sellers Roach, Community Development Management at Heifer International in Little Rock; Warwick Sabin, Senior Director of U.S. Programs at Winrock International in Little Rock; and Honorable Rodrigo Morales Salazar, Director of the Protection & Legal Affairs Department at the Consulate of Mexico in Little Rock.

Department of Political Science “Outstanding Students” (2017-2018)

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Academic Honors Convocation was held in McCastlain Hall on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Dr. Peter Mehl, Interim Dean of the CLA, welcomed faculty, students, and family members attending the convocation. Dr. Michael Hargis, Interim UCA Provost and Dean of the College of Business, gave opening remarks in which he congratulated the students chosen for the awards presented by the departments of English; History; Languages, Linguistics, Literatures, & Cultures; Philosophy & Religion; Political Science; and Sociology, Criminology, & Anthropology.

Dr. Clay Arnold, Chair of the Department of Political Science, announced the winners of the department’s annual awards:

Outstanding Student in Political Science:  Keely Smith

Outstanding Student in Public Administration:  Aaron Newell and Chad Jones

Outstanding Students in International Studies:  Sydney McConnell and Alexis Bibbs


2018 Pi Sigma Alpha Induction Ceremony

The 2018 Induction Ceremony for the UCA Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national Political Science Honors Society,  was held in the Fireplace Room in McCastlain Hall on Wednesday, April 25, 2018.  Dr. Heather Yates, Assistant Professor in the UCA Department of Political Science, served as Faculty Adviser for the UCA Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, and Danaej Brooks served as President of the UCA Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha in 2017-2018.  Dr. Peter Mehl, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UCA, welcomed the students and guests to the induction ceremony.  Dr. Clay Arnold, Chairperson of the UCA Department of Political Science, presided over the induction ceremony.

Twenty-one political science students were formally inducted during the ceremony, including Aaron Anderson, Carolyn Casey, Joshua Eddinger-Lucero, Gregory Eichelberger, Emily Evans, Jesi Feld, Caleb Gibby, Corban Gotcher, Evan Hamling, Bethany Hays, Kylee Horst, Chad Jones, Stephen Kelley, Cagney Kilgroe, Hawa Nouhou Abarchi, Austin Powell, Raegan Sharp. Keely Smith, Alexandra Taylor, Jacob Thomas, and Itzel Velazquez.  The Chairman of the UCA Department of Political Science, Dr. Clay Arnold, also presented the Robin Gifford with the UCA Department of Political Science’s 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award.  Mrs. Gifford has served in a variety of governmental administrative positions in Arkansas since graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration in 2005.  She is currently serving as a Program Administrator for the Arkansas State Police.

International Studies Club Hosted 2018 Spring Cultural Event

The International Studies Club at UCA hosted the 7th annual Spring Cultural Event in the Student Center on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.  The country theme of this year’s cultural event was the Kingdom of Thailand.  Dr. Gizachew Tiruneh, Associate Professor of Political Science at UCA and the I.S. Club faculty adviser, welcomed the faculty members, staff. and students who participated in the event, which included videos of Thai dancing and food.  Matthew Dendy, the club’s president in 2017-2018, did a presentation on culture, economy, geography, and politics of Thailand.

45th Annual Arkansas Political Science Association (ArkPSA) Meeting

The 45th annual meeting of the Arkansas Political Science Association (ArkPSA) was held on the campus of Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro, Arkansas on March 2-3, 2018.  Dr. Carol Strong of the University of Arkansas-Monticello served as President (2017-2018).  Dr. Christopher Housenick of Arkansas Tech University served as Vice-President (2017-2018).  Dr. Michael Rogers of Arkansas Tech University served as Secretary-Treasurer (2017-2018).  Dr. Matt Evans of Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) served as Secretary (2017-2018).  Dr. Hans Hacker of ASA served as Program Chair for the 2018 annual meeting.  Dr. Ronald Keith Gaddie, Professor of Political Science at the University at Oklahoma, gave the keynote address following the Friday evening dinner on March 2nd.  Congressman Rick Crawford, 1st Congressional District of Arkansas, spoke following the Saturday noon luncheon on March 3rd.

Several UCA Department of Political Science faculty members participated on one or more panels during the annual meeting, including Dr. Tom McInnis, who served as Moderator of the American Politics Roundtable, “The U.S. Federal Courts in Review,”; Dr. Clay Arnold and Dr. Mary Beth Sullivan, who were panelists on the Political Theory Roundtable, “Applying Insight from Vaclav Havel’s ‘Power of the Powerless’ to Current Trends in Minority Politics,”; Dr. Heather Yates, who presented the paper, “An Analysis of Voters’ Emotional Responses and Attribution in the Highly Negative Presidential Campaigns of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,”; Dr. Clay Arnold, who served as chair/discussant for the Public Administration Panel, “Administrative Law, Language, and Politics,”; and Dr. Clay Arnold, who served as chair/discussant of the American Politics Panel, “Citizenship & Civic Literacy in Arkansas”.