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”.


Faculty News: Dr. Gizachew Tiruneh

Dr. Gizachew Tiruneh, an Associate Professor in the UCA Department of Political Science, was recognized for his 2015 book, The Rise and Fall of the Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia: Is the Kebra Negast a Time-Bound Document?  At a special ceremony held in Washington DC on March 3, 2018, Dr. Tiruneh was made an Officer of the Order of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia, which is one of the oldest orders of chivalry of the 3000-year old Solomonic Dynasty.  Dr. Tiruneh was formally invested with the Order by His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie, the President of the Crown Council.  Prince Ermias is a grandson of the former  Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, who was deposed in a military coup in 1974.  According to Prince Ermias, “the great contributions made to Ethiopia and Africa by devoted individuals at the University of Central Arkansas has been remarkable, and the award to Dr. Tiruneh starts to recognize the debt which Ethiopia happily owes to its expatriates, and also to those non-Ethiopians in American academia who have helped preserve our culture and civilization.”

58th Annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) Conference in St. Louis

Six UCA students and Dr. Mark Elrod in the Department of Political Science recently participated in the 58th annual Midwest Model United Nations (MMUN) conference in St. Louis, Missouri on February 21-24, 2018.  More than 300 students from 33 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. represented more than 100 countries during the four-day conference held at the Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet.  The UCA delegation representing Ethiopia included Pauline Audras, Abby Mattingly, Elsa Mattson, Quade Reed, Ellen McKinnie, and Carolyn Casey.  Carolyn Casey, a junior double-majoring in International Studies and Political Science, won the Outstanding Delegate-Honorable Mention and Delegate Choice awards in the Security Council.

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 2018.  PSA was founded in 1920 and includes more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The “Pizza & Politics” series featured UCA administrators and faculty, as well as local public officials, who spoke on a variety of topics related to political science, including state and local government & politics.  The featured speakers included UCA President Houston Davis, whose undergraduate degree was in political science at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis); Dr. Donna Lampkin Stephens of the UCA School of Communication; Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry; and UCA Associate Vice President Shelley Mehl.

The “Pizza & Politics” series was held in the Fire Place Room of McCastlain Hall during x-period on January 30th, February 13th, March 15th, and April 17th.  All interested UCA faculty, staff, and students were invited to attend.  Political Science student Denaej Brooks served as the President of UCA’s chapter of PSA in 2017-2018.  Dr. Heather Yates in the Department of Political Science served as the faculty advisor.


52nd Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference at UCA

The UCA Department of Political Science sponsored the 52nd Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) conference at the University of Central Arkansas on November 17-18, 2017.  More than 500 delegates from 25 high schools in Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee participated in the conference.  Carolyn Casey served as Secretary-General, and Alex Battaglia served as Deputy Secretary-General of the conference.  Dr. Mark Mullenbach, Associate Professor of Political Science, served as AMUN Coordinator, and Stephanie Gray served as Assistant AMUN Coordinator.  Dr. Marl Elrod, Instructor in the Department of Political Science, served as Coordinator of the Model International Court of Justice (MICJ), and Kayla Close served as Deputy Secretary-General and Coordinator of the Novice General Assembly Committees.  During the opening session held in Ida Waldran Auditorium in Main Hall on Friday, November 17th, three students addressed the assembled delegates, including Mohammed Abuelem (France) of Pulaski Academy, Ana Estrada (Brazil) of Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville, and Anushka Yadava (Egypt) of Little Rock Central High School.  The delegation representing France (Pulaski Academy) was presented the Outstanding Delegation award during the closing session on Saturday, November 19th.  The delegations representing Brazil (Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville) and Sweden (Haas Hall Academy-Fayetteville) were presented the Outstanding Delegation Runner-Up awards during the closing session.

Department of Political Science hosted the 7th Annual ACMUN conference

The Department of Political Science and the UCA Model United Nations (MUN) student organization hosted the 7th annual Arkansas Collegiate Model United Nations (ACMUN) conference at UCA on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Some 75 college and university students from Hendrix College, Harding University, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas State University-Joneboro, Arkansas Tech University, and UCA participated in the conference, including simulations of the Security Council, Human Rights Council (HRC), Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC), and the Executive Committee of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  U.S. Foreign Service Officer Kali Jones, Diplomat-in-Residence at Tulane University, spoke during the opening session of the conference in the UCA Student Center.  The ACMUN conference was coordinated by Stephanie Gray, a UCA senior majoring in International Studies and minoring in French and Religious Studies.  Dr. Mark Mullenbach served as the faculty advisor for the UCA delegations participating in the conference.

Outstanding Delegation:
Security Council
– Russian Federation (Hendrix College)
Economic & Social Council – India (Hendrix College)
Human Rights Council – Nigeria (Hendrix College)
Executive Committee of the UNHCR – India (Hendrix College)

Outstanding Delegation-Honorable Mentions:
Security Council – Italy (Arkansas State University-Jonesboro), United States (UCA), and Japan (UCA).
Economic & Social Council – Nigeria (Hendrix College), Lebanon (UA-Little Rock), United Arab Emirates (UCA), and Iraq (UA-Little Rock).
Human Rights Council – United Arab Emirates (UCA), India (Hendrix College), Iraq (UA-Little Rock), and Qatar (UA-Litle Rock).
Executive Committee of the UNHCR – Nigeria (Hendrix College), Russian Federation (Hendrix College), Qatar (UA-Little Rock), and Germany (Harding University).

Best Overall Delegation:
India – Hendrix College

Best Overall Delegation-Honorable Mentions:
Russian Federation – Hendrix College
Nigeria – Hendrix College
Qatar – University of Arkansas-Little Rock
Germany – Harding University