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Election 2012 Expert Guide

University of Texas at Austin experts available to discuss 2012 Presidential Election.

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African American Issues

Eric McDaniel
Associate Professor, Department of Government
McDaniel’s research areas include religion and politics, African-American politics and organizational behavior. His work targets how and why African-American religious institutions choose to become involved in political matters. In addition, his work targets the role of religious institutions in shaping African-American political behavior.

Tasha Philpot
Associate Professor, Department of Government
Philpot specializes in African-American politics, public opinion and political behavior, political communication and political parties. Her research examines the consequences of using racial images in political communication. She is the author of “Inclusion or Illusion? The Politics and Process of Party Image Change.”

Children’s Views of Elections

Rebecca Bigler
Professor, Department of Psychology
Bigler’s research includes studying children’s knowledge and views of presidential elections, particularly their views of the roles of race and gender.

Congress and Interest Groups

Angela Evans
Clinical Professor of Public Policy Practice
With 30 years experience serving Congress, Evans has worked with Members of Congress and their staffs on all major legislative deliberations, assisting them as they confronted some of the most critical and complex policy problems facing the nation.  She is available to discuss how elections affect Congressional behavior and the inevitable shifts in leadership in the Executive Branch that occur when a new president comes into office.

Bryan Jones
J. J. “Jake” Pickle Regents Chair in Congressional Studies
Professor, Department of Government
Jones’ research interests center in the study of public policy processes, American governing institutions and the connection between human decision-making and organizational behavior.

Brian Roberts
Professor, Department of Government
Roberts specializes in American political institutions, interest groups and positive political economy, with a focus on politics and financial markets, corporate political participation and distributive politics.

Sean Theriault
Associate Professor, Department of Government
512-232-7279 and 832-721-3991
Theriault researches party polarization in the U.S. Congress and the differences between elected officials’ goals, ideas and attitudes and those of their constituencies. He examines the ethical considerations presented when the viewpoints of constituents and their representatives don’t connect. He is the author of “The Power of the People: Congressional Competition, Public Attention, and Voter Retribution.” Theriault is currently researching the effect of “Gingrich Senators” on the U.S. Congress.

Environment and Energy Policy

Josh Busby
Assistant Professor of Public Affairs
Busby’s research explores the politics of climate change and is the author of several studies on climate change, national security and energy policy. He is available to discuss national environmental and energy policies as well as foreign policy issues as they relate to those topics.

Varun Rai
Assistant Professor of Public Affairs
Rai is an expert on energy policy, environmental policy and technological change, with an emphasis on integrative and interdisciplinary research in engineering and policy. Rai is available to discuss national energy policy.

Economy and Job Growth Plans

Chris King
Director, Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources
King is a labor economist with 40 years of experience  conducting policy and program analysis. He has written widely on workforce, education and social policy. His available to discuss and analyze to discuss job growth plans and how various proposed policies could affect the jobless rates in America.


Cynthia Osborne
Associate Professor of Public Affairs
As director of the Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality, Osborne is an expert on education and social policy. She is available to discuss No Child Left Behind and other national education policies.

Foreign Policy

Frank Gavin
Director, The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law
An historian by training with a Ph.D. in Diplomatic History, Gavin is an expert on presidential policymaking and U.S. Foreign policy. Gavin is available to offer historical context for the current presidency and analysis of the foreign policies of current and former administrations.

Robert Hutchings
Dean, The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
A former Ambassador and a former Chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council in Washington, Hutchings can discuss international issues with far-reaching domestic implications, global security issues, and European politics. Hutchings can also discuss policies as they related to the Great Society programs.

Will Inboden
Assistant Professor of Public Affairs
An expert in national security and U.S. Foreign policy, Inboden has served on the National Security Council as a Senior Director for Strategic Planning. He is available to discuss American foreign policy in the Middle East and other regions.

Alan Kuperman
Associate Professor of Public Affairs
Kuperman is an expert on U.S. Foreign Policy, military intervention and nuclear proliferation.  He is available to discuss U.S. Military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, as well as ethnic conflicts around the world.

Jeremi Suri
Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs
Suri is an expert on US nation-building, modern international relations, contemporary foreign policy and protest and dissident movements. The author of “Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama,” Suri looks to America’s history to see both what it has to offer to failed states around the world and what the nation should avoid.

Peter Trubowitz
Professor, Department of Government
Trubowitz focuses on American grand strategy and on relations with China.

The Hispanic Vote/Latino Issues

Jason Casellas
Assistant Professor, Department of Government
Casellas examines Latino politics, including representation in Congress, and legislative, state and local politics.

David Leal
Associate Professor, Department of Government
Leal specializes in Latino politics, particularly public opinion and political behavior, state and local politics, and the U.S. Congress. He is the co-editor of “Latino Politics: Identity, Mobilization, and Representation” and the author of “Electing America’s Governors: The Politics of Executive Elections.”

Victoria M. Defrancesco Soto
Visiting Scholar, Department of Government
Soto specializes in campaigns and elections, political marketing, political psychology, immigration, race, ethnicity and gender.

Peter Ward
Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology
An expert in contemporary Mexican politics, Ward studies U.S.-Mexico relations and has published over 100 articles and book chapters on Mexico and Latin America. He is available to various policy issues associated with the U.S. – Mexico border.

Luis Zayas
Dean of School of Social Work
Zayas has conducted research on the lives of adolescent Latinas, who have the highest suicide rates among adolescents in the U.S., and on the deportation of children born in the United States of undocumented parents. He is available to speak on issues concerning young Hispanics and immigration policies.

International Relations

Catherine Weaver
Associate Professor of Public Affairs
Weaver is an expert on international relations and global affairs, with a special emphasis on international financial institutions. Weaver is available to discuss how the United States relates to international financial institutions like the World Bank.

Iraq and Afghanistan

Celeste Ward Gventer
Associate Director, The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law
Gventer is a former Senior Defense Analyst at the RAND Corporation and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability
Operations Capabilities in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She can discuss the end of the war in Iraq and next steps for Afghanistan.

Media Coverage and New Audiences

Natalie (Talia) Stroud
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies
Assistant Director, The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Stroud studies the media’s role in shaping people’s political attitudes and behaviors. Her book, “Niche News” (Oxford University Press, 2011) explores the causes, consequences and prevalence of partisan selective exposure, and the preference for like-minded political information.

Political Dissidence

Robert W. Jensen
Professor, School of Journalism
Jensen is an expert in media law, ethics and politics. He can also discuss progressive politics and political dissidence, U.S. antiwar activism and race issues. He is the author of several books and has also written for the popular media, including opinion and analytic pieces for papers around the country.

Politics, Campaigning and Advertising

Roderick Hart
Dean, College of Communication
Shivers Chair in Communication, Professor of Government
Founding Director, The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Hart is an expert in politics and the mass media, civic participation, political campaigns and political rhetoric. He is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is “Political Keywords: Using Language That Uses Us” (Oxford University Press, 2005). He is also the author of DICTION 6.0, a computer program designed to analyze language patterns.

Regina G. Lawrence
Jesse H. Jones Centennial Chair in Journalism, College of Communication
Director, The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Lawrence is an expert in media and politics. She has written numerous books and articles analyzing media coverage of high profile news events and policy issues. Her latest book is “Hillary Clinton’s Run for the White House: Media, Gender Strategy, and Campaign Politics” (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009, co-authored with Melody Rose).

James Pennebaker
Chair, Department of Psychology
Pennebaker has analyzed language in political speech to evaluate a candidate’s psychological state. The researchers found the words used in interviews provide insight into how a candidate thinks and relates to people. Watch him discuss his language analysis research in the Knowledge Matters video series.

Paul Stekler
Professor of Public Affairs and Department Chair of Radio-Television-Film
Stekler is a nationally recognized documentary filmmaker whose critically acclaimed works focus on state and national campaign politics and elections.  He is available to offer analysis of presidential campaign advertisements.

The Presidency

H.W. Brands
The Raymond Dickson, Alton C. Allen and Dillon Anderson Centennial Professor of History
Brands draws parallels between Franklin D. Roosevelt’s and Barack Obama’s economic recovery policies. He has discussed the lessons FDR’s presidency holds for the Obama administration with a number of media outlets, including NPR, CNN and PBS NewsHour. Brands is the author of more than 20 books on American history and culture, including “Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”
Bruce Buchanan
Professor, Department of Government
Buchanan specializes in presidential and American politics, American institutions, public policy and political behavior. His books include “The Presidential Experience,” “The Citizen’s Presidency,” “Electing a President” and “Presidential Campaign Quality.”

Bill Minutaglio
Clinical Professor, School of Journalism
Minutaglio is an expert in presidential politics, George W. Bush, the Bush family legacy, Texas politics and journalism. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Newsweek, Texas Monthly, Outside and many other publications. He has worked for The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News and is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including biographies of President George W. Bush, Molly Ivins and Alberto Gonzales.

Religion in Presidential Politics

Chad Seales
Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Interests include religion in the American South, religion and industry, religion and popular culture, theory and method in the study of religion, religion and migration.

Thomas A. Tweed
The Shive, Lindsay, and Gray Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Tweed specializes in religion in the Americas, Catholicism in America, Asian religions in the United States, Latino/a religion, method and theory in the study of religion, religion and transnationalism/geography.

Social Media and Politics

Homero Gil de Zúñiga
Assistant Professor, School of Journalism
Gil de Zuniga is an expert in digital and social media and politics. He researches the Internet and its effects on everyday life and political and civic engagement. He has published his work in numerous journals and is an editorial board member for the Journal of Information Technology and Politics.

Thomas J. Johnson
Amon G. Carter Jr. Centennial Professor, School of Journalism
Johnson researches elections and the role of the media including the Internet, social networking sites and blogs, as well as talk radio and television. He has authored or co-edited three books including “International Media Communication in a Global Age” (Routledge, 2009) and published extensively in journals.

Social Security and Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Jacqui Angel
Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology
Angel is an expert on healthcare policy, Medicaid, Medicare, with a special emphasis on aging and long-term care. She is available to discuss the aging baby boomer population and the ramifications of changing or not changing Medicare and Medicaid.

Diana DiNitto
Cullen Trust Centennial Professor in Alcohol Studies and Education, School of Social Work
DiNitto specializes in studying alcohol and drug abuse, and the intersection of social welfare, politics and public policy. She is available to talk about social welfare (public assistance and social insurance) programs such as food stamps, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, health care and their relationship to the fall elections.

Daniel Hamermesh
The Sue Killam Professor in The Foundations of Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Hamermesh examines social programs, particularly unemployment insurance. His other areas of research concentrate on time use, labor demand, academic labor markets and unusual applications of labor economics. He is widely quoted in the major print media on topics ranging from the auto industry bailout to unemployment rates to consumer spending.

Cossy Hough
Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Social Work
Hough has extensive experience with healthcare policy, Medicaid, Medicare, with a focus on disability issues for both children and adults. She is available to discuss proposed changes and potential impact of changes in public healthcare policy.

Surveys and Voter Behavior

Daron Shaw
Professor, Department of Government
An experienced survey research analyst and political strategist, Shaw serves on the editorial board for American Politics Research and on the national decision team for Fox News.

Texas Politics

Jim Henson
Director, Texas Politics Project; Lecturer, Department of Government
Henson directs the Texas Politics project and researches Texas and U.S. politics, and the political impact of the Internet.

Sherri Greenberg
Director, Center for Politics and Governance
A former Texas State Representative, Greenberg is an expert on the Texas State Government, elections and campaign politics, with a special emphasis on public finance and government transparency. She is available to discuss how the presidential election could affect Texas.

Michael Lauderdale
Clara Pope Willoughby Centennial Professor in Criminal Justice, School of Social Work
Lauderdale is an expert on public safety, particularly police and crime. He does comparative work between Texas governmental organizations and those in Mexico with concern to transparency and openness to the public. He is available to talk about law enforcement issues.

Women in Politics

Victoria Rodriguez
Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
Ashbel Smith Professor of Public Affairs
Rodriguez is an expert on women in politics and public policy and can discuss the participation of women in the political process. She is also an expert on governance and democratization in Latin America. Rodriguez is also available for Spanish language interviews.