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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?My first position was as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Georgia State University in Atlanta. I was on the faculty there from 1982 to 1985.
What brought you to LSU?I was asked to apply for a vacant position at LSU in December 1984. I thought that it looked like a good opportunity. My wife and I came to LSU thinking that we would stay for a five-year adventure and move on, but we found that we really liked both LSU and Baton Rouge and decided to stay.
What is your research interest?I study American politics, broadly defined. Currently I am working on specific projects relating to 1) how the American public thinks about immigration; 2) growth in the size of the public sector in the American states; and 3) the political determinants and effects of income inequality in American society.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?I am motivated primarily by the desire to be a part of a good, nationally visible political science department. My main goal is to contribute to the quality and national visibility of political science at LSU.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?The beautiful campus, the wonderful campus culture and, of course, LSU sports, especially LSU football and baseball.
What are your major accomplishments?My major life accomplishment is my family — being happily married to my wife of almost 30 years, raising a daughter who is graduating from college and twin 18-year-old sons who start at LSU in the fall. Professionally, I have been an active scholar and teacher, a former president of the Southern Political Science Association and the LSU Distinguished Research Master. But one of the things that gives me the greatest sense of professional accomplishment are my activities as a mentor and research collaborator with graduate and undergraduate students. I believe firmly in the integration of research and teaching, and as a result I have published 26 scholarly papers and written more than 50 conference papers with students. There are two dozen or so former graduate and undergraduate students who I have mentored who are now faculty members at colleges and universities across the country, and there is now a small network of former Garand students in the political science profession. I greatly enjoy meeting the undergraduate and graduate students who are being mentored by my former students and watch this third generation of students interact at professional conferences with my current undergraduate and graduate students. My mentoring activities constitute one of the most rewarding aspects of being a faculty member.