Arkansas State University


Tom Moore
Sara McNeil

(870) 972-3056
fax (870) 972-3069

More information:

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Campus Calendar
Public activities at ASU

Campus News
Faculty and Staff

About ASU
Overview, history
and more

ASU political science faculty, graduate students, attend, present at annual meeting

Feb. 29, 2008 -
- Dr. William P. McLean, assistant professor of public administration, and Dr. Patrick Stewart, associate professor of public administration and director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program in Arkansas State University’s Department of Political Science, recently attended the 79th annual Southern Political Science Association (SPSA) meeting in New Orleans, La. Both co-authored papers with ASU graduate students, and Dr. McLean also sat on a roundtable discussion, “Public Opinion and Small University-Based Survey Research Centers,” sponsored by the Public Opinion Section of the SPSA. In addition, Dr. McLean served as a discussant on the panel “Politics, Wages, and Turnover in Staffing the Public Services,” sponsored by the Public Administration section of the SPSA.

Ryan Robeson, a graduate student in the MPA program at Arkansas State University, presented two research papers at the SPSA meeting. The first paper he presented, “Gender Stereotypes and Desirable Management Characteristics:  A Look at the Public Sector,” was co-authored with Dr. William McLean and Dr. Kevin Unter, assistant professor of political science at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, discussed perceived gender stereotypes in MPA students. The data was collected by surveying MPA students at Arkansas State University. As the study continues, the survey will be given to students in various MPA programs across the country. 

Robeson’s second paper, “Debatable Humor: The Use of Political Humor by Presidential Candidates during the Early 2008 Presidential Primary Debates,” co-authored by Dr. Patrick Stewart, discussed various factors surrounding the 2008 presidential primary season. These factors include the use of humor throughout the debates, non-verbal factors relating to humor, the target of humor in relation to political party, speaking time per candidate in the debates, financial data, and media attention based on the perceived tier (front-runner/second tier) of each candidate. The data was collected by examining the first six presidential primary debates (three republican, three democratic) and various other factors such as Federal Election Commission financial data and media reports discussing candidate tier rankings. The study will continue by examining four additional debates which took place after primary voting had opened.

Christy Polston, a graduate student in the MPA program, also presented a research paper/report at the SPSA meeting. Polston’s paper, “Evaluating Gaps in Services: A Divided United Way”; co-authored by Dr. William McLean and Dr. Patrick Stewart, discusses findings from a recent community needs assessment/program evaluation conducted within the Jonesboro area. This was a multiple case study involving fourteen agencies that are supported by the Northeast Arkansas United Way Foundation. Polston researched the best way to gather the needed data and conducted multiple site visits to each of these supported agencies. Dr. Patrick Stewart conducted the quantitative data analysis, while Dr. William McLean conducted the qualitative data analysis from the data Polston obtained.

For more information on ASU’s MPA program, contact Dr. Patrick Stewart in the Department of Political Science, at (870) 972-3048, or by e-mail at


 # # #


NewsPage:  |  Back to TOP  |