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Department of Social Sciences


Michael Smith

Michael Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Political Science

I’m Michael Smith, and I am passionate about connecting my teaching to politics in the “real world.” I teach classes on state and local politics, campaigns and elections, political philosophy, legislative politics, and nonprofit management. If you’ve taken a course from me, you know I love movies, the Socratic method, and coffee. My core insight is that politics affects everyday life. My core passion is rational thought. We must choose to act in our public lives, or choices will be made for us. I choose and act, and I want my students to do the same.

My book, State Voting Laws in America: Historical Statutes and Their Modern Implications is due out in December, 2014 from Palgrave/Macmillan. It is co-authored with two of my best friends: Chapman Rackaway of Ft. Hays State and Kevin Anderson of Eastern Illinois University.  In the book, we find that proof-of-citizenship laws, championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, do in fact lower voter turnout, particularly in poorer counties. I also published an article with former U.S. Senator Bob Graham during Summer, 2014 in PS: Political Science and Politics.  In that article, Sen. Graham and I describe the teaching of Graham's civic engagement curriculum in my classes at Emporia State.  I used to teach this in PO 100 and now teach it in PO 322.  I have seen students accomplish some remarkable and moving things in their communities, making them safer and move livable while insuring that local governments are responsive to citizens' concerns. The article details some of these stories.

I write regularly for the Insight Kansas group, publishing my monthly columns in the Wichita Eagle and other newspapers around the state and appearing about once per month on KAKE's This Week in Kansas to analyze Kansas politics.

I have leadership training from both the Kansas Leadership Center and the Gamaliel Foundation. I have also worked on several poltical campaigns, including a come-from-behind victory when Dr. Charles Wheeler, former Kansas City mayor, won a Missouri Senate seat in 2002.  This story is chronicled in my chapter "V is for Values" in the book Inside Campaigns, edited by James Bowers and published by Lynne Rienner Press.

I am married and have two stepsons.

My office phone number is 620-341-5566 and my e-mail address is msmith3@emporia.edu.

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