Department of Political Science
The University of Houston
447 Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall
Houston, TX 77204-3011
Tel: (713) 743-3890
Fax: (713) 743-3927

Job Candidates

Hire a University of Houston Ph.D.

Our graduate students have strong records of accomplishment and promise. Some of our recent graduates have accepted faculty positions at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, the University of Pittsburgh, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, and the University of Colorado-Boulder. We are excited to call your attention to students entering the academic job market in Fall 2012. For more information about any of our students, please refer to their web sites or contact Professor Jennifer Hayes Clark (, the Graduate Placement Coordinator.

American Politics

Bianca Easterly is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Politics with research in public policy and public law. Her dissertation is titled “Institutional Responsiveness in Subnational Policymaking: An Examination of Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Laws” and is chaired by Jennifer Clark. The dissertation takes a multi-branch approach by focusing on the ability of the ballot initiative process and judicial advisory opinions to affect indirectly legislative responsiveness and the electoral connection in judicial retention methods to link directly state appellate court judges to their constituents. The study focuses on the initial adoption and judicial review of sex offender registration and community notification laws during the 1990s. Ms. Easterly expects to finish the dissertation by April 2013. While at University of Houston, she has presented her research at the Southwestern Social Science, Southern, and Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meetings. She has also taught several American Government courses at Houston Community College. CV | Email

George Hawley earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of Houston. His dissertation, Causes and Consequences of the Geographic Partisan Sort in the United States, examined migration and the proliferation of politically uncompetitive geographic units in the United States. In it he demonstrated that many Americans consider local political context when making decisions regarding migration; he also established that Americans living in politically uncompetitive communities are more likely to exhibit signs of political extremism and strong party attachments. His other research interests include immigration, electoral realignments, and public opinion. His work has appeared in Social Science Quarterly and Party Politics. He has several additional papers currently under review. Website | Email

Alan Steinberg is a Ph.D. candidate in American Politics with minors in Political Methodology and Public Law. His dissertation research focuses on the effects of Web 2.0 social media on political participation, engagement and turnout. He has presented two conference papers based on the findings and expects to defend in early 2013. His other research interests include national security issues, space policy, and public opinion. His paper entitled "Space Policy Responsiveness: The Relationship Between Public Opinion and NASA Funding," was recently published at Space Policy, and he has three other papers currently under review. Alan is also currently leading a research group examining how Political Parties are making use of Facebook. Website | Email

Comparative Politics

Interested in the human intricacies which shape political institutions, Malak Chabkoun focused on comparative politics, democratization, and public law in her Ph.D. coursework. Her dissertation is titled “Popular Uprisings and Institution Building During the Arab Spring,” in which she argues that institutions were not the force which drove popular uprisings in Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Tunisia; rather, the popular uprisings created a window of opportunity which allowed human rights and free press organizations to make their way into a previously sealed-off political sphere. Using qualitative methods and some basic formal modeling, her studies contribute to the often understudied field of democratization in the Middle East. Her dissertation is expected to be complete by May 2013, as well as her Certificate of Teaching Excellence through the Graduate and Professional Studies Office at the University of Houston. She has taught both online and mini-term introductory courses. She also holds a Masters in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Email

Ching-Hsing Wang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Houston. His research interests include research methods, political behavior, public opinion and political institutions. He has published articles in such scholarly journals as Party Politics, Taiwanese Political Science Review and Taiwan Democracy Quarterly. His dissertation, Causes and Consequences of Trust in Asia, aims to investigate the origins of social and political trust and examine the effects of social and political trust on individual support for democracy and political behavior in Asian countries, which is expected to provide a better understanding of the causes and consequences of social and political trust in Asia so as to find whether there are any differences in the causes and consequences of social and political trust between Asian countries. CV | Email

Laila Sorurbakhsh received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Houston in May 2012, with specializations in Comparative Politics, American Politics and Quantitative Methods. Her dissertation, entitled “Feedback in the EU Advocacy System,” studies how institutional, environmental, and structural changes to the European Union have impacted interest group populations via their levels of competitiveness and survivability. Using two prominent theories in the interest group literature, niche theory and coalition theory, the dissertation demonstrates over time how changes to the European Union vis-à-vis its institutional structure and legislative outcomes lead to a highly collusive environment that results in a significant increase in the number of groups relative to their interest areas. Using a time series analysis, a mixed-level Poisson regression, a survival model, and a case study, the dissertation rigorously tests each theory at both the aggregate and the individual levels using a new database of interest groups created specifically for the project, and finds that in the case of the European Union, coalition theory describes interest group behavior more closely. Laila is currently on the job market and has papers under review in both European and American journals. CV | Email

Political Theory

Robert Ross is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Houston. His dissertation, The Constitutional Incorporation of Political Parties, seeks to dispel the long-standing assumption that the Framers created a “Constitution-against-parties”. Rather, we should understand how they created a Constitution that encourages and facilitates party politics thereby enhancing democratic practices. Robert received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and has taught courses at Boise State University, the College of Western Idaho, Lone Star Community College, and the University of Houston. His research interests include the history of political thought, American political thought, American political development, and constitutional development. CV | Email