Honors College Faculty
Michelle Belco is an attorney and lecturer in the Honors College at the University of Houston. Her research explores the president's use of executive orders, proclamations, memorandum, and regulatory policy. The complexity of executive action involves the investigation of the bureaucracy’s relationship with the president and the relationship between Congress and the president. When presidents act, they must anticipate the response and effect of their actions. How effective are presidents in using executive action to create policy? They have the power to act first but in turn, presidents must rely on Congress to enact their policy and the bureaucracy to implement it. Belco’s research illustrates how the president's power is checked and balanced both within the executive branch and by Congress. Her research has been published in political science journals and she has a book forthcoming on The Dual Executive: Unilateral Orders in a Separated and Shared Power System by Stanford University Press. She holds a doctorate from the University of Houston and J.D. from South Texas College of Law. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she practiced environmental and administrative law and specialized in working with governments, negotiated agreements, and regulation.
Lecturer, Houston, Texas: University of Houston, Honors College. 2016-Present
Lecturer, Houston, Texas: University of Houston Department of Political Science and the Honors College. 2013-2016
Teaching and Research Assistant, Houston, Texas: University of Houston Department of Political Science, 2008-2013
Teaching Adjunct, Lone Star College, Department of History and Social Sciences, 2010-2012
Teaching Adjunct, University of Houston Downtown, Department of Political Science, 2012-2013
Ph.D., University of Houston, May 2013
Fields of Study: American Institutions, Presidency, and Public Policy
Dissertation Title: Unilateral Orders and the Legislative Process
M.A., University of Houston (Political Science), 2010
Doctor of Jurisprudence, South Texas College of Law, 1996, Licensed in Texas, 1997 to present
Post-Graduate Study, Pennsylvania State University (Fine Arts and Art History), 1975
B.S., Western Michigan University (Industrial Engineering and Fine Arts), 1973
AREAS OF SPECIALIZATIONAmerican Institutions: Presidency and the Executive Branch, Congress, and Bureaucracy
Policy: Immigration and Energy and the Environment
Belco, Michelle and Brandon Rottinghaus, The Dual Executive: Unilateral Orders in a Separated and Shared Power System, Stanford University Press, forthcoming.
Belco, Michelle, “Presidential Unilateral Orders: Policymaking Tool,” 2015, Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Policy.
Belco, Michelle, “Presidential Policymaking: Discretion and the Execution of Law,” 2015, Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Policy.
Belco, Michelle and Brandon Rottinghaus, “In Lieu of Legislation: Executive Unilateral Preemption or Support During the Legislative Process,” Political Research Quarterly, Volume 67, No. 2, June 2014, 413-425.
Belco, Michelle and Brandon Rottinghaus, “Presidential Proclamation 6920: Using Executive Power to Set a New Direction for the Management of National Monuments,” Presidential Studies Quarterly, Volume 39, No. 3, September 2009, 605-618.
Belco, Michelle, “Teaching the Presidency: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Election,” Presidents & Executive Politics (PEP) Report, Section of the American Political Science Association, Fall 2012.
Belco, Michelle and Elizabeth Rigby, “Providing Public Goods: Alternative Policy Approaches,” Chapter in The People and American Government, Volume II. 2009, New York: Pearson Custom Publishing.
Belco, Michelle and Elizabeth Rigby, “Providing Public Goods: Alternative Policy Approaches,” Chapter in American Democracy Now (4th Ed), New York: McGraw Hill Custom E-Book Publishing, 2015.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Do Presidents Have the Upper Hand? Congressional Response to Executive Orders, Presidents Ford to Obama, Book Manuscript
Immigration Reform and the Partisan Divide, Coauthored Book Manuscript with Jennifer Clark and Savannah Sipole
“Executive Orders and the President’s Agenda”
“Implementing Executive Orders: Bargaining Inside the Obama Administration”
Belco & Associates, P.C., Houston, Texas: Environmental and administrative law practice; developed environmental compliance and enforcement training program for District and County Attorneys, County Judges, Civil and Criminal Court Judges, and Enforcement Officers.
Regional Director, Pacific West, Inc., Houston, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah: Worked with state transportation and environmental agencies throughout the U.S. analyzing and developing laws and regulations to support this national company’s industrial market
Environmental Manager, Southern Pacific Railroad, Houston, Texas: Managed environmental compliance for the railroad’s fixed and operating facilities throughout the U.S; hazardous materials responder and mitigation specialist; prepared interrogatories and questions for depositions for environmental litigation
Environmental Specialist, Brown & Root U.S.A., Houston, Texas: Monitored and interpreted federal and state regulations for multiple industrial sectors and served as liaison with governmental agencies throughout the U.S.; prepared environmental documents permits, and compliance plans
Environmental Manager, Houston Transit Consultants, Houston, Texas: Managed environmental documentation, contracts, community planning, public hearings, and agency liaison, for proposed $2 billion mass transit program
Project Manager, DeLeuw, Cather & Company, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco: Environmental and cultural resource planner and consultant for major transportation and development projects throughout the U.S.
Assistant Executive Director, Commission for Historic & Architectural Preservation, Baltimore, Maryland: Specialized in the rehabilitation and preservation of the city’s historic architectural resources; prepared documentation for the transfer of U.S. post office from the General Services Administration; federal grants manager; legislative analyst and liaison with the Maryland General Assembly
Special Assistant to the President of the City Council, Baltimore, Maryland: Responsible for developing community arts programs and art exhibitions
COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIPS
United States Supreme Court Bar
State Bar of Texas
American Bar Association, Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice
Texas State Bar Association, Administrative Law
American Political Science Association
Midwest Political Science Association
Southern Political Science Association
Association of Centers for the Study of Congress
Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society