UNT Foundation Eminent Faculty Award: T. David Mason, Regents Professor in the Department of Political Science
David Mason is the Johnie Christian Family Peace Professor, Regents Professor of Political Science, and Director of UNT's undergraduate Peace Studies Program. He is co-founder of UNT's Castleberry Peace Institute, the only peace science and human security research center in the southern United States. He has served as Associate Editor and as the Editor in Chief of International Studies Quarterly, the flagship journal of the International Studies Association. He is the author of Caught in the Crossfire: Revolution, Repression, and the Rational Peasant, and co-editor of What Do We Know About Civil Wars? He also co-edited Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in Post-War Societies. His works on how the civil conflict process works have had lasting impact on the field, including "The Political Economy of Death Squads", which continues to be cited regularly over 25 years after its publication, and "How Civil Wars End" which also continues to be cited regularly 20 years after its publication. His work earned him sufficient recognition among his peers that, following the events of September 11, 2001, he was one of fifteen scholars from leading universities around the world who were named to the American Political Science Association's Task Force on Political Violence. In 2007, he was awarded a grant to write a monograph Sustaining the Peace After Civil War for use in the Army War College's curriculum. His works have been published in the leading journals in political science, including American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Research, and Journal of Peace Research, to name but a few. To read more about Dr. Mason's work, click here.
UNT Foundation Outstanding Lecturer Award: Wendy L. Watson, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science
Wendy Watson, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, holds a JD and a Master's degree in Public Policy from the College of William and Mary as well as a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Dr. Watson teaches courses on American politics, constitutional law, public policy, and quantitative research methods. In addition, she serves as the university's pre-law advisor, assisting undergraduates with the decision to go to law school and the application process. Dr. Watson is an innovator when it comes to pedagogy, especially in the case of large sections. One example of this is a classroom simulation she designed to mimic a constitutional convention in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. Another example is a simulation of the Electoral College. According to her department chair this simulation "takes what is often seen to be a boring and archaic rule of the U.S. Constitution and transforms it into a clear description of why rules matter and how they affect election outcomes." Her colleagues also cite her work in establishing an Innocence Project clinic at UNT, through which law students and undergraduate interns work together to investigate innocence claims of those convicted of crimes. One colleague states that in the eyes of her students she is a "superb, dedicated, and passionate teacher" who "constantly looks for ways to meet students where they are." Dr. Watson has been recognized for these innovations and for her passionate and effective teaching, winning the University Core Curriculum Innovation Award and with the J.H. Shelton Award for Teaching Excellence. Her publications include a documentary history of federal abortion politics, work on the privacy implications of forensic DNA databases, explorations of the Supreme Court's unpaid docket, and research on creating a more engaging teaching environment for large political science courses. In her spare time, she writes mysteries.
Distinguished Research Professorship: Valerie Martinez-Ebers, Professor, Political Science
Dr. Martinez-Ebers specializes in the politics of race and ethnicity as well as Latino political behavior and public opinion. Her research has been funded by numerous foundations including the National Science Foundation (three times) as well as the Ford, Carnegie, Russell Sage, Hewlett, Joyce and Anne E. Casey Foundations, and she is the only woman of color to have published in all the top-ranked general interest journals in political science. A former Vice President of the American Political Science Association and former President of the Western Political Science Association, Valerie currently directs the Latino and Mexican American Studies program at UNT and just recently finished her four-year tenure as co-editor of the American Political Science Review, the highest-ranked political science journal in the world (#1 out of 167 journals).
Early Career Award: Jacqueline DeMeritt, Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. DeMerritt studies reasons and remedies for human rights abuse. She is particularly interested in the reasons that perpetrators obey orders to commit atrocities, and in how to stem such violence. She received tenure last year, and is thrilled to be attending the Salute to Faculty Excellence with her colleagues again this evening.