Arkansas Political Science Association

The Arkansas Political Science Association (ArkPSA) is a professional, membership-based organization of college and university professors and students in the subjects of political science, public administration, public policy, and related academic disciplines in the state of Arkansas. The membership of the ArkPSA has also included practitioners and other professionals with an interest in international, national, state, and local government and politics. The ArkPSA holds an annual two-day meeting during which scholars present the results of their research on topics related to government and politics. The annual meetings, which also include roundtable discussions on topics of interest to the membership, have been held at various college and university campuses and other locations around the state.

The ArkPSA was formally established during the inaugural meeting attended by thirty-nine people, including many of the state’s professors of political science, held at what is now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County) on March 1–2, 1974. During the meeting, Dr. Daniel R. Grant, president of Ouachita Baptist University (OBU), gave a talk titled, “Political Science in Arkansas: Problems and Opportunities.”

Robert M. McChesney, chairperson of the Department of Political Science at what is now UCA, was elected as the association’s first president. Peter N. Kidman of Arkansas State University (ASU) was elected as vice president, and Walter H. Nunn of Little Rock (Pulaski County) was elected as secretary-treasurer. Subsequent presidents of the association included Joel E. Anderson (1975–1976) of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), Charles D. Dunn (1976–1977) of UCA, Carolyn J. Zinn (1977–1978) of ASU, Robert L. Savage (1978–1979) of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), Charles W. Hartwig (1979–1980) of ASU, and Calvin (Cal) R. Ledbetter Jr. (1980–1981) of UALR.

Several prominent political science scholars have been guest speakers at the association’s annual meetings, including Evron M. Kirkpatrick (executive director of the American Political Science Association), John F. Manley (Stanford University), Norton E. Long (University of Missouri–St. Louis), Jewell Prestage (Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana), Dan D. Nimmo (University of Tennessee–Knoxville), John S. Jackson (Southern Illinois University), George C. Edwards (Texas A&M University), William B. Allen (Michigan State University), Richard F. Fenno Jr. (University of Rochester), Michael Nelson (Rhodes College), Charles S. Bullock (University of Georgia), and Ronald Keith Gaddie (University of Oklahoma).

Many of Arkansas’s top elected officials and political reporters have also spoken at the annual meetings, including Bill Clinton, Steve Clark, Ray Thornton Jr., Jim Guy Tucker Jr., Casey Laman, Mark Pryor, Vic Snyder, Shane Broadway, Mike Huckabee, Mike Beebe, Dustin McDaniel, John Boozman, Tim Griffin, Robert McCord, and John Brummett.

The ArkPSA established its first academic journal, the Arkansas Political Science Journal (APSJ), in 1980. Joel Anderson, professor of political science at UALR, served as the editor of the APSJ from 1980 to 1982. Donald E. Whistler, professor of political science at UCA, served as the editor of the APSJ from 1982 to 1987. The APSJ was renamed the Midsouth Political Science Journal (MPSJ) in 1988. In 1993, the MPSJ became the American Review of Politics (ARP), which was not affiliated with the ArkPSA. In 1997, the association established a new journal, the Midsouth Political Science Review (MPSR). Editors of the MPSR have included Haroon Khan of Henderson State University (HSU), Michael Anda of UALR, John Passe-Smith of UCA, and Joseph Howard of UCA.

For additional information:
Arkansas Political Science Association. (accessed March 3, 2022).

“Political Science Group Organized.” Arkansas Gazette, March 9, 1974, p. 7B.

Mark J. Mullenbach
North Little Rock, Arkansas


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