FSU Reloads in IR

This morning I noticed an unexpected spike on my blog.


Curiously, a post I had written on 1 March was getting traffic 9 days later.  I got to wondering whether someone had mentioned it on PoliSciRumors, a site a ignore.  So I did a search for my name and found no such mention, leaving me none the wiser about the source of the interest.

I did find a Moore –> ASU thread.  “Never read the comments!  NEVER read the comments!” my brain screamed.  I clicked the link.

To my considerable surprise,[1] the threads comments are overwhelmingly positive toward me, perhaps due to the initial posts.[2]


Not surprisingly some reflected that my departure bodes poorly for Florida State’s Poli Sci Dept.  And that gives me an opportunity to reflect on the history of the IR group at FSU and the great hires coming aboard in Tallahassee.

When I joined the faculty at FSU the IR group was Dale Smith, Doug Lemke and Paul Hensel.  In addition to hiring myself (6 years removed from my PhD), the department also hired Ashley Leeds and Sara Mitchell, both ABD at the time.[3]   As is so often the case at FSU, a few years would demonstrate what a great reload that was.  But in 1997 few could see it.

“Reload?” you may be thinking.  The problem was that the line I was hired in was created by Jim Ray‘s departure to Vanderbilt.  Smith was an Associate, Lemke and Hensel early Assistants, and I came on board untenured.  I don’t know that the percentage drop in the group’s citations was, but it was substantial.

Fast forward to today.  In fall 2013 the IR group was Smith, myself, Sean Ehrlich, Meg Shannon, and Mark Souva.  Meg joined the faculty in Boulder last fall and I am off to Tempe in August.  Again, the group has lost its largest citation producer.[4]  Reloading has been a big deal, and everyone in the department knows it.[5]

In 2014 the department hired Inken von Borzyskowski.  If you are unfamiliar with Inken’s work, change that.  I’m not willing to argue that she is guaranteed to have the impact of an Ashley Leeds or a Sara Mitchell, but I’m equally unwilling to say she won’t have even more of an impact of those two ABD hires by FSU.

Last week Rob Carroll accepted an offer to join the faculty in August.  Rob strikes me as an excellent “Isle of Misfit Toys” hire, an ABD who flys under the radar due, perhaps, to some unorthodox projects, who has an outstanding science mind.  I started using the term to describe FSU hires around 2004, shortly after we hired T.K. Ahn, Bumba Mukherjee and Jeff Staton.   The most recent misfit hires at FSU were David Siegel and John Ahlquist.[6]  Again, I am not saying that Caroll’s work will necessarily have the influence of the other FSU misfits, [7] but I can’t say it won’t surpass the median nor become the group’s maximum.

Maintaining an active, excellent, stimulating group of faculty is difficult.  Doing it in a state in the Southeast is remarkable.  When that faculty stands out for its comity it becomes ridiculous.  I set several goals for myself when I joined the department at FSU in 1997.  One of those collective oriented goals was “Work to make the Dept better when you leave than it was when you arrived.”  In general I am better at achieving my personal goals than the collective oriented ones.  But I will leave feeling bullish about the future of FSU’s department.[8]


[1] For those unfamiliar with the reputation of PoliSciRumors, [formerly Poli Sci Job Rumors], it is generally described as a cesspool, exhibiting the well known problems of Internet forums and Comment sections.

[2] Yup, I just went “broken lights” there.

[3] Lemke took a job at Michigan the following year

[4] Don’t get me started on diversity.  My one frustration during my 17 years at FSU is our failure to address the lack of diversity of the faculty.

[5] American Politics has even more challenges than IR.

[6] If you are thinking “Those folks were misfits?” that demonstrates the success that they were able to have.  None of them were doing orthodox work when they entered the market, and each will tell you they benefited from starting their career at the FSU incubator.

[7] This is an illustrative list: I count myself and several other folks as members of the misfit crew at FSU.

[8] If you are thinking “Seriously, you compared the female hire to women and the male hire to men?” I hear you.  It bugs me too.  But von B does not strike me as a misfit, and the two most influential IR ABD hires from FSU happen to be women (and I am familiar with hires in the Dept back to the 70s).  On the other hand, the bookend misfits are all male.  Small samples can be irritating.

About Will H. Moore

I am a political science professor who also contributes to Political Violence @ a Glance and sometimes to Mobilizing Ideas . Twitter: @WilHMoo
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1 Response to FSU Reloads in IR

  1. Pingback: An Apology to Paget, Pity for Deneice & Sydney, and an Explanation for Nadia | Will Opines

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