Faculty Awarded the Rodney Higgins Best Faculty Paper

Winners of the NCOBPS Rodney Higgins Best Faculty Paper Award.
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Winners of the NCOBPS Rodney Higgins Best Faculty Paper Award.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three University of Arkansas faculty members and one emeritus professor from the University of Illinois, Springfield — Pearl K. Dowe, Brinck Kerr, Grace Rusk Kerr, and Will Miller — have been awarded the Rodney Higgins Best Faculty Paper award at the 2017 National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) Annual Meeting. 

Pearl K. Dowe is an associate professor, vice chair and graduate coordinator in the Department of Political Science, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. She has published extensively on African American political behavior and has served as director of the African & African American Studies program. Dowe has been recognized by the University of Arkansas community for her commitment to diversity and students and is actively engaged in both national and regional associations within Political Science.

Brinck Kerr is a professor of in the Department of Political Science and director of the interdisciplinary Public Policy Ph.D. program. Kerr's work has appeared in many political science and public administration journals. He received Fulbright College's Master Teacher Award in 2016 and the Collis R. Geren Award for Excellence in Graduate Education from the Graduate School & International Education in 2015.

Grace Rusk Kerr is a clinical instructor of Childhood Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and Health Professions. Her research interests lie in education policy, ethnic and gender employment patterns in public schools, literacy, and language variation and change. She has published articles in the American Review of Public Administration and Public Administration Quarterly.

Will Miller is an emeritus professor of Public Administration and former chair of the Public Administration Department at the University of Illinois, Springfield. During his career, he published a book and numerous political science and public administration articles. Miller is retired and lives in Boston.

The paper, titled "What are the Determinants of Interethnic Competition for Principal Positions in Multiethnic U.S. School Districts," explores the limitations of previous research on interethnic competition for public sector jobs. Utilizing EEOC data the research team evaluates several factors that influence competition between Latinos and African Americans for public school principal positions. They find a complex relationship between the successful gains and losses of Latinos and African Americans. The findings depart from frameworks that focus on the idea of coalition building such as the rainbow coalition framework and the power thesis. The authors conclude that gains and losses in employment competition are a function of the race/ethnicity of administrators, residential segregation, poverty, size of the district, and district salaries.

The award is named in honor of Rodney Higgins (1911-1964), the longtime chair of the Department of Political Science at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisana. The best paper by a faculty member is selected from papers presented at the Annual Meeting of the immediately preceding year.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Meredith Paige Brady, administrative specialist II
Political Science
479-575-3356, mpbrady@uark.edu


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