Dr. Charles “Chuck” Hermann, the founding director of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, is retiring from Texas A&M University, having served here for more than twenty-four years. Hermann’s career and service to the Bush School were honored at a recent reception attended by colleagues, current and former students, and community members.
Hermann came to College Station from Ohio State University, where he had been a professor of political science for some twenty-five years. After the Bush School became an independent college with Dr. Robert Gates as its first dean, Hermann served as Associate Dean for Academic Programs and later designed and directed the Bush School’s Master of International Affairs. Over the years, Hermann taught courses on American foreign policy, international politics, and foreign policy analysis.
In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities, Hermann has been an active scholar in the fields of foreign policy, national security, and group decision making and simulation. He has published widely on each of these topics, including nine books and over seventy journal articles and book chapters. In pursuit of his research, Hermann has received a number of grants and contracts from both private and public sources, including the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
After receiving his PhD from Northwestern University, Hermann taught at Princeton University until accepting a Council on Foreign Relations Fellowship in 1969 to serve on the National Security Council under Dr. Henry Kissinger. From there, he went to Ohio State University, where he was director of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and a professor in the Department of Political Science. One of Hermann’s Bush School colleagues, Dr. Valerie Hudson, his student at Ohio State, described Hermann as a “must-cite scholar” and a leader in multiple research fields, including foreign policy analysis (FPA), in which scholars analyze leaders’ decision-making processes. He profoundly shaped FPA and was mentor to many of the current generation of FPA scholars.
His initial research agenda was foreign policy decision making in times of crisis, and his 1972 book, International Crises: Insights from Behavioral Research, along with numerous articles and book chapters, established his reputation as a scholar. At Mershon, Hermann developed the CREON Project—the Comparative Research on the Events of Nations Project, a comprehensive model of all the many factors that influence foreign policy decision making, from political psychology to nation-state type. His particular piece of the theoretical model was group decision making—both small group and bureaucratic politics—and his research is cited by any scholar working in that area. The CREON Project also involved the creation of a large events data set, that is, the coding of the day-to-day international doings of nation-states, and the dataset is consistently mentioned in a list of the first real forays into events data.
During his long career, Hermann has received some of the highest accolades in the discipline, being named a Distinguished Scholar of FPA in 2001 and serving as president of his professional association, the International Studies Association from 1988 to 1989.
At the retirement reception in his honor, Dr. Gregory Gause, head of the School’s Department of international Affairs, praised Hermann’s willing efforts to help start the Bush School.
“Starting an entirely new academic organization is not an easy task,” Gause said. “Even though there was a lot of support for the Bush School, it took someone with enormous commitment, dedication, and will power to see it through, and Chuck did that. It is his legacy.”
Bush School Dean Mark A. Welsh praised Hermann for his dedication and service to the School and for co-writing Called to Serve, a book chronicling its first two decades. “Chuck is a Renaissance man, but he is, and always will be at heart, a scholar,” Welsh said.
Later Welsh read a letter sent by the Honorable Bob Gates, who after serving as Bush School dean, became Texas A&M University President (2002-2006) and then U.S. Secretary of Defense (2006-2011). In part, Gates wrote:
“Today’s size, quality, and stature of the Bush School, its faculty, and students owe more to you and your continuing devoted service than to any other single individual—with the possible exception of the 41st President himself. I will always value our time together as colleagues and partners.”
Hermann said that being at the Bush School has been a “real privilege” and has announced that he and his wife are working to create an endowed fellowship to provide financial support for one high-achieving Bush School student each year.