by Alexis Lee
Dr. Guy Whitten has been named the new head of the political science department at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service. After serving as the interim head and overseeing the department’s transition to the Bush School last fall, Whitten is stepping into the role permanently, overseeing 36 faculty members, almost 1,000 students pursuing political science degrees, and the more than 17,000 students taught in the university’s political science classes annually.
Whitten received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester and worked as an assistant professor at UCLA before moving to Texas A&M to pioneer a fledgling political science Ph.D. program. In nearly 30 years at Texas A&M, Whitten has taught classes on mass political economy, comparative politics, and political methodology, and published a variety of peer-reviewed manuscripts, including the third edition of “The Fundamentals of Political Science Research” (Cambridge University Press, 2018), “The Fundamentals of Social Research” (Cambridge University Press, 2023), and “The Politics of Budgets: Getting a Piece of the Pie” (Cambridge University Press, 2023).
Whitten says he loves political science because of its relevance to everyday life. “Any big normative question, if you want to change the world, you must understand the world first. And we’re in that business of understanding the world.” His favorite thing about working at Texas A&M is the ability to share political science with students and watch them succeed. “I love working with students, and particularly getting students interested and excited about political science research. We’ve had some incredible undergraduate and graduate students, and they’re off in the world doing amazing things. It’s very satisfying to see them and know that what we taught them here has had an effect on them.”
After integrating into the Bush School, Whitten is optimistic about the department’s growth moving forward. “The move to the Bush School has been incredible for us. Our presence in the Bush School will help us continue to move upward as a department. Dean Mark Welsh, President Mark Welsh now, was so welcoming, and everybody in the Bush School has just been fantastic.”
Whitten said new and exciting things are on the horizon for the political science department. “We’re exploring new partnerships with the other departments, developing new transformative opportunities for students, some of them in study abroad, and some of them in Texas as well, and stepping up our internship game. The Bush School facilitates all of these things on a high level for us, and that’s very exciting.”