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Hendrix professor picked for politics prize

Posted: January 13, 2014 - 7:12pm

Hendrix politics professor Dr. Jay Barth received the Diane Blair Award from the Southern Political Science Association this week at the association’s annual meeting in New Orleans, La.

The award is presented biennially to a political scientist who has played an outstanding role in politics and/or government during their career at the local, state, national or international level.

The award honors the memory of Diane Blair by emphasizing the importance of political scientists applying their professional skills and learning as she did.

Blair, a professor at University of Arkansas from 1968 to 1997, worked as a member of the Electoral College, board chair of the Arkansas Educational Television Commission, Chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a senior advisor, researcher and chronicler of the successful Clinton-Gore presidential campaign in 1992.

Barth, who joined the Hendrix faculty 20 years ago, is the M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Distinguished Professor of Politics and director of civic engagement projects at Hendrix.

In addition to his teaching, scholarly work and leadership roles in a variety of nonprofit organizations, Barth is a member of the Arkansas State Board of Education, served on the Arkansas Non-Legislative Commission on the Study of Landlord-Tenant Laws in 2012, and was a member of Gov. Mike Beebe’s Task Force on Best Practices for After-School and Summer Programs. He has also been engaged in electoral politics, including an unsuccessful race for the Arkansas State Senate in 2010 and service as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

The recognition is particularly meaningful to Barth, who co-authored the second edition of “Arkansas Politics and Government: Do the People Rule?,” published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2005, with Blair.

“This is a particular honor for me because Diane Blair was a co-author, a friend and a mentor to me,” he said. “In particular, she served as a role model for how political scientists can engage in public service in a manner that maintains the objectivity of a scholar yet brings back to the classroom lessons about politics and policymaking that can only be learned through engagement with that process.”

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