New Faculty Position to Focus on Global Energy Policy

Iowa State University has begun its search for a new political science faculty member in global energy policy. The position is part of the Presidential High Impact Hires Initiative and is the result of an ongoing collaboration between the Bioeconomy Institute (BEI) and Iowa State’s department of political science.

Of the 29 new faculty positions in the initiative, this position is the only one that’s joint effort between an academic department and a research institute. The new position is meant to sustain Iowa’s prominence in energy research and contribute to the training of Iowans for careers in the biorenewable industry. It will also boost the interdisciplinary link between BEI’s Biorenewables Resources and Technology (BRT) program and the political science department.

The idea for a new position originated during discussions this past spring between James McCormick, chair of the dept. of political science, and Jacqulyn Baughman, head of the BRT graduate program about future offerings of two cross-listed courses, Biorenewables Law & Policy (BRT /Pol S 515) and International Biorenewables Law & Policy (BRT/Pol S 516X). These two graduate courses are currently taught by Tristan Brown, a BRT graduate lecturer who will graduate next spring.

“BRT/Pol S 515 is a core requirement for the BRT online graduate certificate, an approved elective course for BRT degree program (MS & PhD), and is quite popular,” explained Baughman. “We wanted to make sure that we could continue to offer it after Tristan graduated.” The international course, which will be taught for the first time in the spring of 2014, was developed after students expressed interest in more energy policy courses in the BRT program.

Expanding Energy Policy Collaboration

After hearing about the hiring initiative, McCormick and Baughman recognized it as an opportunity to further expand the collaboration in energy policy and prepared a proposal for a new political science faculty member to teach and do research in this area. “This is faculty position represents an important collaboration between BEI and political science,” Baughman said. “It’s critical to the BRT program’s ability to sustain teaching of these highly relevant law and policy courses, and impacts our ability to provide a biorenewables workforce that can advance and lead bioeconomic development.”

McCormick said the new position is important on several levels. “It’s important for our department because it allows us to hook up with one of the major research institutes on campus, he said. The position also fits into College of Liberal Arts & Sciences signature research theme of “Big Data” for addressing economic, environmental, and societal sustainability questions. “The hiring also allows us to move our graduate program into an area that is new for our department,” he added.

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