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The PSIA Review - March, 2016 Edition


March 18, 2016  Vol. 2, No. 3




Dr. Randy Parish

Dr. Randy Parish, professor of political science, received the 2015 Certificate of Merit for Teaching Excellence, “given as recognition of teaching innovation” for his presentation on Friday, November 13, at the “Teaching and Learning Panel” during the annual meeting of the Georgia Political Science Association. In his presentation "Online Simulations Make International Relations Courses Come Alive,” Dr. Parish, who teaches on UNG’s Oconee campus, shared his approach to encouraging students to make connections between theory, readings, and real-life experiences.

Parish’s conference proposal stated, “For international relations classes, from introductory to upper-division courses, one of the best formats is ICONS (International Communication and Negotiations Simulation), an online role-playing simulation offered by the University of Maryland. Student teams play a variety of international actors, including states, intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations, negotiating online to further each actor’s interests in some critical situation. Prior to the talks, they conduct research, largely online through sources suggested by ICONS, to determine their teams’ interests and goals, along with the other teams’ relative strengths and likely positions. This paper discusses how I have adopted ICONS simulations for IR classes over the last dozen years, including a mixture of online and face-to-face activities, written reflections, and in-class discussions. Students love the experience and subsequently exhibit a much deeper understanding of international relations.”

Newsletter editor Maria J. Albo interviewed Dr. Parish.

How long have you been teaching international relations? What do you like best about this subject? 

I first taught IR as a grad student, and have taught it virtually every semester since 2002. And what is not to like? IR is fascinating. There is so much at stake and so much variety of issues, actors, and explanations for why things happen the way they do.

What inspired you to deliver this presentation?

I love the teaching and learning sessions at GPSA, and I have adapted a number of techniques that I have learned there to my own teaching. Presenting the ICONS simulation with a couple of variations that I have adapted over the years seemed a good way to share and give back. Also, doing the presentation and writing a paper on it helped refine my thinking and the way I teach.

Your proposal mentioned that you “have adopted ICONS simulations for IR classes over the last dozen years, including a mixture of online and face-to-face activities, written reflections, and in-class discussions.” Which simulation has been your favorite and why? 

I have done ICONS simulations ranging from Model UN to Model OAS, Somalia pirates, and India-Pakistan rivalry. My favorite is the Nigerian Oil Crisis, a simulation dealing with problems caused by oil production in the Niger River Delta. It is a little dated, but the simulation covers almost every kind of issue‑‑security, economics, development, human rights, environment‑‑and almost every kind of actor‑‑domestic and global, state, IGOs, and NGOs. It makes a great capstone to POLS 2401 (“Global Issues”).

What kind of feedback have you received from students? What do you think they enjoy the most about these activities? 

Student feedback is almost universally very positive. It is just fun for them to do something in class and to play a game, and this one (ICONS) is set up very well. I put a little kink in the game that seems to help. We spend two days negotiating online, but in the middle we have one day with face-to-face talks, set up like a real international negotiation session. That is always their favorite.  In the student reviews of the course, which are supported by my assessments, most say that the game brings it all together. They understand better how and why global actors behave as they do, and the outcomes of global events make more sense.




Dr. Dwight WilsonDr. Dwight Wilson’s paper, “The Paradox of State Failure in Mexico,” received the prestigious McBrayer Award at the annual Georgia Political Science Association meeting. The paper asks whether Mexico is a failed state. According to Wilson, “Mexico presents an apparent paradox because in many ways it looks like a stable democracy with a thriving economy, but at the same the government can’t provide basic security for its citizens as drug gangs and vigilante groups fight it out in the streets. The article argues that Mexico’s uncontrolled violence must be attributed to state failure, but proposes a reconsideration of state failure as a concept to include a limited, or segmented, form of state failure. Such a concept allows us to understand how state failure can occur, though in circumscribed functions and spaces while national state failure does not occur.”

The McBrayer Award is presented to the author of the paper presented at the annual GPSA meeting that demonstrates the most outstanding scholarship. The award includes a $500 cash prize. 




In 2011, nine members of the faculty of what was then North Georgia College & State University’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice agreed to co‑author a textbook for POLS 1101, “American Government.” The first edition of The Basics of American Government, published by the University Press of North Georgia in 2011, was edited by Dr. Carl D. Cavalli, professor of political science, and Dr. Ross C. Alexander, then-head of the department. The purpose of the book was to offer a no-frills and low-cost, yet comprehensive, overview of the American political system for students taking the introductory course in American government.
A joint initiative between the book’s publisher and the University System of Georgia, through its Affordable Learning Georgia initiative, has resulted in the department textbook becoming available for all state-college and -university students for free! The authors are pleased that the book is now available for all students. The press is planning a book signing at the USG Teaching & Learning conference in April. The third edition of The Basics of American Government will appear in 2017.

Co-Authors of the textbook
Pictured:  Co‑authors of the textbook include these faculty members. Seated (L to R):  Dr. Jonathan S. Miner, Maria J. Albo, and Dr. K. Michael Reese.  Standing (L to R):  Dr. Charles H. “Trey” Wilson III, Dr. Barry D. Friedman, Dr. Carl D. Cavalli, and J. Derek Sutton.

 Download the free digital version of The Basics of American Government at


Dr. Douglas Young

On January 27, 2016, Dr. Douglas Young lectured to eight Chinese People's Liberation Army cadets from Liaocheng University who were visiting the Dahlonega campus. The topic was the evolution of freedom, equality, and democracy in the United States. The students asked many questions and were especially interested in the U. S. presidential election and our criminal justice system.

Dr. Young also reported to The PSIA Review that, on December 3, Dr. D. Parker Young, professor emeritus of higher education at the University of Georgia, spoke to Dr. Douglas Young’s POLS 3105, “Introduction to Constitutional Law,” class about student rights and responsibilities. For decades, Dr. D. Parker Young was the graduate coordinator for UGA’s Institute of Higher Education, at which he earned a national reputation for his expertise on the law as it pertains to colleges and universities. On his UNG-Gainesville visit, Dr. Young addressed a wide variety of student concerns and answered a great many questions.



Elijah O’Kelley, a senior political science major, is currently serving as a legislative liaison for Georgia state Representative Tim Barr (R‑Lawrenceville).  


Mary Catherine Olive is a junior political science major, who is concentrating in American politics. She is currently serving as an intern in Governor Nathan Deal’s office.  

Newsletter editor Maria J. Albo interviewed Mary.

Mary Catherine Olive

What made you choose the Department of Political Science and International Affairs when deciding on your course of study?

I have always been interested in how the levels of government work together to implement legislation and policy. In choosing political science I believed that this would be the best way to understand why and how the local, state, and national governments work together to accomplish these things.

What made you decide to apply for the internship?

I decided to apply to the Governor’s Office program after I received an e‑mail message from one of my teachers about the opportunity. After I received this message, I went to an information session about the program and received a lot of very good information. Before I sent in my résumé and then after I received notice that I had an interview, I went to the Career Center, received help with my résumé, and did a mock interview. Both of these things were a huge help to me. I believed that this internship would be a wonderful opportunity to see how the state government functions. 

Tell me about your typical day as an intern.

In the Governor’s Office I work in constituent services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the day we receive requests from constituents requesting letters recognizing birthdays, anniversaries, Eagle Scouts, custom events, and many other milestones. Two other interns and I are assigned certain letters and expected to complete them in a timely manner. I handle all custom event letters. This is where the constituent is having some sort of event and gives us information, dates, and other relevant information, and I write the letter that is mailed out. I also answer constituent phone calls throughout the day. People call the Governor’s Office about all kinds of issues and problems. They tell us the problem and we then transfer them to the relevant specialists in our office or give them the number to the appropriate agency. Many constituents call in and want to leave an opinion for Governor Deal. When they call and leave an opinion, we document it and then the director takes it to a senior staff meeting where it is discussed and there can be a better understanding of what constituents want. If constituents call about a federal issue, then we give them the telephone number of a U. S. senator. Our office receives the occasional walk-in as well. When this happens, we refer the visitor to the relevant specialist. I also attend events, rallies, and press conferences at the Capitol.

What has surprised you most about your internship?

The thing that has surprised me most about this internship is the number and variety of issues that the Governor’s Office deals with on a day-to-day basis. During the session of the General Assembly it is very busy. On most days both the House and the Senate are is session. When legislation moves in either of these chambers, our office receives phone calls in regards to whatever the legislation was and what the next step in the legislative process may be. The Governor’s Office also helps deal with issues concerning healthcare, the legal system, casework, education, and other matters. The spectrum of issues that the Governor’s Office is equipped to handle surprised me. It is not just about creating new laws.

How have your courses prepared you for this internship?

My courses in political science have helped prepare me for this internship by giving me a good base of knowledge about how the government actually works. One must understand that there is local government, there is state government, and there is the federal government. Many people do not understand this and they expect the governor to handle situations over which he constitutionally does not have authority. Another thing that my political science classes have given me to better prepare me for this internship is a good base of written and oral communication. All of those presentations, projects, and papers that I have done over the years are helpful in the long run!


By Dr. Jonathan S. Miner

Associate Professor of Political Science

Twenty-one students from UNG brought energy and enthusiasm to the Southern Regional Model UN Conference (SRMUN) in Atlanta on November 19‑21. Portraying representatives from three nations‑‑Australia, Japan and Turkey‑‑the UNG contingent negotiated international issues in the guise of their assigned national delegation over a three-day live simulation. A major conference, SRMUN brings together more than 500 undergraduates from three dozen schools to compete in an international-diplomacy simulation based upon the real-world issues addressed by United Nations committees.
In this, the second consecutive year of participation at SRMUN, the UNG team earned six awards:  two top position paper awards for the Australian and Turkish delegations and four separate committee awards for each of the two-member teams from the Japanese delegation. Position paper awards are given to the top 10 percent of national delegations, based upon their evaluation by the dais (directors) of the committees on which they serve, and committee awards are given to outstanding performances of individual teams at the conference.  The UNG team was spectacular in its accomplishments!

UNG's Model UN group
Pictured (L to R):  Professor Larry Morton, Courtney Graff, Rachael Williams, Clay Carlton, Oreva Zaudu Aki, Rob Young, David Coviello, Mitchell Fariss, Jordan Thrun, Benjamin Harkins, Sarah Hanson, Seth Bailey, Grace Boatright, John Jackson, Leslie Hebert, Chris Powell, Ben Perkins, Joe Tapia, Garrison Bone, Dr. Jon Miner, and Colin Marney.  (Not pictured:  Tristan Raub, Marlena Schmidt.)

The SRMUN conference is a unique opportunity for UNG students to engage in experiential learning and to apply the concepts and their understanding of the international system to real-life issues. The Model United Nations course, POLS 3505, is open to all UNG students and will again be offered in the fall semester of 2016. Please contact Dr. Jon Miner or Professor Larry Morton if interested.


March is spring advisement month! Make sure to see your advisor for information about summer and fall classes.

Pre-registration for the fall semester (and summer session) will begin on March 28 through April 15, 2016. Your registration time depends on how many credit hours you have earned. Students are encouraged to check their Banner accounts for their specific registration time.

Advisement is held in the fall and spring semesters approximately two to three weeks prior to registration. Please take the time each semester to visit your advisor and make sure that you are following the correct plan of study. You can view your advisor assignment via Banner or contact Andrew Eade at (706) 864‑1628.

How do I find my advisor?
  • Log in to BannerWeb.
  • Choose Student records.
  • Choose Tranguid.
  • Scroll down until you see the advisor information.

How do I know which courses to take?

All programs of study are listed on the department website. Our current plans of study can be found on the department website (
Can I CLEP classes?
Students cannot CLEP a class if they already have credit (any grade other than “W”) for the course, including any transfer credit. Please see the following webpage for specific courses eligible for CLEP credit at UNG:
  • POLS 1101, “American Government,” and POLS 2401, “Global Issues,” are prerequisites for upper-division courses in the department. Make sure to complete these introductory classes early in your academic career.
  • POLS 2101, “Introduction to Political Science,” is a prerequisite for POLS 3600, “Introduction to Social Science Research Methods.”  POLS 3600 and POLS 4470, “Senior Seminar in Political Science,” are offered only in the spring semester; please plan accordingly.
Students who entered UNG after the fall semester of 2011 must achieve a grade of “C” or higher in all courses within the major (including Area F). In addition, if a student adopts any plan of study after the fall of 2011, that student will be subject to the same policy. Please keep this in mind as the administration is phasing out the old NGCSU and GSC core curricula. We request that students who are graduating after the spring semester of 2016 visit their advisors to review their plans of study.


Every week during the fall and spring semesters, members of the UNG community including students and faculty and staff members meet to discuss pressing political issues during the weekly Crossfire debate on the Dahlonega campus. Sponsored by the Political Science Student Association (PSSA) under the direction of faculty advisor Carl D. Cavalli, the Crossfire debates began in 1994 as a way to encourage civil political debates on hot-button issues. The Crossfires remained popular during the 2014‑2015 academic year, covering topics like the Middle East, taxes, Georgia politics, and the United States’ place in the world. 
The PSSA has put together a compelling schedule for the spring semester with debates ranging from gun control to terrorism and global warming.  
The lineup for the current semester is available on the PSSA’s Facebook page at .
The PSSA Voters Guide is here!  This guide was prepared specifically for UNG students, based on a survey of important issues.  You can access an electronic copy of the guide booklet here:


Political Science alumna Sarah Dunlap (‘07) has moved on from the UNG Alumni Office to a new position as the communications coordinator for Forsyth County’s government. The Department of Political Science & International Affairs wishes Sarah all of the best in her new endeavor.
Political Science alumna Wendi Huguley (‘90) continues to serve as the director of alumni relations and annual giving.
Are you following the Office of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving on social media? This is the best way to stay in the know!

Upcoming Alumni Events

Alumni Weekend – April 22-24, 2016
Starlight Concert and Fireworks – June 3, 2016
Events are always being added to the alumni calendar, so stop by the website often.


Dr. Barry D. Friedman, professor of political science, presented a paper, “Punishing Members of Disadvantaged Minority Groups for Calling 911,” which he co‑authored with Maria J. Albo, lecturer in political science, at the Mini‑Conference on Policing and Race at the University of Cincinnati on January 29. Friedman and Albo teach on the Dahlonega campus.
Dr. Barry Friedman presenting his paper
Pictured: Dr. Friedman, at far left, presented a paper during a panel on “Law Enforcement, Trust, and Policing.”


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THE PSIA REVIEW – March 2016   Vol. 2, No. 3

Department Head: Dlynn Armstrong-Williams, Ph.D.
Associate Department Head: Craig B. Greathouse, Ph.D.

Editor: Maria J. Albo, M.P.A.
Assistant editor: Barry D. Friedman, Ph.D.
Web editor: Andrew Eade

Contact information:


            Telephone: (706) 864‑1628

            Newsletter home page:

            Department home page:

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