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Michael Hartney to join Politics Department in August

The Department of Politics is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Hartney as assistant professor of politics.

A PhD candidate at the University of Notre Dame, Hartney studies the politics of K-12 education. His teaching and research interests include American political behavior, education politics and policy, political inequality, the public policy-making process, and political methodology. Hartney has co-authored several peer-reviewed journal articles, including works that are published or forthcoming in State Politics & Policy QuarterlyAmerican Politics Research, and Perspectives on Politics.

In 2012, he was awarded a National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship to support his dissertation project entitled, Turning Out Teachers: the Causes and Consequences of Teacher Political Activism. The project, which he will defend in the spring of 2014, traces the origins of teachers’ political activism to the policy feedback effects of public sector collective bargaining laws enacted by states during the 1960s and 1970s. He shows how these laws increased political participation among teachers by decreasing the costs for teachers unions to mobilize teachers for coordinated political activity. In contrast to existing scholarship, Hartney demonstrates that teachers unions primarily influence contemporary education policy through their clout in politics. Drawing on original survey data, including a survey of public school teachers in nearly every Wisconsin county, he finds that education officials are more responsive to the policy preferences of teachers in school districts where teachers participate in politics significantly more than non-teachers, irrespective of whether teachers are unionized.

Hartney grew up in Maine and Florida, attended Bates College and Vanderbilt University, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2005. He will join the Lake Forest College faculty in the fall of 2014, and among the courses he will teach over the next several years are Introduction to American Politics, Methods of Political Research, Education Politics and Policy, Public Opinion, and Campaigns and Elections.