Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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College Welcomes New Faculty

The college is pleased to welcome new faculty for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Department of Economics
Assistant Professor Zachary Grossman was hired from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Grossman is a microeconomist who studies the impact of social and psychological phenomena, as well as cognitive processes, on economic decisions. He has published in several leading journals including The Journal of the European Economic Association, American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, and Management Science.

Assistant Professor Luke Rodgers comes to FSU as a new Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He will also be affiliated with the Charles Hilton Center. Dr. Rodgers is an applied microeconomic researcher whose current topics include the child and dependent care tax credit and the tax deduction for charitable contributions. He will assist the department in creating a new specialized gateway course for Ph.D. students working in applied microeconomic policy. He is also a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy (class of 2006).

Research Faculty Adam Millsap is the assistant director of the Hilton Center, where he be writing and doing research as well as planning events, organizing seminars/conferences and disseminating FSU economics faculty research to policy makers and the general public to help inform policy decisions in Florida. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. in economics from Clemson University and a B.S. in economics and a B.A. in comparative religion from Miami University in his home state of Ohio. A Senior Affiliated Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, his research focuses on urban development, population trends, labor markets, and federal and local urban public policy. His op-eds and commentary have appeared in national outlets such as USA Today, US News and World Report, Real Clear Policy, and The Hill, and he is a regular contributor to Forbes.

Department of Geography
Assistant Professor Adam Bledsoe is from St. Paul, Minn. He completed his Ph.D. in 2016 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and had a postdoctoral fellowship for one year at Indiana University Bloomington. His research interests include Black Geographies, social movements, political theory, and critical race theory. Dr. Bledsoe was awarded the Mellon Mays/Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Completion Grant for his final year of graduate school. He will also be part of the African American Studies faculty.

Assistant Professor Willie Jamaal Wright hails from Houston, Texas. His work as a faulty member of the African-American Studies program will draw in part on his research interests in Black geographies, critical theories of Blackness, social movements, and archival and ethnographic methods. Dr. Wright has conducted research in the archives of Robert F. Williams at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s Bentley Historical Library. That research was sponsored by a Bordin/Gillette Fellowship provided by the Bentley Historical Library.

Department of Political Science
Assistant Professor Douglas (Doug) Ahler’s research focuses on American politics, representation, public opinion, and political psychology. His work has appeared in The Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and Political Behavior. A lifelong Californian, Doug graduated from Occidental College in 2006, earned a master in education from UCLA in 2008 (and subsequently taught high school in Los Angeles), and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. He recently concluded a year-long post-doctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University.

Visiting Assistant Professor Alexandra Cockerham earned her Ph.D. in political science at FSU in 2017. Her research centers on executive power, with an eye toward the limitations that institutions impose on directly elected executives. Her research is explicitly comparative, focusing on both the U.S. states and presidential democracies. Her teaching interests are in comparative politics, American politics, and political methodology

Visiting Assistant Professor Kevin Fahey earned his Ph.D. from FSU in summer 2017. He studies political institutions and elite behavior, with specialization in subnational politics. His refereed research has been published in Legislative Studies Quarterly and State Politics & Policy Quarterly. His work has also been featured in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage. His teaching interests include state politics, legislative systems, American government, and research methods.

Department of Sociology
Assistant Professor Shantel Buggs earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Sociology, with portfolios in the departments of African and African Diaspora Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her research interests center on how race and ethnicity, gender, and sexuality shape family and romantic intimate relationships, identities, and social inequalities. Much of her work focuses on multiracial/mixed-race life course processes and the representation of race, gender, and sexuality in popular culture. She will be affiliated with the African American Studies program.

Associate Professor Katrinell Davis earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. She studies racial inequality in labor markets and in low-income communities. The University of North Carolina Press recently published her book “Hard Work is not Enough,” and she is writing a second book on the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Dennis J. Smith, formerly the Growth Management Coordinator for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), has been named planner-in-residence to guide the award-winning Florida Planning and Development Lab, the department’s applied master’s-level studio. He earned his master’s degree in planning at FSU in 1994. Prior to joining FDOT, he spent 12 years in the private sector managing disaster recovery and emergency planning projects nationwide. Before that, he was the disaster recovery program administrator for the Florida Department of Emergency Management. Much of his work has focused on risks to the built environment, including projects for resiliency, transportation modeling, evacuation planning for high risk areas, and vulnerability assessment.

Julie Lawless is with the department this year as visiting teaching faculty. She has a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Kansas (2012) and a Master of City and Regional Planning from Clemson (2000). She most recently served as a principal in Lawless Planning and Design Research, LLC. Prior to that she was an assistant professor in geography at Western Illinois University from 2012-2016. She has considerable experience in historic preservation (in Missouri and in Texas as well as Malaysia )and has published a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and several chapters and conference presentations. Her more recent work examines historic preservation in the context of Melaka, a world heritage site in Malaysia. She will be teaching a class this fall on Historic Preservation in the US and International Contexts. In addition she will teach a graduate statistics class.

DeVoe Moore Center
Mark McNees joins the faculty of the Devoe Moore Center and the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship as entrepreneur-in-residence. Previous to his full-time appointment for 2017-2018, he has been with the center teaching Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, mentoring student social entrepreneurs, coordinating and supervising internships, and providing curriculum support to the Moran School. McNees is the founder and president/CEO of RedEye Coffee, a social enterprise that has won awards for excellence and innovation and has provided internships for social entrepreneurship students. He is also the founding pastor of Element3 Church located in Tallahassee.