Ark. (May 28, 2015) –Hendrix College students and faculty will provide
nonpartisan, original analyses on key public policy issues in Arkansas through
a new undergraduate think tank.
Arkansas Policy Program (APP) was developed by Hendrix politics professor Dr.
Jay Barth with the support of the Bill
and Connie Bowen
Odyssey Professorship, which builds
upon Barth’s ongoing public policy and public opinion research and advocacy
work related to Arkansas.
released its first report, “Governance in Little Rock, Arkansas: At-Large and
District Elections and the Impact on Representation,” which examines the role
of the city’s distinct form of government on representation in the city of
in Little Rock, Arkansas: At-Large and District Elections and the Impact on
Representation,” funded by the Allred Research Fund at Hendrix, represents the
first comprehensive analysis of the mechanics and impact of the distinctive
city election system in Arkansas’s largest city. It provides an overview of the
history of the unique structure of the city’s government that blends at-large
and ward representation; an analysis of patterns of election of members of the
City Board with a focus on geography, race, and gender; an examination of the
competitiveness of elections in the city, with an eye to difference between
ward and at-large races; and a look at the comparative cost of elections for
at-large and ward seats. The consistent
result from this analysis is that the shift to an entirely ward election system
would advance a system of representation that is more fully reflective of those
who have traditionally been on the outside looking in and create more vibrant,
competitive, and less expensive elections in the city. Outside the scope
of this study, normative
arguments are made that at-large representation promotes decision-making for
the good of the city as a whole while ward representation promotes
report was co-written by three Hendrix faculty members and a recently graduated
Kiril Kolev, assistant professor of politics and international relations, and Dr.
Barth, M.E. and Ima Graves Peace distinguished professor of politics, were the
lead authors on the work.
the involvement of undergraduate students in the work of APP, international
relations major Lora Adams ’15 provided work on much of the history and data
included in the report. It also includes mapping work provided by Hendrix
anthropology professor Dr. Brett Hill.
report can be read here.
will release additional reports in the future, each
with APP students taking the lead on working with an advocacy group or
foundation on a separate report to be released publicly and published electronically.
an Odyssey Professorship focused on this theme was obvious because such policy-related
projects have become a central component of my ongoing professional development
in recent years with Hendrix students often heavily involved in that work,”
said Barth. Under Barth’s direction,
Hendrix students and recent alumni have worked as research collaborators on
projects such as “Making Arkansas a Land of Opportunity for All: Understanding
the Cradle to Prison Pipeline” and “Ripe for Reform: Arkansas as a Model for
Social Change,” which examined the tradition of pragmatic progressive reforms
in the state.
students who have worked on these projects gained insights into particular
areas of public policy and gained awareness of how their own skills can be
employed to serve the public,” Barth said.
students apply to become part of the APP team for a given academic year. They are
funded for their summer research work and are also engaged in research projects
and public opinion work across the year.
receive a free PDF file of “Governance in Little Rock, Arkansas: At-Large and
District Elections and the Impact on Representation” or get more information on
APP, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Barth can be
reached for comment at 501.944.9453
in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and
sciences education. This year, Hendrix was named the country’s #1 “Up and
Coming” liberal arts college and #8 in the nation for “Best Undergraduate
Teaching” by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2015 Fiske Guide
to Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, the 2014
Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges,
and the latest edition of Colleges That Change
Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges. Hendrix has
been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more
information, visit www.hendrix.edu.