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James ScottJames M. Scott, Ph.D., Herman Brown Chair and Professor of Political Science, will be the next director of the Master of Liberal Arts program effective June 1, 2021. Scott will succeed the outgoing director, Darren Middleton, Ph.D., the John F. Weatherly Professor of Religion, who led the MLA program to a successful one, which includes its growth to 120-plus students, its engagement on campus and its 50 new courses over the last five years.

“Thank you, Darren, for your service,” said Sonja Watson, Ph.D., dean of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts. “Dr. Scott has been at TCU since 2011 and brings a wealth of administrative experience to the role. Please join me in congratulating Jim!”

Scott’s areas of specialization include foreign policy analysis and international relations, with particular emphasis on U.S. foreign policymaking and the domestic sources of foreign policy. He is author or editor of nine books; more than 50 refereed articles and chapters in highly reputable outlets; and over 120 other chapters, review essays, conference papers and other works.

Scott served as department chair for Political Science at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (1999-2003) and Indiana State University (2003-2006) and as department head for Political Science at Oklahoma State University (2006-2011). He has been conference organizer and president of both the Foreign Policy Analysis section of the International Studies Association and the International Studies Association–Midwest, and he has served on several governing committees in each association. He is a two-time winner of the Frank J. Klingberg Award for Best Paper Presented by a Faculty Member at the ISA–Midwest annual meeting.

Since 1996, he has received more than two dozen awards from students and peers for his outstanding teaching and research, including his institution’s highest awards for research in 2000 and 2001 and for research mentoring in 2002. He is the recipient of the 2012 Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award and the 2018 Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award from the ISA–Midwest and the 2018 and 2019 AddRan College of Liberal Arts Division of Social Sciences Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar from TCU. 

From 2005 to 2014, he was director of the Democracy, Interdependence and World Politics Summer Research Program, a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, and he has been the coordinator for undergraduate research for TCU’s Department of Political Science since 2016.

He was associate editor of Foreign Policy Analysis from 2009-2015, co-editor of Political Research Quarterly from 2015-2018 and is currently lead editor of International Studies Perspectives. 

Gregg CantrellGregg Cantrell, the Erma and Ralph Lowe Chair in Texas History and director of graduate studies, was recognized for his manuscript, The Peoples Revolt: Texas Populists and the Roots of American Liberalism. He received the Kate Broocks Bates Award for Historical Research at the recent meeting of the Texas State Historical Association. The Bates Award is given annually for a significant piece of historical research dealing with any phase of Texas history prior to 1900.

Cantrell’s work chronicles the establishment of the Texas People’s Party and the rise of the related Populist movement in the 1890s, as reported in the latest issues of TCU’s Endeavors.

“It was a national movement. But its principal strength was in Texas as well as the Plains states and Mountain West,” he told the magazine. “It was really born on the frontier, a place where government at all levels was weak and people often had to take matters into their own hands.”

The Kate Broocks Bates Award was established in 1976 in the name of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas by her children, Kate Harding Bates Parker and C. Elisabeth Bates Nisbet. The award honors Bates, a dedicated member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas who was committed to the study of Texas history.

Our online M.S. in Criminal Justice and Criminology Program was recently ranked #6 in the United States by US News and World Report. The relatively new program has consistently risen in the ranks since its creation in 2014.

The program, which is geared towards working professionals in the field of criminal justice and potential doctoral students, aims to provide students with continuing education that focuses on both theory and practical skills. Students apply analytic skills developed in the courses to examine contemporary criminal justice issues, analyze existing research and inform policy. The goal is simple: to equip each cohort with the skills and competencies to be ground-breaking leaders in their field.

Notably, the program offers classes that are recorded and archived to help students learn at their own convenience and makes continuing education possible for working professionals. A small but dedicated group of expert faculty teach courses that range from Advanced Criminology to Applied Research and Policy. Most importantly, the program prides itself on the personal attention it gives each student from the moment they submit a request for information to the program director, Dr. Kendra Bowen. Like all programs at TCU, students are valued above all else and given the resources, mentorship and opportunities they need to succeed.

Learn more about this top-ranked program by visiting

Students in our MLA program have unique opportunities to publish, present and research unique topics that span the many disciplines of the liberal arts. Recently, three outstanding students received accolades and publications for their work.

Clare Shaffer (“The Other/La Otra”) and Dana McKnight (“The Incredible Hulk: Monster, Man, Hero”) recently published their research in the Fall 2020 issue of Confluence, the peer-reviewed journal of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs. Dana's work originated during her time in Professor Johnny Miles' class: "Superheroes in Global Context". Clare's work was inspired inspired by her time in a class on translation and society with Dr. Kurk Gayle, who plans to retire this month.

Clare Shaffer (“Intersections of Feminist Identity in Poetry and Translation”) and Trisha Spence (“Unconventional Fashion for Unconventional Musicians”) presented their work at the annual and virtual conference of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs, October 8-10, 2020. The Association awarded Clare Shaffer their Best Student Presentation Prize. Trisha completed her work while taking a class on music and fashion from Dr. David Buyze.

Congratulations to all of our students and faculty members on their accomplishments!

We are so proud of everything our latest graduates have accomplished.

Dr. Melanie L. Harris, Professor of Religion and Ethics, has been selected as interim Associate Dean of Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the AddRan College of Liberal Arts and School of Interdisciplinary Studies effective immediately. As Associate Dean of Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Harris will provide leadership and administration for procedures and practices related to faculty diversity and inclusion, recruitment, development and mentoring, retention, and help implement a number of DEI initiatives that promote inclusive excellence.

History professor Gene A. Smith was recently quoted in a New York Times article about Mount Rushmore and its controversial history. Read the full story below.

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Texas Christian University has named Sonja S. Watson, Ph.D., its new dean for the AddRan College of Liberal Arts. Watson will work to further the mission of the college and advance the university’s Vision in Action: Lead On strategic plan. She will begin her new role at TCU May 29, 2020. 

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Max Krochmal, associate professor of history and chair of comparative race and ethnic studies, has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship for the spring 2021 semester. Krochmal will serve as the Fulbright-García Robles U.S. Studies Chair at the Universidad de las Américas in Puebla, Mexico, where he will teach two courses on North American multicultural history and politics.