Political Science Faculty and Staff
Karen M. Hult
Director of Graduate Studies
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1984
Director of Graduate Studies
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1984
Professor Hult taught at Pomona College (where she also directed the multi-disciplinary Program in Public Policy Analysis) and the Claremont Graduate School before coming to Virginia Tech in August 1990. Her research and teaching interests include organization theory, the U.S. presidency, executive branch bureaucracies, the U.S. judiciary, research methodologies, and state and local politics. She has received research grants from the American Association of University Women, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Political Science Association, among others.
She is currently on the editorial boards of Administration & Society, Congress & the Presidency, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and she has served on the editorial board of the American Journal of Political Science and on the Executive Council of the Southern Political Science Association. She was a member of the 2007 APSA Presidency Research Group's Neustadt Award Committee and the 2008 SPSA Pi Sigma Alpha Award committee. She also served as a member of the Journal of Politics search committee in 2003-04, and as a member of the APSA's 2002 E.E. Schattschneider Award committee. She received the 2012 Career Service Award for the APSA's Presidents and Executive Politics section, and she is a recipient of the 2004-05 Creighton University College of Arts and Science's Alumni/ae Award and the 1995 University of Minnesota Political Science Department's Distinguished Ph.D. Award; she is a co-recipient of the 1996 Richard E. Neustadt Award for the best book on the U.S. Presidency published in 1995; the 2003-04 Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award, College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences, Virginia Tech; the 2008 Virginia Social Science Association's Scholar Award in Political Science; and the 2008 Sturm Award for Faculty Excellence in Research from the Phi Beta Kappa Mu chapter of Virginia at Virginia Tech. Hult served as president of the Presidency Research Group from 1999-2001 and was a member of the Advisory Board for the White House Transition Project. She served as book review editor for the Presidential Studies Quarterly from 1999 through December 2009. She has chaired the Presidency Research Group's committee to nominate candidates for the National Portrait Gallery's Paul Peck Presidential Awards. She has reviewed grant applications for the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the American Association of University Women.
Professor Hult has written four books: Agency Merger and Bureaucratic Redesign (Pittsburgh, 1987); Governing Public Organizations, co-authored with Charles Walcott (Brooks/Cole, 1990); Governing the White House: From Hoover through LBJ, co-authored with Charles Walcott (Kansas, 1995), a 1996 Choice "Outstanding Academic Book"; and Empowering the White House: Governance under Nixon, Ford, and Carter, co-authored with Charles Walcott (Kansas, 2004), a 2005 Choice "Outstanding Academic Title." Most recently, she has written "The Chicago Clan: The First Chiefs of Staff in the Obama White House" (with David Cohen and Charles Walcott), Social Science Quarterly (accepted for publication); "Environmental Perspectives on Public Institutions," Handbook of Public Administration, 2nd edition, edited by Guy Peters and Jon Pierre (Sage, forthcoming); "Civic Engagement and Internet Use in Local Governance" (with B. Joon Kim and Andrea Kavanaugh), Administration & Society, Oct. 2011; "The Administrative Presidency," solicited chapter for A Companion to Richard M. Nixon, edited by Melvin Small (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011); "Domestic Policy Development in the White House" (with Charles Walcott), in Governing at Home: The White House and Domestic Policymaking, edited by Michael Nelson and Russell L. Riley (Kansas, 2011); "Does Where You Stand Depend on Where You Sit? Careerists' Attitudes toward Political Appointees under Reagan" (with Robert Maranto), American Review of Politics 31 (Summer 2010); and "Varieties of Organizational Learning: Investigating Learning in Local Level Public Sector Organizations" (with Mohan Pokharel), Journal of Workplace Learning 22 (no. 4, 2010). In addition to book chapters and encyclopedia entries, other publications have appeared in such journals as Administration and Society, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, American Review of Public Administration, Congress and the Presidency, International Journal of Technology, Knowledge, & Society, Journal of Politics, Policy Studies Journal, Polity, Presidency Research, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Public Administration Review, Public Productivity and Management Review, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs.
Currently, Professor Hult is working on a book on White House chiefs of staff with David Cohen and Charles Walcott ("Catching the Javelin," under contract with University Press of Kansas). Other projects include "Structuring and Governance in Public Organizations" (working title), a proposal for revisiting themes in Governing Public Organizations and "Speechwriting under Reagan," an analysis of papers at the Reagan Library, part of continued work on the evolution of the presidential speechwriting processes. As a scholar working with the White House Transition Project, she has co-authored essays on the White House Counsel's Office (with MaryAnne Borrelli and Nancy Kassop) and the Office of Staff Secretary (with Kathryn Dunn Tenpas); the essays were/will be available to incoming staffers of President George W. Bush in 2000, President Barack Obama in 2008, and the winner of the 2012 presidential election, and versions appear on the Project website.
Professor Hult's recent public affairs activities include delivering an invited paper on the administrative presidency at a symposium on "Understanding Richard Nixon: His Era," at the Nixon Presidential Library in July 2011; serving as a panelist for "Branching Out: Policy Leadership and Legislative Relations under Reagan," Ronald Reagan Centennial Academic Symposium, University of Southern California in partnership with the Reagan Presidential Library, February 2011; and delivering an invited paper, "Executive Advice and Constitutional Boundaries," at an October 2009 conference on Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond, published as "The Imperiled Presidency: Informal Constraints on Executive Power," in Executive Power in Theory and Practice, eds. Hugh Liebert, Gary L. McDowell, and Terry L. L. Price (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Hult serves as an election night analyst on the National Public Radio affiliate WVTF, and she speaks with journalists about the U.S. presidency and about Virginia politics and government.
E-mail: Karen Hult