Teaching Materials and Resources for Students

Click on the links below to go to the syllabus for the course or in some cases to a more substantial web page including various materials and resources for students in a particular course. All my courses since Fall 1999 are listed, in chronological order. Courses before Fall 2009 are from Penn State, hence the different course numbering system. At the bottom of the page are various resources for students not related to any particular courses.


Courses at UNC-CH


Political Science 203, Fall 2014, Race, Innocence, and the Decline of the Death Penalty. Note to students: this class will be a large lecture with at least 240 students meeting M, W, 2:00-2:50 in Stone 103. In addition, TA's will lead discussion sections once a week, and there will be a MANDATORY speakers' series on Wednesday evenings from September 24 through November 12, 5:30 to 7:00pm. To get a feel for the course, please look at the materials for POLI 195, Spring 2013, below. The new version of the course will be an improvement on that version, but similar in the general format. Speakers will be similarly captivating. So, while the course will require some extra time in the evenings, it will definitely be worth it. Do not sign up for the course if you cannot make these eight evening sessions. Books for Fall 2014: I Am Troy Davis and The Last Lawyer.


Political Science 718, Spring 2014, Graduate Seminar on Agenda-Setting


Political Science 421, Fall 2013, Framing Public Policies


Political Science 195, Spring 2013, The End of the Death Penalty


Political Science 495, Spring 2013, Framing Public Policies


Political Science 891, Fall 2012, Graduate Seminar on Framing


Political Science 891, Fall 2011, Graduate Seminar on Agenda-Setting


Political Science 891, Spring 2011, Graduate Seminar on Framing


Senior theses I have supervised at Carolina:

Anna W. Dietrich, on the suprisingly low odds that people sentenced to death will actually be executed, based on a comprehensive analysis of all US death sentences from 1972 through 2011. (Winner, Terry Sanford Award for the best honors thesis in political science, 2014.) Anna and I are going to work on a revision of the thesis to submit as a journal article over the summer of 2014.


BJ Dworak, on the differences and similarities between traditional media (newpapers, radio, TV) and a sample of politically relevant and highly salient blogs and twitter accounts. (Winner, Terry Sanford Award for the best honors thesis in political science, 2013.) BJ is currently attending Duke Law School and working on their Innocence Project. With graduate student John Lovett, we submitted a revised version of BJ's thesis for publication to the journal Political Communication in April 2014.


Alex Loyal, on trends in the introduction of bills relating to the death penalty across the 50 states, from 1990 to 2010. (2013) Alex began attending Georgetown Law in Fall 2013.


Lindsey Stephens, on the impact of the creation of a state-wide Indigent Defense Services agency on the use of the death penalty. (2012) Lindsey started Duke Law School in Fall 2012.


Max Rose, on the changing media framing of poverty and the move from relatively generous to relatively stingy government spending on poverty in response to those frames. (Winner, Terry Sanford Award for the best honors thesis in political science, 2011.) Max and I published a paper in Policy Studies Journal based on this thesis and Max now works for a non-profit in Durham, NC, focusing on poverty.


Alissa Ellis, on the history of North Carolina's death penalty with a special focus on the execution of those with issues of mental capacity or mental illness. (2011) Alissa started UNC-Law in Fall 2012 and is currently (2013-15) the President of the UNC-Law Death Penalty Project.


Agenda-setting seminar, Nov 23, 2010 in Aldrich and MacKuen's core seminar on American institutions.


Political Science 083, Fall 2010, First year Seminar on Politics in France


Political Science 495, Fall 2010, The Decline of the Death Penalty


Political Science 891, Spring 2010, Graduate Seminar on Agenda-Setting


Political Science 065, Fall 2009, First year Seminar on Pressure and Power


Political Science 195, Fall 2009, Framing and Public Policy


Agenda-setting seminar, Dec 1 2009, in Aldrich and MacKuen's core seminar on American institutions.


Courses at Penn State


PLSC 497, Protests, Social Movements, and Public Policy, Spring 2009 (team-taught with Prof. John McCarthy)

PLSC 083T, First-Year Seminar, Lobbying, Power, and Democracy, Fall 2008

PLSC 541, Graduate Seminar in American Institutions, Fall 2008

PLSC 497, Politics in France, Spring 2008

PLSC 497, Social Movements and Public Policy, Spring 2008

PLSC 083S.1, First-Year Seminar: Power in America, Fall 2007

Atelier de recherche, Sciences Po Paris, Mai-Juin 2007

PLSC 541, Graduate Seminar in Agenda-Setting, Fall 2006

PLSC / SOC 497 Research Fellowship in the Social Sciences, Spring 2006 (with John McCarthy).

PLSC 497 Public Policy and Agenda-Setting, Spring 2006

PLSC 497 Public Policy and Agenda-Setting, Fall 2005

PLSC / SOC 497 Research Fellowship in the Social Sciences, Spring 2004 (with John McCarthy). This course is especially suited to students interested in getting hands-on experience with an independent research project in the areas of public policy or social movements.

PLSC 501 Graduate Seminar in Research Design, Fall 2003

PLSC 596 Readings Course on Issue-Definition and Agenda-Setting, Summer 2003

PLSC/SOC 497B Research Fellowship in Political Science / Sociology, Fall 2002 - Spring 2003

Spring 2003 syllabus

Fall 2002 syllabus

Resources, links, and data

PLSC 501 Graduate Seminar in Research Design, Fall 2002


Weekly writing assignments, discussion topics, and links

PLSC 501 Graduate Seminar in Research Design, Fall 2001

PLSC 083S Freshman Seminar: Lobbying the Federal Government, Fall 2001

PLSC 540 Graduate Seminar in American National Institutions, Spring 2000

PLSC 197C Democracy in the United States and France, Fall 1999

A Graduate Syllabus on Interest Groups, Spring 1998

A Graduate Syllabus on Agenda-Setting, Spring 1997

A Reading List on Agenda Setting. Can be useful for graduate students or others looking for a place to begin reading on the topic. (Updated 1998)

A Big Bibliography. A useful reference. This is a list of citations that I've compiled from various publications, mostly my own. It includes the references included in Basic Interests, Policy Dynamics, The Politics of Attention, and other publications. It therefore covers the areas of interest groups and public policy pretty well, with various other items included. It is not exhaustive, but it is long and can be useful. CAUTION: This bibliography is about 92 pages long. (Updated February 2005)

Some useful tips for undergraduates and others thinking about applying for professional school or graduate school. Includes links to useful web sites as well as a slide show with some pointers and suggestions. (Updated, October 1, 2008)

Some pointers and suggestions for graduate students

Examples of book proposals that I've written. These are just examples that might be useful for other authors thinking of proposing a book to a university press.

Agendas and Instability in American Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993); proposal from 1991.

Basic Interests (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998); proposal from 1997.



updated: July 30, 2014



2 page CV

Teaching Materials



Conference Papers

Policy Agendas Project

Comparative Agendas Projects

Lobbying and Public Policy

Death Penalty

Research Opportunities
for Students

UNC PhD Placement