Political Science

Diane L. Duffin

Diane L. Duffin

Associate Professor and Chair
Founders Hall , 2228
(308) 865-8758
duffind@unk.edu
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B.J., University of Missouri
Ph.D., University of Missouri - St. Louis
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Joined UNK Faculty: 1997

American Government and Politics

People who study American government and politics focus on the how the institutions of American national government – Congress, the presidency, federal bureaucracies – make public policy.  Important questions driving inquiry in this subfield include:

  • How do the rules and structures of government institutions influence the policy outcomes government produces?  How do office holders employ those rules to produced desired policy outcomes?
  • To what extent is U.S. government responsive to the policy preferences of citizens?
  • What mix of goals motivates the political and policy choices of public officials?
  • How do we reconcile policymaking by unelected public officials – judges, justices and bureaucrats – with the values associated with democracy?
  • How do political actors outside of government, like interest groups and political parties, influence the policy choices of office holders?

On working with undergraduate students:
“There is a lot I like about working with undergraduates.  I like the enthusiasm and excitement of freshmen in their first semesters.  I admire the dedication and persistence of upper division Political Science majors who tough out Political Inquiry and Senior Seminar courses.  Few things please me more than rooting for the student who works really hard to earn a B in my class, or the triumphant relief evident on a student’s face when they realize they have just given a public presentation and lived.  But I think my favorite thing is when students in Introduction to American Politics tell me, “I didn’t really want to take this class, but I’m glad I did.  It was way more interesting than I thought it would be.”  To me, those students have taken a giant step toward maturing as citizens, and I’m grateful that I got to help that process along.”

Favorite quasi-political quote:
“Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government"  -- Dennis, the constitutional peasant in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”