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Michael Welsh

Photo of Michael Welsh
Political Science
Rhodes Hall S263 • M-3400

My favorite thing about teaching politics at Keene State is the students. Keene (and New Hampshire generally) has a very lively political culture, probably a product of being a popular stop for candidates hoping to do well in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary. Students are accustomed to seeing famous politicians up close. They know what it is like to work on campaigns – or to be targeted by campaign efforts. They have developed their own opinions and know how to discuss politics and political issues, even with those they disagree with. Political science classrooms at Keene State can thus be lively places. I am pleased when students leave a class with me mindful of the problems of US politics and yet convinced of the possibility that their attention and participation can make a difference. 

I am originally from Pennsylvania but spent a lot of time growing up in Iowa, another early primary state. My educational background focused on environmental science, politics, and policy. I have been at Keene State for 10 years. At Keene State I teach courses in American government and politics, public policy, political theory, and the environment. My prior research looked at institutions of national American politics (agencies, interest groups, federal and state officials) and their ability to design collaborative or inclusive methods of involving the public in environmental decision-making. Recently I have begun looking at public interpretations of political participation and notions of urban sustainability, hoping to make comparisons with other cities and countries that will increase the likelihood of effective responsiveness to population and energy pressures and climate change. 

In Keene I am active in local politics and have served for several years as on the city’s Planning Board and Master Plan development committee. My wife and three children and I all enjoy Keene as a place where one can ski, garden, kayak, fly-fish, backpack, and ride bikes for miles on trails in and out of town. 

Degrees and Credentials: BS, Civil Engineering, University of Iowa; MS, Environmental Studies, University of Montana; PhD, Political Science, University of Oregon.

Professional Interests: Teaching American government and politics; public and environmental policy; classic and contemporary political theory; political participation and power; writing and research. Past and current research on agency behavior and public involvement; federal environmental policy history; state and local environmental policy; public thinking about politics, participation, and sustainability. 

Professional Background: Previously served as Assistant Professor of Political Science, Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania. Instructor of Political Science, University of Oregon. Director of Programs, Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, Arkville, New York. Environmental Engineer, EA Hickock and Associates, Wayzata, Minnesota.

Awards and Appointments: Presidents’ Good Steward Award, Campus Compact for New Hampshire. Elected Trustee, Keene State Endowment Association. Appointed to Planning Board, City of Keene. Elected Chair of Master Plan Committee and Vice-Chair of Planning Board, City of Keene. Keene State College Professional Development Grants (2005, 2011, 2012). Nominee, Lindback Teaching Award and Shirk Award for Outstanding Faculty Scholarship, Albright College. Small Research Grant Recipient, American Political Science Association.

Selected Publications:

“Program Assessment – 2009 Teaching and Learning Summary,” with Troy Glander, Susan Martin, Paul Sum, and Russell Mayer, in PS: Political Science and Politics. Vol. 42 No. 3 (July 2009). “Fast-Forward to a Participatory Norm: Agency Response to Public Mobilization Over Oil and Gas Leasing in Pennsylvania,” in State and Local Government Review. Vol. 36, No. 3 (Fall 2004). “Reactions of the National Environmental Groups to Devolution,” in Society and Natural Resources. Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring 2004). “Beyond Designed Capture: A Re-Analysis of the Beginnings of Public Range Management, 1928-1938,” in Social Science History. Vol. 26, No. 2 (Summer 2002).   "From the Interpersonal to the Environmental: Extending the Ethics of Levinas to Human Ecology," in Human Ecology Review. Winter 1998.

Personal: Married with three children. I like to backpack, fly-fish and ski.