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Blankenau Named Distinguished Political Science Alumnus

Published Monday, May 15th, 2017

The University of Nebraska-Kearney honored Dr. Joe Blankenau, professor of political science at WSC and a 1989 alumnus of Kearney State College, at a banquet April 20.

Joe BlankenauThe University of Nebraska-Kearney recently named Dr. Joe Blankenau, professor of political science at Wayne State College, as a Distinguished Political Science Alumnus.

Blankenau is a 1989 graduate of Kearney State College who majored in political science. He also earned a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1995.

“I am very grateful to receive this recognition from UNK,” said Blankenau. “I was fortunate to have received an excellent education from there many years ago. I am particularly impressed with their political science department with top-notch faculty engaged in excellent research and dedicated to undergraduate education.”

Blankenau was recognized at UNK’s Political Science Scholar Recognition Banquet on April 20 in Kearney, where he also delivered the George W. Norris lecture, entitled “The Case for Politics and the Study of Political Science.”

Blankenau has been on the faculty at WSC teaching courses in political science and in social science research since 1997. He received the WSC Student Senate Teaching award in 2012 and the State Nebraska Bank and Trust Teaching Excellence Award in 2016.

His research has focused on public policy, and he has authored and co-authored articles in journals such as the Policy Studies Journal, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, and Sociological Spectrum. In 2002, he won the Theodore Lowi Award from the Policy Studies Organization for an article comparing health policy development in Canada and the United States. He currently is working with members from the University of Nebraska Medical Center on a research project regarding mental health care in rural Nebraska.

“I appreciate everyone at WSC who push for providing a strong academic experience for our students and all of the students who take that opportunity,” said Blankenau. “I have really been impressed with where many of our political science students have gone since leaving WSC. Many have taken on the challenge of public service, working in law, government, advocacy, and more.”