Keith Smith

Keith Smith

Associate Professor
Stockton
Email Address:
Phone Number:

An associate professor of Political Science at the University of the Pacific, Professor Smith will teach regularly in the McGeorge public policy program.  He will most frequently teach Public Policy Statistics and Public Policy Research Tools.

A graduate of Pepperdine University, with a Master of Public Management from the University of Maryland, and then a PhD in Political Science at UC Berkeley, Dr. Smith has spent his career studying the intersection of public policy, political institutions, and public administration. While at the University of Maryland, Dr. Smith focused on social welfare policy, where he worked on welfare and low-income housing issues, in addition to a broader training in administrative processes and management. 

While at UC Berkeley, Dr. Smith's work focused on the ways in which political institutions interact to create public policies. His dissertation, which was nominated for the APSA Leonard D. White Award for best dissertation in public administration, examined how the U.S. Congress seeks to monitor and influence the behavior of federal administrative agencies. 

More recently, Dr. Smith has worked on questions of elections administration, studying the impact of different electoral reforms at the state and local level. He is currently working on a book assessing the impact of the top-two system of elections used by California and Washington.

Education

BA, Political Science, Pepperdine University
Master of Public Management, University of Maryland
Master of Arts, Political Science, University of California Berkeley
PhD, Political Science, University of California Berkeley

Curriculum Vitae
smithcv.pdf (122.06 KB)
Teaching Interests

My approach to teaching has three major components:

First, I use empirical evidence from current political science research to help students examine the conventional wisdom and their own assumptions about government and politics. I take the "science" part of political science seriously. My students and I are part of a collective enterprise to understand the world of politics. In order to contribute to that effort, it is necessary to focus our effort on those claims and relationships that can be empirically proven.

Second, I rely on active-teaching techniques. I firmly believe that we learn more by doing and teaching others than by hearing. I structure my upper-division courses as seminars, and make students partly responsible for teaching the material. Even in my larger introductory courses I try not to lecture, and when I do I rarely use slides and make frequent use of formative assessment opportunities.

Third, I believe that frequent, if not continuous, change is good for my courses. Almost no two of my syllabi for a course are the same.

Each time I offer a course it evolves as I look for ways to make it better for the students in light of current knowledge, what I learn about pedagogy, and to respond to what we learn from our assessment of the objectives in the department's capstone course. 

What I hope students learn from my courses is how to apply the concepts and theories that we discuss in class to what they see happening in the political world around them. I am more interested in students learning how to use the ideas than I am in students learning important names and dates. Change in the political world takes time and is hard fought. Having a solid foundation makes it easier

Research Focus

I have spent my career studying the intersection of public policy, political institutions, and public administration. My dissertation, which was nominated for the APSA Leonard D. White Award for best dissertation in public administration, and early work examined how the U.S. Congress seeks to monitor and influence the behavior of federal administrative agencies. More recently, I have worked on questions of elections administration, studying the impact of different electoral reforms at the state and local level. I am currently working on a book assessing the impact of the top-two system of elections used by California and Washington.