Research News

State of the Union address – Vanderbilt experts available

President Obama is set to speak to the nation on Jan. 20 for his 2015 State of the Union address. Vanderbilt has an array of experts available to comment.


Vanderbilt Political Science Geer
John Geer (Vanderbilt University)

Presidential Elections · Campaigns · Polling · Attack Ads · Civility in Politics

John Geer, Distinguished Professor of Political Science

Geer will look at the speech and what it could mean for the 2016 presidential election. Does he take implicit shots at some GOP contenders? Does he signal support for a candidate? Geer has written extensively on political campaigns, including articles on incivility in campaigns, the impact of negative campaigning on voter participation and the news media’s coverage of negativity. Geer co-chairs Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and the Vanderbilt Poll.


Marc Hetherington Vanderbilt Political Science
Marc Hetherington (Vanderbilt)

Political Party Polarization · Presidential Elections · Political Parties · Public Opinion Polls · Trust in Government · Media and Politics

Marc Hetherington, professor of political science

Hetherington can discuss party polarization. For example, does the speech provide evidence that there might be opportunities to work across the aisle to solve problems or does the election of a Republican Senate not seem to make much difference in that regard? He can also discuss presidential elections, voting, public opinion polls, media coverage during a campaign, anti-government campaign rhetoric and how trust in government affects elections and public policy. Hetherington wrote Why Trust Matters: Declining Political Trust and the Demise of American Liberalism.


David Lewis (Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt)

American Politics · Presidency · Executive and Bureaucracy · Presidential Transitions · Presidential Power

David E. Lewis, professor of political science

Lewis teaches and writes about the presidency, executive politics, presidential appointments and public administration. Among his current projects is a study of the political views of government agencies and their employees. His most recent book, The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance, explores why and how modern presidents including George W. Bush have politicized the bureaucracy and the consequences. Lewis is co-chair of Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.


College Access for Minorities · Dream Act

Stella Flores
Stella Flores (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

Stella Flores, assoc. prof. of public policy and higher education

Flores is an expert on the impact of state and federal policies on college access, as well as completion for low-income and underrepresented populations. She can speak on the role of alternative admissions plans and financial aid programs, and completion rates at minority-serving institutions.

Will Doyle
Will Doyle (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)


Will Doyle, assoc. prof. of public policy and higher education

Doyle is a higher education policy expert. He investigates state and federal financial supports for higher education, including need-based and merit-based aid policies. He is associate professor of public policy and higher education.