Dr. Nichola Driver and Dr. Robert C. Richards, Jr. have been announced as assistant professors at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. The official start date for both is July 1.
“Dr. Driver and Dr. Richards are great additions to the Clinton School,” Associate Dean Susan Hoffpauir said. “In addition to teaching, Dr. Driver served as the director of Nonprofit Leadership Studies at UA Little Rock. Dr. Richards has taught in the Department of Communication at Penn State University since 2015 and was the recipient of the Carroll C. Arnold Award for Scholarly Excellence. Additionally, both have an impressive number of publications for their early-stage careers – Dr. Driver in the areas of sociology and health and Dr. Richards in the areas of deliberation and communication.”
Most recently, Driver served as a visiting assistant professor at UA Little Rock in the School of Public Affairs where she led the Nonprofit Leadership Studies program. She oversaw service learning projects, internships, and taught courses in program evaluation, health policy, and nonprofit leadership and service.
She will teach Field Research Methods and Program Evaluation at the Clinton School of Public Service.
Her research areas include reproductive health disparities, health policy, and program evaluation and methods. She is currently working on projects related to attitudes toward teen pregnancy, both nationally and in Arkansas, breastfeeding rates among Hispanic immigrants, maternal mental health, and creating healthy communities in Mexico through participatory action.
Driver holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in public administration from UA Little Rock.
Richards was most recently a postdoctoral teaching fellow in the Penn State University Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. His research interests are democratic deliberation, participatory governance, and political and legal communication and information.
He will teach Communication Processes and Social (Ex)Change at the Clinton School of Public Service.
Richards has taught undergraduate courses in legal rhetoric, speech communication, and group communication. He conducts research as part of the Participedia Project – an international research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada – which studies how citizens participate in governance in many different countries, and the research team that studies the Citizens’ Initiative Review method of citizen deliberation.
He has co-authored articles in numerous academic journals, including “Making Policy Information Relevant to Citizens: A Model of Deliberative Mini-Publics, Applied to the Citizens’ Initiative Review” in Policy & Politics, and “Embracing Digital Democracy: A Call for Building an Online Civic Commons” with John Gastil in PS: Political Science & Politics.
He has presented papers at the annual conferences of the National Communication Association and the Law and Society Association.
Richards received his Ph.D. from Penn State in 2016 and his juris doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2006.
Clinton School assistant professor Dr. Ellen Fitzpatrick will be on unpaid leave from August 2018 to May 2019 while working as a scholar in residence with Merrimack College and Catholic Relief Services University.