Department of  Political Science
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Visiting Fulbright Scholar Focuses on Politicians and their Office Strategies

Date: 7/17/2018

 Visiting Fulbright Scholar Focuses on

Politicians and their Office Strategies

The tumultuous political climate in the United States is a “breathtaking” backdrop to Fulbright Scholar Marek Rybar’s contemporary analysis of whether a politician’s individual characteristics influence their performance in office.
From a country where democracy is in its infancy, Dr. Rybar, of the Slovak Republic, has been awarded a six-month scholarship (January through June 2018) to pore over volumes of books, journals and periodicals that don’t exist in his homeland. His grant supports the theoretical framework he is developing for a study of Parliament officials since the fall of Communism in 1989. Looking at variables like gender, upbringing, education, party affiliations and debate performances, he hopes to identify patterns in elected leaders. “I am analyzing what has been written about our political system over the last 29 years,” he says. “The volumes of written information I find here, I would not find there.”

He chose WSU because of past work with Associate Professor Kevin Deegan-Krause of the Political Science Department, whose expertise is in the study of Eastern European democracies. Dr. Deegan-Krause is a 2008 Fulbright alumnus who taught and studied at Masaryk University, where Professor Rybar is on the faculty.
Arriving at WSU in January, Dr. Rybar is among the more than 8,000 students, educators and professionals annually awarded short- and long-term Fulbright scholarships to teach and conduct research across the globe. WSU proudly welcomes Fulbright awardees from abroad and supports faculty and staff chosen to collaborate with colleagues around the world.

Dr. Rybar spends the majority of his days at local libraries. On Monday evenings he teaches a course on European politics and says he finds students engaging because of their confidence to ask questions and express their political opinions. In fact, this freedom of expression is quite different from what he encountered in 2009 while in Michigan collaborating with Deegan-Krause in writing an academic paper. This time around, he has daily encounters with people who offer unsolicited opinions about the state of governmental affairs. “Now, even at the grocery store, people are much more forthcoming about their views on the nation’s political situation,” says Rybar.

He has also noticed that the politics of the two countries are no longer polar opposites but moving to a more common middle, which he finds unusual because of the nearly 200-year difference in the births of each government.

The Department of Political Science is pleased to offer a temporary home and assistance in Professor Rybar’s research.