Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Political Science Professor Awarded 2017 Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor

August 18, 2017

By Lacey L. Gray
Director of Marketing and Communications
Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

Jody Baumgartner

Dr. Jody Baumgartner, East Carolina University professor of political science, was named Distinguished Professor at the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences annual convocation on Aug. 18. Baumgartner is the 19th member of the faculty to be honored with the title of Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor.


“This is quite an honor; an unexpected honor, at that. It is truly humbling,” said Baumgartner. 


The THCAS Distinguished Professorship is the highest honor within the college and is conferred upon a professor whose career exemplifies a commitment to and a love for knowledge and academic life, as demonstrated by outstanding teaching and advising, research and creative productivity, and professional service.

“Dr Jody Baumgartner is an exceptional scholar and well-deserving of the college's highest honor of Distinguished Professor,” said Dr. Alethia Cook, chair of the Department of Political Science.


While at ECU, Baumgartner has displayed the qualities and characteristics required of a Distinguished Professor.


“The criteria for this professorship are many, including national and international leadership through publications and research activity,” writes a colleague in a letter of nomination. “Dr. Baumgartner’s accomplishments are, simply put, impressive and speak compellingly to this criterion.”


As a professor, Baumgartner teaches courses in American politics. In the past, he has served as faculty advisor to the ECU chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society.


In his professional activities, Baumgartner serves as digital media director for ECU’s Department of Political Science and the North Carolina Political Science Association. He is chair of the Department of Political Science’s personnel committee and co-chair of the assessment committee. Over the years, he has served on the editorial board of Social Science Computer Review, and beginning this year he is the North American editor for the Journal of Political Marketing.


Baumgartner is the author of seven books, including “The Vice Presidency: From the Shadow to the Spotlight,” “Politics Is a Joke! How TV Comedians Are Remaking Political Life,” and “Laughing Matters: Humor and American Politics in the Media Age.”


Throughout his career, Baumgartner has been recognized locally and nationally for his research and creative activity in the areas of humor and politics, and the Vice Presidency.


In 2009 and 2011, Baumgartner was one of four top scholars, who study the vice presidency, that were invited by Vice President Joe Biden to his residence for dinner and a discussion about the office and other hot topics.

“Jody is already one of America’s top political communication scholars and its best student of the vice presidency, and he shows no sign of slowing down,” writes another colleague. “His work is undeniably deserving of recognition and award.”