Located just five minutes from the Mississippi State Capitol building, Millsaps College offers a unique opportunity for you to pursue a degree in political science in a city that is shaped by politics. Professors in the Political Science Department will challenge you to develop your own perspectives on politics in a scholarly and professional way. Small class sizes ensure you will get the attention you need from professors as well as promote discussions in ways that a larger classroom setting cannot.

  • Iren Omo-Bare

    Iren Omo-Bare

    Associate Professor of Political Science



    B.A., M.A., University of Delaware; Ph.D., Louisiana State University

  • Robert Pearigen

    Robert W. Pearigen

    President of the College; Professor of Political Science



    B.A., The University of the South; M.A., Ph.D., Duke University

    A native of Memphis, Tenn., Dr. Pearigen is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he earned a bachelor of arts in political science. He received his master's and doctoral degrees in political science from Duke University. His post-graduate study included constitutional law, judicial process and political theory, particularly the work of Plato and Aristotle. His academic fields of interest include public law, political theory, and American government.

    Over his career, Dr. Pearigen has served as a secondary school teacher and trustee and in higher education as a professor, dean of students, and vice president for university relations. As Millsaps' president, Dr. Pearigen has launched a comprehensive college-wide strategic plan entitled “Across the Street and Around the Globe: Partnerships and Influence at Millsaps College.” Rooted in the college’s values, mission, and purpose, the strategic plan has been animated by a growing awareness of the need to make the most of Millsaps’ distinctive strengths, including its location in the capital city of Mississippi, its international programs and partnerships (including a 4,500-acre biocultural reserve in the Yucatán), and the unique combination of a liberal arts college with a business school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

    It's unusual for college presidents with academic credentials to continue to teach. However, President Pearigen has continued to teach throughout his administrative career because, in his words, "It connects me with a small group of students in close and personal way; it reinforces my relationship with my faculty colleagues who are engaged in the classroom experience; and it keeps me in touch with my academic discipline and the core academic mission and purpose of the institution."

    As a faculty member at Millsaps, Dr. Pearigen teaches courses in constitutional law, civil rights and liberties, jurisprudence, and political theory. He is an advocate for, and believer in, liberal arts education as intrinsically meaningful for individuals as well as the very best preparation for a good and worthy life of learning, leadership, and service.

  • Nathan R. Shrader

    Nathan R. Shrader

    Assistant Professor of Political Science



    B.A., Thiel College; M.S., Suffolk University; Ph.D., Temple University

    Before arriving at Millsaps in fall 2014, Nathan Shrader served successively as legislative aide and deputy director of communications to Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll, legislative aide to Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter in the Virginia General Assembly, and research analyst at Abrams Learning and Information Systems under General John N. Abrams (retired). He most recently worked from 2009 to 2014 at the Center on Regional Politics at Temple University and was an adjunct professor at Drexel and Neumann Universities. Shrader earlier served as legislative intern in Washington for United States Senator Arlen Specter, legislative intern to Pennsylvania State Representative Rod E. Wilt, and as a clerk under Westmoreland County (PA) Recorder of Deeds Tom Murphy. He has worked as a consultant, manager, staffer, and volunteer on more than two dozen campaigns for federal, state, and local candidates.

    Through his own unique experiences both studying and practicing the art of politics and governance, Shrader encourages his students to build bridges between the theoretical and the real-world application of political science. His main areas of academic interest include state and local government, political history, the presidency, political marketing, campaigns and elections, political parties, and public policy.

  • Kenneth L. Townsend

    Kenneth L. Townsend

    Assistant Professor of Political Science



    B.A., Millsaps College; M.Phil., Oxford University; M.A., J.D., Yale University

    A 2004 graduate of Millsaps College, Kenneth Townsend returned to his alma mater in 2012 to serve as Assistant Professor of Political Science and to work as Special Assistant to Millsaps President Rob Pearigen.

    With graduate degrees in law, religion, and political theory, Kenneth teaches courses in political and legal theory, ethics, and constitutional law. His academic research and writing concern the role of religion in a democracy and the moral foundations of law. Kenneth loves teaching and has been known to offer one-on-one directed study courses for students who develop out-of-the-ordinary interests.

    Committed to connecting theory and practice, Kenneth regularly brings judges, elected officials, and community leaders to speak to his classes. Kenneth also serves on the board of directors for various local, national, and international nonprofit organizations, and every semester he helps connect students with jobs and internships in government, political consulting, economic development, and private law in Jackson and beyond.

    Kenneth is also charged with helping make Millsaps Jackson's "public square" by organizing discussions and debates on matters of public significance. Recent public forums have included prominent local and national leaders and have explored topics such as the role of religion in public life, public education reform, the shift from print to electronic media, and the Affordable Care Act's impact on Mississippi.

    A recipient of the Truman Scholarship for Public Service and the Rhodes Scholarship, Kenneth chairs the National Fellowships Committee at Millsaps and works closely with students who apply for these and other fellowships.