Political Science Researcher Receives First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal

James Walsh, a core faculty member in the Public Policy program and professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, is the 2020 recipient of the First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal, UNC Charlotte’s most prestigious faculty award in recognition of excellence in research. He was honored at a special ceremony Tuesday, March 10 at the Harris Alumni Center at Johnson Glen.

“Dr. Walsh’s work is theoretically rich and influential within the political science community,” said James Piazza, political science professor at Pennsylvania State University. “In contrast to much quality academic research in political science, Walsh’s work has real policy implications and applications. It is because of this that he has been a frequent consultant and invited speaker of U.S. and foreign government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.”

Walsh’s work has been published by Columbia University Press, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly and other outlets. His most recent book, “Drones and Support for the Use of Force,” uses experimental research to analyze the effects of combat drones on Americans’ support for the use of force.

“I see Dr. Walsh’s work as among the most innovative and exciting research currently ongoing in international conflict studies,” said Michael Findley, professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. “He is actively publishing in leading journals and successfully landing large amounts of grant money. In all of this, he has remained committed to working with students, actively mentoring many of them on his various projects.”

Walsh serves as lead principal investigator on the Minerva Research Initiative grant supporting the Resources and Conflict project, which analyzes combatants’ strategic and military choices during civil war. The project also develops new research designed to improve understanding of the dynamics of conflict and contributes to the development of policies that resolve conflicts.

Walsh earned a doctorate in international relations from American University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Trinity College.

“We’re delighted to continue our longstanding relationship with UNC Charlotte in presenting the 2020 Scholars Medal,” said Kim Allred, senior vice president for First Citizens Bank. “It speaks to our company’s Forever First commitment to our community and the University’s prominence that this partnership has continued to be successful for 33 years. This year, we take great pride in honoring one of the top scholars in the field of political science. It’s a great privilege for us to join with the University in recognizing Dr. Walsh and his prestigious and important work.”

The First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal was created to spotlight the important contributions UNC Charlotte and its faculty are making, not only in its community, but throughout the Carolinas, the nation and the world. Past award recipients have influenced scholarship in a number of academic disciplines and fields, including engineering, psychology, sociology, anthropology, biology, history, arts and education.

James Walsh, second right, receives a citation from Chancellor Philip Dubois, right, as the recipient of the First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal. Also pictured are Tom Reynolds, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School; Provost Joan Lorden, Nancy Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; and First Citizens Bank’s Kim Allred.

Words: Jenn Howe | Images: Wade Bruton