French named political science, public administration department head

P. Edward “Eddie” French

A longtime faculty member in Mississippi State’s College of Arts and Sciences is the new permanent leader of its Department of Political Science and Public Administration.

Professor P. Edward “Eddie” French has served the PSPA department on an interim basis since 2016.

“I believe Dr. French will bring much to the department, and I am excited at the prospect of his leading the department going forward,” said Rick Travis, College of Arts and Sciences interim dean and political science professor.

French has held multiple positions in the PSPA department since joining the MSU faculty in 2008. In addition to teaching, he has served as the department’s graduate coordinator, as well as executive director of the university’s John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development.

French said his past leadership roles have familiarized him with all aspects of the PSPA department, and he’s confident that knowledge will serve him well in his new role.

“I hope to lead the department in finding new and innovative ways to offer classes and share research around the country and world,” he said.

French described MSU’s PSPA undergraduate program as one of the College of Arts and Sciences’ leading programs. The department, he said, continues to grow and gain national recognition through programs such as the Mississippi Model Security Council and the Stennis/Montgomery Association.

MSU is listed among U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 Best Public Affairs Schools for its master’s degree program in public policy and administration. The PSPA department’s doctoral program also is recognized throughout the Southeast.

Additionally, the department has continued to place graduates in tenure track positions and administrative positions at universities nationwide, including Appalachian State University, Boise State University, the University of Mississippi, Virginia Tech and Cornell University.

An MSU public policy and public administration doctoral graduate, French received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Tennessee. He also holds two master’s degrees – one in city management from East Tennessee State University and the other in education administration from the University of Virginia.

French recently received the American Society for Public Administration’s Section on Personnel Administration and Labor Relations Outstanding Scholar Award. The prestigious national recognition honors lifetime achievement in the field of public human resource management in terms of research, teaching and service.

“It is an honor to have been nominated and to have won, and I am deeply humbled,” said French, who has authored more than 50 publications, the majority of which have focused on the public human resources field. He also has served as editor-in-chief of “Public Personnel Management,” one of the field’s leading journals.

MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,000 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 24 academic majors offered in 14 departments. It also is home to the most diverse units for research and scholarly activities, including natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities.

For more on the College of Arts and Sciences, visit; its Department of Political Science and Public Administration at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Karyn Brown | College of Arts and Sciences

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