I'm a professor in the Government Department at the College of William and Mary, where I've been on the faculty since 1987. My main research and teaching interests are in the area of American national institutions. I'm the author of two books: Congress Under Fire: Reform Politics and the Republican Majority, with Walter Oleszek (Houghton Mifflin, 1997) and Leadership in Committee: A Comparative Analysis of Leadership Behavior in the U.S. Senate (University of Michigan Press, 1991, 2001), as well as a number of articles and book chapters about congressional politics.
Currently, I have several ongoing research projects that combine my interests in congressional scholarship and undergraduate education. One is an analysis of partisan coalition building on Capitol Hill, which will result in a book, tentatively entitled The Whip Systems of Congress. The project has already benefited significantly from the research assistance of dozens of William and Mary students. A few years ago, a New York Times political blog featured an entry about the project and the role of congressional whips in general. A data archive that includes information about over 650 whip counts from the U.S. House can be accessed with the menu item to the left.
Over the years, I've served in a variety of staff positions in Congress and enjoy advising students about professional opportunities on Capitol Hill. During 1991-92, as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, I spent the academic year learning about the Congress while working in the personal office of a prominent member of the U.S. House. In 1992-93, I served as professional staff to the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, a temporary, bipartisan panel charged with formulating proposals for reforming the House and Senate. I also have served as co-editor of the Legislative Studies Quarterly (2003-07), the leading scholarly journal specializing in legislatures, and as chair of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association (2011-13).
My PhD in political science is from the University of Rochester, where I was fortunate to be able to take courses from Professors Richard F. Fenno, Jr., William H. Riker, and Larry M. Bartels, among other scholars. Over the years, I’ve also been privileged to work with and learn from coauthors like Richard L. Hall, Dan Lipinski, and Walter Oleszek.