J. Mark Wrighton, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

J. Mark Wrighton, Ph.D., has served as an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern Mississippi since August of 2009.  Dr. Wrighton has also served in two key administrative roles at USM:  Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from February 2011 to December 2012 and Associate Dean for Gulf Coast Operations from August 2009 to February 2011.

Dr. Wrighton holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University, a master’s degree from the University of Alabama, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Iowa in political science.  Prior to his service at USM, he served as Chairperson of the Department of Political Science at Millikin University in Decatur, IL from 2007 to 2009 and as a member of the faculty at the University of New Hampshire from 2000 to 2007.  From 1997 to 2000 he served as a lecturer at the University of Texas – Pan American.

As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Wrighton served as the Dean’s representative in curricular matters, leading the efforts of the College’s curriculum committee, supervising the College’s assessment efforts, and coordinating with the university’s institutional effectiveness staff.  Additionally, he supervised the student service staff and interacted with students as the Dean’s representative in the suspension process and on disciplinary matters.  As Associate Dean for Gulf Coast Operations, Dr. Wrighton managed a budget of $1.76M, supervised 21 full-time and 13 part-time faculty members from across several disciplines, worked with their respective Chairs in Hattiesburg, and built ties with the local community.

As Chair at Millikin University, Dr. Wrighton led the revitalization of the department, including a rejuvenation of the curriculum, the development of an assessment plan, and a renewal in the department’s engagement in university life.

J. Mark Wrighton’s primary research interests are American political institutions, congressional elections, and political behavior, and he is a frequent national commentator on American elections and local political trends.  He has published research pieces in the American Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Behavior, Congress and the Presidency, and The American Review of Politics and, in 2004 – 2005, participated in the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship Program on the staff of the House Republican Policy Committee.

Dr. Wrighton is an unflagging advocate for experiential education.  Throughout his long-standing affiliation with The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, he has participated in the program’s activities as a faculty advisor and has encouraged student participation.  He is also active in community efforts such as the American Heart Association’s annual Heartwalk, leading the College of Arts and Letters effort in 2012 and the USM coast campus effort in 2010 to record donation levels.

Dr. Wrighton's Curriculum Vitae (6 page PDF)