Once achieving his MA in American Government from Appalachian State University, Justin Kirkland went on to receive his PhD in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012. Now an Associate Professor of Politics and Policy in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics and Frank Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, Justin Kirkland says "my two years at App were essential to all my educational and professional successes." He explains how Appalachian's program helped developed professional and scholarly skills, as well as learning the meaning behind modern social science. Mentors in the Government and Justice Studies Department, especially Dr. Newmark and Dr. Ardoin, made Kirkland feel at home. Through their assistance, his growth and improvements developed a desire to continue his education. Kirkland attributes success in his PhD program and current capabilities as a professor to his time at Appalachian.
Dr. Kirland's primary research areas include subnational politics, representation, and legislative politics in the U.S. During his career, he has published two books: Indecision in American Legislatures (University of Michigan Press, coauthored with Jeffrey Harden) and Roll Call Rebels: Strategic Dissent in the United States and United Kingdom (Cambridge University Press, co-authored with Jonathan Slapin). Additionally, his research has been published in more than two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles. A recent recipient of the American Political Science Association's Legislative Studies Section Emerging Scholar Award, Kirkland also currently serves as a co-editor of Legislative Studies Quarterly, the discipline's leading journal on legislative politics.