Baylor Political Science Professors Awarded Outstanding Academic Titles by Choice Magazine

January 22, 2015

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Terry Goodrich
WACO, Texas (Jan. 22, 2015) – Each year, an exclusive group of academic titles are selected by Choice, a premier source of academic books and digital resources for scholars and students in higher education. This year, two Baylor professors made the list: Jerold Waltman, Ph.D., professor of political science, for his book “Congress, the Supreme Court, and Religious Liberty,” and Timothy Burns, Ph.D., professor of political science, for his book “Shakespeare’s Political Wisdom.”
In awarding Outstanding Academic Titles, the editors apply several criteria to reviewed titles:
• overall excellence in presentation and scholarship
• importance relative to other literature in the field
• distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form
• originality or uniqueness of treatment
• value to undergraduate students
• importance in building undergraduate library collections
“I wasn’t expecting it at all. It’s a bit of an honor,” Waltman said.
Waltman’s selected title is about the Supreme Court case City of Boerne v. Flores, a landmark case in religious liberty, particularly the free exercise clause.
In preparation, Waltman interviewed people in Boerne, Texas, thanks to a grant from Baylor’s Institute for Oral History.
“I became a regular fixture at the Boerne public library. I also recorded the interviews and put them in the archives here at Baylor,” Waltman said. “The thing that attracted me to the case was that it raised so many issues--questions like federalism and separation of powers. I had always been fascinated by the case. The fact that Boerne was three and a half hours away added to the fascination.”
Burns was equally honored and delighted to receive the Choice award after the time and research put forth for his title “Shakespeare’s Political Wisdom.”
“It is especially gratifying to be joining Dr. Jerold Waltman,” said Burns.
As an undergraduate at Boston College, Burns took a course on Shakespeare’s politics and has been “reading and benefitting from” his plays ever since, Burns said. For the past 15 years, he has been teaching his own course on Shakespeare’s political wisdom.
“Shakespeare offers us the kind of insights into the human heart and reflection on permanent human and political problems that only the greatest poets can,” Burns said. “There is a growing section of political theory devoted to the study of politics and literature, and the study of Shakespeare is, happily, a big part of that.”

by Sarah Czerwinski, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
Choice is a magazine published by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). It is considered the premier source for reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources of interest to those in higher education. Every year in the January issue, in print and online, Choice publishes a list of Outstanding Academic Titles that were reviewed during the previous calendar year. This prestigious list reflects the best in scholarly titles reviewed by Choice and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. The awards are presented by American Library Association.
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.