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Dr. Beard joined the Political Science faculty in the fall of 2007. She earned a B.A. in Political Science with a focus on African Politics and Third World Development from Calvin College in 2000. After a year living in Dallas, Texas as an AmeriCorps VISTA working on affordable housing and microlending projects, Dr. Beard returned to Michigan where she earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Michigan State University in 2005, and her Ph.D. in Political Science with a focus on International Development and African Politics as well as Public Policy from Michigan State University in 2006.
As a graduate student, Dr. Beard worked on the Afrobarometer Survey Research Project, a nationally recognized and awarded dataset that covers economic and political opinions among citizens across 18 African nations. Dr. Beard continues to conduct research and evaluation work in East Africa, primarily in Kenya, but also in Rwanda and Uganda. Prior to joining the Hope faculty, Dr. Beard worked for a year at Public Policy Associates, Inc., a Lansing-based policy research and evaluation firm. She also has served as a commissioner on the Greater Lansing Commission on Race and Diversity and is committed to racial reconciliation and being part of community initiatives to combat institutional forms of exclusion and oppression.
Dr. Beard's areas of specialization are comparative politics, focused on Africa, as well as public policy. Her research interests are in the areas African political development; democratization; conflict and stability; land rights in Africa; the role of institutions in political development; identity politics with a focus on gender, religion and ethnicity; public policy in political development; international political and economic development; and global studies. Dr. Beard has spent much time in Kenya and has language experience in both Swahili and German.
Dr. Beard is a long-distant runner, completing the Boston Marathon in
2011, and enjoys traveling, spending time investing in local community,
and visiting family around Michigan as well as in her homes of Texas
and Mississippi. Dr. Beard lives in Holland with her husband, a University
of Michigan Law School graduate and attorney in Grand Rapids.
Courses Fall 2013