Terri Towner

Terri Towner


towner photo


Terri Towner
Assistant professor
Department of Political Science

Since joining OU in fall 2007, Dr. Towner has taught a number of courses, including Introduction to American Politics, Research Methods and Statistics, Elections and Voting Behavior, Public Opinion, and Politics and the Internet. The latter course is a new offering that examines issues involving privacy, e-government, blog power and social media in campaigning. The course draws on cutting-edge research in multiple disciplines, including political science, communication, psychology and computer technology.

Dr. Towner has won numerous honorariums and grants, including two from the Oakland University Research Committee. She was nominated for Oakland’s 2013 Teaching Excellence Award and has received other university and departmental honors, such as the Faculty Service Award and Merit prizes for scholarship and teaching.

In addition to her teaching activities, Dr. Towner serves on several committees at the college and departmental level and is the faculty advisor to OU’s award-winning Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honor Society) chapter. This talented student group was named “Best Chapter” by the national office for two years in a row and has also earned awards from Oakland’s Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development, for Outstanding Political/Social Awareness Program and Student Organization of the Year. The chapter won the Outstanding Political/Social Awareness Program for its grant-funded film series, which featured four films about policy topics: Thank You for SmokingHot CoffeeOur Brand is Crisis and La Haine. 

This year, the group won a national contest to bring the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics to Oakland University. The journal publishes outstanding undergraduate research from around the United States on a bi-annual basis and is completely operated by undergraduate students who review, edit and publish material. OU will host the journal for a three-year term, which will begin in fall 2013.

On the research front, Dr. Towner is finishing her latest book, Frames and Counterframes: An Analysis of Affirmative Action Discourse, which examines how the issue of affirmative action is framed and counter-framed before the U.S. Supreme Court, and then traces how these frames are disseminated through the media and ultimately end up being articulated in U.S. Supreme Court opinions.

She also continues to pursue research exploring social media's influence on political attitudes and behaviors. She conducted a large survey panel of OU students during the 2012 presidential election and is currently analyzing the data. This April, she presented some of the empirical findings at the Midwest Political Science Association annual conference.

Dr. Towner holds a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in political science, all from Purdue University.

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