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Publications in VIVO

Baird, Vanessa Anne

Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Professor Vanessa A. Baird has spent her career investigating the factors that strengthen the rule of law in seemingly unrelated fields: institutional agenda setting, the psychology of legitimacy perceptions, and the various ways people seek to redress their grievances: litigation, political participation, and violence. Her latest work focuses on the limits of legal economic change, the ways in which psychological insecurities can both bolster and undermine support for the rule of law, and how local policy and corruption can undermine support for the police. As a teacher, she has been testing new ideas about critical thinking and science education that she thinks will make undergraduate education more effective and equitable.


  • judicial politics, psychology of legitimacy and justice, psychological responses to political violence, political participation, survey research


selected publications


courses taught

  • FYSM 1000 - First Year Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Provide first year students with an immersive experience in an interdisciplinary topic that addresses current issues including social, technical and global topics. Taught by faculty from across campus, the course provides students with an opportunity to interact in small classes, have project based learning experiences and gain valuable communication skills. Seminar style classes focused on discussion and projects.
  • PSCI 1101 - Introduction to American Politics
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2019 / Spring 2024
    Emphasizes interrelations among levels and branches of government, formal and informal institutions, processes, and behavior.
  • PSCI 3105 - Designing Social Inquiry: An Introduction to Analyzing Political Phenomena
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
    Tackles conceptualization and measurement with a focus on reliability and validity of measures at the individual level. Explores how improper measurement and conceptualization can affect our inferences. Investigates how to use the tools of causal logic with statistical tools to differentiate linear, spurious, intervening and conditional relationships with a particular focus on what it means to "control for other factors".
  • PSCI 3271 - Law and Society: Legal Institutions and Human Behavior
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2021 / Summer 2023
    Examines relationship between human behavior and legal system, looking closely at the voluntary relationship between the citizen and the state, the use of law to balance economic liberty and equality, support for civil liberties, and procedural, distributive, and retributive justice. Recommended prerequisite: PSCI 1101.
  • PSCI 3301 - Gender, Sexuality and U.S. Law
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021
    Contemporary and historic overview of U.S. courts' treatment of sex and gender. Using the case method, examines policy issues including, but not limited to: same sex marriage and civil unions; privacy; affirmative action; abortion; reproductive technologies; and discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation in education and in the workplace. Recommended prerequisite: PSCI 1101 or WGST 2000. Same as WGST 3300.
  • PSCI 4241 - Constitutional Law
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
    Focuses on the nature and scope of American constitutional principles as developed by the U.S. Supreme Court, including federalism, separation of powers, commerce, due process and equal protection. Recommended prerequisite: PSCI 1101.
  • PSCI 7031 - Seminar: Political Attitudes and Behavior
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2023
    Provides an intensive examination of topics in political attitudes and behavior such as political participation, ideology, voting, and elite behavior. Reviews methodology of behavioral research and introduces ICPSR data archive and computer-based research.
  • PSCI 7085 - Introduction to Political Science Data Analysis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Provides intensive experience with quantitative techniques commonly employed in political science research, covering basic inferential and descriptive statistics through multiple regression. Students undertake substantive research projects, requiring lab instruction in the use of the computer in quantitative applications of political science research.
  • PSCI 8905 - Graduate Research Topic
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2023
    Provides an opportunity for independent research in a topic of special interest. Arrangements are made to suit the needs of each particular student. Not a free option; must be approved by student's advisor and department chair. Does not count as a seminar. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.


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