New Hires Add to EPPS’ Expertise in Political Science, Economics

Dr. Denis Dean

Dr. Denis Dean

The School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) at The University of Texas at Dallas added three tenure-track faculty members this fall, expanding the school’s expertise in political science and economics.

Dr. Thomas Gray, assistant professor of political science, is an attorney who studies state courts and how the courtroom experience affects judicial outcomes. He recently received his PhD from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Lauren Ratliff Santoro, assistant professor of political science, is an expert in political psychology and voter behavior. She earned her PhD from Ohio State University in June.

Dr. Jonas Hedlund, an expert in microeconomic theory, earned his PhD in economics from the University of Alicante in Spain in 2011.

“We have been very fortunate in the last few years in attracting absolutely top-notch faculty to EPPS,” said Dr. Denis Dean, dean of the school. “Although luck is actually only a small part of it. The successes of our faculty, students and staff have made EPPS’ academic programs very attractive to potential faculty, and that has allowed us to attract the very best. Drs. Gray, Santoro and Hedlund continue this trend of adding the highest caliber faculty to our ranks.”

EPPS has degree programs in criminology, economics, geospatial information sciences, international political economy, political science, public affairs, public policy, social data analytics and research, sociology and political economy, and justice administration and leadership. 


New Tenure-Track Faculty

Dr. Thomas Gray

Dr. Thomas Gray

Dr. Thomas Gray, assistant professor of political science

Previously: PhD student, University of Virginia

Research Interests: judicial politics, state courts, national institutions, law and society

Quote: “The vast majority of legal questions and disputes are decided in state courts, yet we actually know considerably less about how these courts function than we do about the United States Supreme Court, which hears fewer than 100 cases a year. My work focuses on understanding how state courts operate, the role and importance of politics in their decision-making, and how the design of a justice system can impact the experiences and outcomes for individual litigants and defendants. One of the great benefits of the modern trend toward digitization and extensive data collection is that we will finally be able to explore and understand the full variety and complexity of America’s political and judicial institutions.” 

Dr. Jonas Hedlund

Dr. Jonas Hedlund

Dr. Jonas Hedlund, assistant professor of economics

Previously: research associate, department of economics, Heidelberg University

Research Interests: microeconomic theory, game theory, behavioral economics, information economics

Quote: “The overarching goal of my research is to understand the impact of informational asymmetries on strategic decision-making, economic efficiency and the distribution of economic rents. In particular, I am interested in understanding the extent to which economic agents are able to exploit private information or the control of information flows to their advantage. I look forward to developing this research agenda at UTD and sharing the findings with students and the academic community.”

Dr. Lauren Ratliff Santoro

Dr. Lauren Ratliff Santoro

Dr. Lauren Ratliff Santoro, assistant professor of political science

Previously: PhD student, Ohio State University

Research Interests: political networks, public opinion and voting behavior, political psychology, gender and politics, political methodology 

Quote: “As a discipline, we know much about the economic and psychological components of political beliefs, but we understand less about the social component — even though we acknowledge that beliefs are formed via socialization processes in families and communities and in interpersonal interactions. The study of social influence on political beliefs is complicated by several challenges to inference, such as selection, endogeneity and the reality that individuals share common environments that may act on behavior instead of social influence. Despite the hurdles that these problems introduce, I believe that understanding social influence on political beliefs is important and that designing research in recognition of these hurdles is imperative. My research confronts these problems directly.”


New Faculty Series

News Center is publishing profiles of tenured and tenure-track professors who have recently joined the University. The following school profiles have been published:

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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