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Catawba College Assistant Professor of Political Science Earns Ph.D.

December 16, 2004

Category: Academics, Faculty, History & Politics


J. Michael Bitzer, assistant professor of political science at Catawba College, earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs.   Bitzer participated in commencement exercises at UGA this past Saturday.  

Bitzer’s dissertation topic focused on delegated authority and power from state legislatures to bureaucratic agencies.   The project focused on sixteen states for a three-year period and statutes dealing with welfare policy.

Legislatures typically delegate power and authority to bureaucratic agencies to carry out public policy programs, Bitzer said.   In his study, Bitzer investigated whether those legislatures that met year-round, had higher salaries for their members, and greater numbers of staff granted greater and lesser amount of authority to their bureaucracies than legislatures that didn’t meet as much or were considered more amateur.  

“What I found was that professional legislatures delegated less authority to their bureaucracies in welfare policy, which means that states with full-time legislators will be less likely to grant their bureaucracies greater flexibility in implementing welfare policy programs,” Bitzer said.   In addition, his study found that legislatures who recognize that they have a professional bureaucracy will typically delegate more authority.

A frequent commentator on Southern politics and campaigns and elections, Bitzer joined Catawba College in 2002.   He holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Erskine College and a master of arts degree in history from Clemson University.   He and his wife, Andrea Anders, reside in Salisbury.