A Professor’s Passion for Political Science


“When the media kept repeating the line about terrorists ‘hating us for our freedom’ during the run-up to the [Iraq War 2003], I remember thinking ‘Is that really true?’”

This was the pivotal question that prompted UCF Political Science professor, Andrew Boutton, Ph.D., to pursue his interests in the field of political science.

Originally from central Texas, Andrew Boutton stayed close to home, earning his bachelor’s in International Studies at Texas A&M University and then moving to attend Pennsylvania State University to earn his master’s and Ph.D. in Political Science.

While pursuing his bachelor’s degree, Dr. Boutton worked as an intern at the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. embassy in Paris for 5 months where he helped coordinate public diplomacy efforts in Africa. After earning his Ph.D., he spent the following year as a fellow at the Strauss Center for International Security and Law before beginning his current job at UCF in the fall of 2015.

Now, teaching graduate and undergraduate level classes in international security and political development, terrorism, and US foreign policy, Dr. Boutton says he couldn’t picture himself doing anything else.

“As a kid, I always had a latent curiosity about where other countries are, what goes on there, and why,” explained Boutton. “At risk of sounding cliché, it was the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003 that reignited my interest in international relations and drove me to pursue it more seriously. One of the best things about this job is the flexibility it affords and also being able to set my own agenda and research and teach about things I’m really interested in and think are important.”

Dr. Boutton’s current research focuses on the use of foreign aid for counterterrorism and the effects of development aid and security assistance on violence and politics in recipient countries. This research has appeared in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and the Journal of Peace Research.

Dr. Boutton described one of his long term goals at UCF is to get more students interested and involved in studying abroad.

“My experiences overseas during and after college were essential in helping me decide what I wanted to do with my life,” explained Dr. Boutton. “I think there is an untapped demand among students here for more study abroad options, so this is one area in which UCF has lots of room to grow.”

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