Expanding Excellence: The LBJ School announces a series of new faculty appointments

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February 13, 2024
Photos of new LBJ School faculty members

The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce a series of faculty appointments to bolster its first-in-class corps of public service educators. Dean of the LBJ School, JR DeShazo, welcomes Vice Admiral Joseph Maguire as a Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Clements Center for National Security, along with Associate Professors Dr. Anna Gunderson and Dr. Herschel Thomas, Professors of Practice Evan Smith and Emily Bhanderi, as well as Postdoctoral Fellow Isabel Laterzo to the Forty Acres for the Fall 2024 semester. 

"I’m excited to welcome the next generation of faculty leaders to the LBJ School," said Dean JR DeShazo. "They will help shape public leaders and empower our students to address today's biggest challenges."

These new faculty appointments build on an impressive group of public service expertise and will enhance the LBJ course curriculum in national security, policy development, legislative processes and politics of bureaucracy.

Quote from Joseph Maguire: "I am extremely honored to be joining the LBJ faculty team as we educate, train and inspire our next generation of national leaders. Our students are our hope for tomorrow."

Joseph Maguire arrives as the Executive Director of the Clements Center for National Security and a Professor of Practice at the LBJ School. Maguire served in the U.S. Navy for 36 years until his retirement in 2010 as a Vice Admiral and spent his final nine years of service in the flag officer ranks leading large, complex military and civilian organizations in challenging situations. 

In his post-military career, Maguire served as a Vice President with Booz Allen Hamilton; President and CEO of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation; Director of the National Counterterrorism Center; and Acting Director of National Intelligence. Currently, he is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Southeastern Guide Dogs, a Director on the Board of the National Navy SEAL Museum, and an Advisor to the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. He previously served as a Director on the Board of W.S. Darley & Co. and on the SAP National Security Services, Inc. Board of Advisors. Maguire owns his own consulting firm and is also a consultant principal with WestExec Advisors, a prominent national security consulting firm. 

Anna Gunderson quote: “I’m thrilled to join the great faculty at LBJ. This school is a leader in public policy, and I look forward to working with the incredible students, staff, and faculty.”

Anna Gunderson is an incoming Associate Professor for the LBJ School of Public Affairs, beginning in the Fall semester of 2024. She earned her Ph.D. in political science from Emory University in 2019. Gunderson's research focuses on American Politics, specifically examining the politics of punishment and mass incarceration. Her interests encompass criminal justice policy, state politics, the politics of race, and public policy. 

Herschel Thomas Quote: “I am very excited to join the faculty of the LBJ School and return to Austin. I look forward to contributing to both teaching and research in the School that impact critical policy debates facing Texas and the nation.”

Herschel Thomas is an incoming Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. At the LBJ School, his areas of focus include policy development, politics of bureaucracy, and legislative processes associated with policy adoption.

Thomas completed a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin in 2015 and was an Associate Professor of Political Science at West Virginia University. Before his time in Morgantown, Thomas was an Assistant Professor of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington from 2015-2020.

Emily Bhandari Quote: “As a graduate of LBJ myself, it’s exciting to be back helping the school bring more civic and political skill-building opportunities to its students. The Patman Center has a lot planned and I’m honored to be a part of making things happen.”

Emily Bhandari serves as the Executive Director for The Patman Center for Civic and Political Engagement at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. In her role, she oversees all Center activities including the Patman Scholarships, the Research Award for Advancing Democracy, the Senior Fellows mentorship program, and the Leadership Symposium. As an Assistant Professor of Practice, she teaches graduate courses in civic leadership, advocacy, and campaigns and elections.

Prior to The Patman Center, Emily served as Strategic Learning and Evaluation Program Officer for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. There, she managed a complex portfolio of grant initiatives and research projects aimed at helping Texans improve their mental health and thrive.

Evan Smith Quote: “The LBJ School is a critical center of thought leadership in a momentous and perilous time for our democracy. There's no place I'd rather be talking issues and politics with smart, engaged students — the future leaders of our communities and our country.”

Evan Smith is a senior advisor at Emerson Collective, working closely with journalists and funders around the country to support the local news ecosystem. He’s also a Professor of Practice at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches a course on the politics and issues of the election season. 

He previously spent more than thirteen years at The Texas Tribune, which he co-founded and led as CEO, and nearly eighteen years at Texas Monthly, including nine years as Editor-in-Chief and a year as President. 

Evan is the host of "Overheard with Evan Smith," a weekly half-hour interview program that airs on PBS stations from coast to coast. He serves on the boards of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, the Austin Film Society, and the LBJ Foundation. A native of New York, he's a graduate of Hamilton College, which awarded him an honorary degree in 2023, and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, which inducted him into its Hall of Achievement in 2006.

Isabel Laterzo Quote: “I am thrilled to be joining the LBJ School and to continue my research on public security in Latin America. I’m particularly excited for the opportunity to work with such amazing faculty and to collaborate with LLILAS.”

Isabel Laterzo is an incoming Postdoctoral Fellow at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, beginning in the Fall of 2024. She is currently a May 2024 candidate for her Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been recognized as an Emerging Scholar (2023) by the Harry F. Guggenheim Foundation and a Fulbright-Hays Fellow (2022). In the fall of 2025, she will transition to become an Assistant Professor at the LBJ School, and a member of the faculty (by courtesy) in both the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) and the Department of Government. 

In the coming months, the LBJ School will be undertaking two additional searches: 
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