Hennings to join Morningside College faculty

Valerie Hennings, who has served as scholar-in-residence at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics since the fall 2011 semester, will join Morningside College in August as an assistant professor of political science.

Hennings, who earned a Ph.D. in political science in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be affiliated with Morningside’s department of economics, political science and sociology. At the college, located in Sioux City, Iowa, Hennings will teach a first-year seminar on citizenship and courses on U.S. government, political behavior, U.S. state and local government, human rights, women's rights, and women in U.S. politics.

At Iowa State, Hennings taught “Women and Leadership,” “Interdisciplinary Research on Women and Leadership,” “Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society” and “Campaign Rhetoric” for the 21-credit-hour community leadership and public service certificate program coordinated for the university by the Catt Center. She also taught “Women in Politics,” “Introduction to American Government,” “State and Local Politics” and “Political Behavior” as an adjunct assistant professor of political science.

“In addition to teaching, Dr. Hennings contributed significantly to the resources and outreach programs offered by the Catt Center,” said director Dianne Bystrom. “She led the successful transition of our Ready to Run™ Iowa: Campaign Training for Women from a one-day event to a series of six workshops in 2013 as well as our 2014 Campaign College to encourage female students to pursue leadership positions at Iowa State.”

Hennings also proposed, created and maintained the center’s Women in Iowa Politics database, which now includes more than 35 reports, graphs and fact sheets on their status in local, state and federal government. As part of the Gender Balance Project, coordinated by the Catt Center with the support of the Friends of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, she directed the collection of data from all 99 Iowa counties and 203 cities on the gender composition of public boards and commissions. Hennings also supervised the expansion of the center’s Archives of Women’s Political Communication, which now includes 1,062 speech texts by 309 women political leaders as well as a YouTube channel with 220 speech videos and 139 campaign commercials.

Her contributions through courses and projects impacting women were recognized with the 2014 Margaret Sloss Gender Equity Award presented by Iowa State’s Women’s Center. Hennings was nominated for the award by Catt Center staff and student interns. She also was active in research, co-authoring four book chapters and three journal articles and giving seven conference presentations while at Iowa State. Hennings and Bystrom are currently co-editing a two-volume work titled Women in the American Political System: An Encyclopedia of Women as Voters, Candidates and Office Holders.

“In her time at Iowa State, Dr. Hennings demonstrated superior administrative and research skills and was recognized as an excellent classroom teacher,” Bystrom said, noting Hennings’ selection for a 2014 Iowa State University Award for Early Achievement in Teaching. “We will miss her at the center, but we will continue to appreciate all of her contributions to our mission.”

Hennings – who also earned master’s degrees in political science from the University of Wisconsin and in women studies from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in political science and mass communication from Morningside College – said “it has been an honor and a privilege to contribute to the mission and goals of the Catt Center. I am so proud of the meaningful work we have done.

“I am thankful for all the opportunities and inspiration my position at Iowa State has afforded me over the past three years,” she added. “I will remember fondly the wonderful experiences I have had interacting with students, colleagues and community members during my time at Iowa State.”