New Chair of Government and Justice Studies is Driven by His Passion for Politics

The College of Arts and Sciences welcomes Dr. Phillip Ardoin as the new Chair for the Department of Government and Justice Studies.

While earning his undergraduate degree from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, Ardoin worked on Capitol Hill for a United States Senator representing Louisiana. That experience guided him to an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at Louisiana State University.

Ardoin later served as a faculty member and Research Lab Director in the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy at Southern University from 1999-2003. In 2003, Ardoin and his family moved to Boone to join the Department of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University.

The Department of Government and Justice Studies contains three programs; Criminal Justice, Political Science, and Public Administration. Ardoin believes these fields are particularly relevant today. “Politics influences everything we do,” Ardoin says. “There’s no decision made that isn’t influenced by politics in some way, shape, or form.”

Graduates of Government and Justice Studies are active and engaged in the field in a number of differing contexts. According to Ardoin, “We have alumni working on Capitol Hill, in the North Carolina state legislature, and in law enforcement agencies throughout the region.” Ardoin adds, “Many of our M.A. graduates are now faculty at universities across the country.”

The Department of Government and Justice Studies also contains the Master of Public Administration program, which produces roughly twenty-five percent of North Carolina’s city and county managers. “Last year, 95% of our MPA students were placed in jobs immediately,” Ardoin says.

Ardoin emphasizes the value of internships for current students. “Internships have led to strong job placement for our students, and has helped to create a strong professional network,” he says.

Ardoin’s goals for the department focus on increasing student involvement in state and national politics. This is currently being achieved through the department’s Washington at Work and N.C. Politics in Action summer courses, which allow students to engage with interest groups, elected officials, campaign activists, and members of the federal bureaucracy. “We want to produce staff and lobbyists, so we want our students to meet with people who are doing those things,” Ardoin says.

To learn more about the Department of Government and Justice Studies, please visit

Published: Nov 5, 2014 12:00am