Stephen C. Phillips, PhD

Stephen wearing a suit jacket lecturing in front a whiteboard in class.

Stephen C. Phillips is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Clemson University, where he teaches courses on U.S. political institutions. His research and teaching interests focus on American political development and are heavily influenced by constitutional law, history, philosophy, and public policy & administration.

Stephen's research has been published in Public Choice and the Journal of Political Science Education, and he has been quoted by Florida Political Review and HowStuffWorks. The thread linking his research is the desire to understand the connections between political strategy and the evolving framework of American government and democracy. He is particularly interested in how policy entrepreneurs provoke and sustain institutional, ideational, and policy development, as well as changes in elite behavior.

Stephen's dissertation examines public policy debates on civil rights during the post-war period to study how political actors produce policy change on items long-stalled on the institutional agenda. By exploring political and organizational strategies at critical junctures, we are able to discern why some entrepreneurs succeed while others fail to achieve their policy objectives. His research agenda applies similar frameworks to debates during the Founding Era and as a pedagogical tool for students to learn elements of political strategy in the classroom. For his doctoral research, Stephen earned the James W. Button Memorial Award for scholarship focused on race relations, poverty, or diversity issues.

Stephen received his doctoral degree from the University of Florida. He earned his master's and bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida. Stephen previously worked on federal political campaigns as well as for a local affiliate of the AFL-CIO. His experience in politics and organized labor provide knowledge in political strategy and strategic communications, and peaked his interest in political action and civil rights.