Holley Tankersley - Coastal Carolina University
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Holley Tankersley

Dean, Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences/Professor

Contact Holley Tankersley
843-349-2949 htankers@coastal.edu

Prince Building 216

Office Hours
For an appointment, please email Christie Hanslik at chanslik@coastal.edu.

“Good policy always trumps bad public relations. And the best PR can’t trump bad policy.” – Bob Schieffer


Ph.D. Political Science, University of Georgia (2006)

MPP Social and Family Policy, Georgetown University (2002)


Holley Tankersley, Ph.D., a political scientist with research and teaching expertise in public policy and political institutions and is the founding dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences at Coastal Carolina University. Prior to serving as dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences, Dr. Tankersley served in roles including associate provost of strategic initiatives and faculty development at Coastal Carolina University, associate dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and chair of the Department of Political Science.

During her four-year tenure as chair of the Department of Political Science, she promoted and managed growth of the department as it doubled in size; argued for resources that nearly doubled the departmental budget; led faculty in deepening and expanding their commitment to high-impact learning practices; and founded the Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, an endowed teaching and research center focused on solving the policy problems of the community and the region. In 2017, Tankersley developed a structured dialogue program that unites students from diverse backgrounds to discuss how their experiences can create a strong, interconnected, and inspired campus community. Before entering academia, she served as a government consultant, generating policy analysis for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Health and Human Services. A native of Alabama, Tankersley earned her master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Georgia. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Birmingham-Southern College.

Interesting Facts

Tankersley is a graduate of the HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute, an immersive professional development program for women leaders in higher education. Acceptance into the program is competitive and requires demonstrated leadership potential. Institute participants study and practice leadership and change management, trends in higher education, and inclusive excellence.

Recent Publications

2018. “Women Rule: Gendered Leadership and State Supreme Court Chief Justice Selection” (with Mikel Norris). Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 39(1): 104-125.

2012. “Are They Living What They Learn? Assessing Knowledge and Attitude Change in Political Science” (with Pam Martin and Min Ye). Journal of Political Science Education 8(2): 201-223.

2012. “Judicial Innovation and Sexual Harassment Doctrine in the U.S. Courts of Appeals” (with Laura Moyer). Political Research Quarterly 65(4):784-798.

2010. “Assessing the Impact of State Judicial Structures on Citizen Litigiousness: Do Institutions Really Matter?” (with Jeff Yates and Paul Brace). Political Research Quarterly 63 (Dec. 2010): 796-810.

Teaching Areas

Public policy, social policy, American political institutions, gender and politics

Research Areas

Tankersley’s research lies at the intersection of institutions and public policy. She examines the ways in which institutional structures and characteristics shape political outcomes and policy outputs at the state and national levels.