Holley Tankersley - Coastal Carolina University
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Holley Tankersley

Professor of Political Science/Associate Provost

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

Singleton Building 127

Hours: By Appointment

“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, is associate provost of strategic initiatives and faculty development at Coastal Carolina University. In this role, Tankersley is responsible for the development and execution of strategic initiatives for academic innovation and excellence that enhance the University’s mission; the creation and nourishment of programs that connect the University with local, state, and regional communities and partners; and the development and advocacy of policies and programs to ensure that faculty are successful in their teaching, scholarly, and leadership endeavors.

Prior to serving as associate provost, Tankersley served as associate dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, where she was responsible for curriculum and program development and assessment; execution and evaluation of special projects and initiatives; and recruitment and orientation of new freshman and transfer students. Notably, she was responsible for spearheading the development of the College’s strategic plan, as well as tracking implementation and evaluating results.

During her four-year tenure as chair of the Department of Politics, 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.