Holley Tankersley - Coastal Carolina University
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Holley Tankersley

Associate Provost for Strategy and Development and Professor of Politics

Jonathan Doe
Contact Holley Tankersley

Singleton Building

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, a political scientist with research and teaching expertise in public policy and political institutions, is Associate Dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts at Coastal Carolina University. Prior to serving as Associate Dean, Tankersley served as Chair of the Department of Politics. During her four-year tenure in that role, she promoted and managed growth of the department as it doubled in size; 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 her role as Associate Dean, Tankersley is responsible for curriculum and program development and assessment; academic advising and retention programs; and recruitment and orientation of new freshman and transfer students. She also works with alumni and friends of the College, including the Edwards College Board of Visitors. Tankersley is currently developing 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

Dr. 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.

2016. “Women Rule: Gendered Leadership and State Supreme Court Chief Justice Selection” (with Mikel Norris). Journal of Women, Politics & Policy. Forthcoming - accepted for publication May 2016.

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

Dr. 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.