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Washington State University
School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Meet our Faculty!

Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs PortraitsThomas Preston


Office: Johnson Tower 810
Phone: 335-5225
Curriculum vitae


Dr. Thomas Preston is a C. O. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Washington State University.  He received his M.A. at the University of Essex (United Kingdom) and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH).  He is a Faculty Research Associate at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, New York and at CRISMART (The National Center for Crisis Management, Research and Training), part of the Swedish National Defense College, Stockholm, Sweden.  A specialist in security policy, foreign affairs, and political psychology, Professor Preston joined Washington State University and the Department of Political Science in 1994.  He teaches undergraduate courses on international relations, American foreign policy, U.S. national security policy, and intelligence analysis.  At the graduate level, he offers seminars on international security and the psychology of leadership and decision-making.  In 2003, he was awarded the prestigious William F. Mullen Excellence in Teaching Award by the WSU College of Liberal Arts, was named a WSU faculty Innovator by the university in 2007, and has received two Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards from the U.S. State Department to New Zealand in 2010 and to Romania in 2020.  He is the author of three books:  The President and His Inner Circle:  Leadership Style and the Advisory Process in Foreign Affairs (Columbia University Press, 2001), ‘From Lambs to Lions’:  Future Security Relationships in a World of Biological and Nuclear Weapons (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007/2009), Pandora’s Trap:  Presidential Decision Making and Blame Avoidance in Vietnam and Iraq (Rowman and Littlefield, 2011), and is a co-author of the popular Introduction to Political Psychology (Erlbaum, 2004/Taylor and Francis 2010/2016), which will soon be releasing a Fourth Edition.  He has written numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters on leadership, international security, the use of active-learning simulations in the classroom, and foreign policy analysis.  His current research involves a number of projects looking at leadership and advisory group dynamics during crisis, nuclear/biological weapons proliferation, a book project on how to bridge the gap between academia and the practitioner community, and an exploration of the psychology of bio-terrorism.  He frequently serves as an independent consultant for various U.S. governmental departments and agencies.

Courses Taught:

POL S 424- US National Security Policy

POL S 427- United States Foreign Relations

POL S 429- Current Topics in Foreign and Defense Policy

POL S 531 Seminar in International Security

POL S 533- Seminar in the Psychology of Political Leadership and Decision Making

Useful Links and affiliations:

Joseph Kruzel Memorial Foreign and Defense Policy Luncheon Series

International Studies Association

International Society of Political Psychology

CRISMART (Crisis Management Research and Training), Swedish Defense University

Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

Rendezvous in the Park Arts and Music Festival

Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation

Central Intelligence Agency

US Department of Defense

US Department of State

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The Brookings Institution

The Henry L. Stimson Center

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Council on Foreign Relations

Federation of American Scientists

Center for Strategic and International Studies

Project on Defense Alternatives

UPMC Center for Health Security

The Atlantic Monthly