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School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Meet Our Faculty

Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Portraits

Thomas 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 also currently serves as Director of the M.A. in Global Justice and Security Studies (GJSS) program, and as a member of the board of directors for the Institute for the Study of Intercommunal Conflict at WSU. 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 political 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 received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in 2010 from the U.S. State Department and the Fulbright New Zealand Programme. 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 co-author of Introduction to Political Psychology (Erlbaum, 2004/Taylor and Francis 2010/2015). He has also 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 nuclear/biological weapons proliferation, the effects of expertise and advisory groups on political leaders, the use of active learning simulations in the classroom for intelligence analysis, a book project on how to bridge the gap between academia and the practitioner community, and an exploration of the psychology of bioterrorism. 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

Washington State University