August 11, 2020

UMW Political Science Professor Featured on With Good Reason

University of Mary Washington Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Emile Lester will be featured on the With Good Reason public radio program, March 28 to April 3.


Associate Professor Emile Lester

The show, “Secrecy in the ‘Sunshine Era,’” will include a segment regarding new history textbooks approved by the Board of Education in Texas that a commission of experts have claimed were pushing a specific ideology. Lester was one of three faculty scholars asked by a Texas watchdog agency to review the textbooks.  He discovered that the textbooks were not only misleading, but were false. The show also will feature professors from Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William and Mary.

With Good Reason is a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The show airs weekly in Fredericksburg on Sundays from 1-2 p.m. on Radio IQ 88.3 Digital. To listen from outside of the Fredericksburg area, a complete list of air times and links to corresponding radio stations can be found at  Audio files of the full program and its companion news feature will be available online March 28 at

An expert in church and state issues, Lester specializes in three key areas: controversies surrounding the teaching of religion in schools, research on tolerance of vulnerable minority groups and liberal and conservative political philosophy.

Lester is the author of Teaching About Religions: A Democratic Approach for Public Schools, which has been featured on the Washington Post’s book review website. His research on religious education has been featured by The New York Times, C-SPAN, USA Today, National Public Radio and Voice of America, in addition to With Good Reason and New York City talk radio.

In his previous teaching position at the College of William and Mary, Lester was named one of the best professors at the college by the 2005 Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s College Guide.

Lester received a bachelor’s degree in government from George Washington University, a master’s degree in political theory from the London School of Economics and a doctorate in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia.

Controversial Texas textbooks headed to classrooms (The Desert Sun)

Textbooks Proposed for Texas Schools Open Can of Worms (Dallas News.Com; News Journal.Com; Waco Trib.Com)

Lester Authors Op-Ed in The Dallas Morning News

Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Emile Lester’s column “Textbooks proposed for Texas schools open can of worms,” was recently published in “The Dallas Morning News.”

In addition, he co-authored “Texas textbooks set to mislead our students in American history, government” that was recently published on “” and “Education a casualty of Texas textbook wars” in the “Longview News-Journal.”

Lester Featured on Radio Show

Assistant Professor of Political Science Emile Lester was featured on the State of Belief radio show on Oct. 11 speaking about problematic school curricula. Listen to the show at

Creationism is just the Start: How Right-Wing Christians are Warping America’s Schools (Salon.Com)

Proposed Texas Textbooks Are Inaccurate, Biased and Politicized, New Report Finds (The Washington Post)

Lecture by Michael Signer of Virginia Tech, Feb. 3

Dr. Michael Signer, Visiting Full Professor at the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech, will deliver a free public lecture on Monday, Feb. 3 in Lee Hall, Room 411 at 4 p.m. The title of the lecture is “The Search for Statesmen: The Quest for Leadership in James Madison’s Democracy.” Dr. Signer’s biography is below.

Michael Signer is Lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the
University of Virginia and Visiting Full Professor at the School of Public and
International Affairs at Virginia Tech. The author of Demagogue: The Fight
to Save Democracy from its Worst Enemies
(Palgrave Macmillan 2009), he is
currently at work on Becoming Madison: The Making of an American Statesman
(PublicAffairs 2015).  He has written for Democracy: A Journal of Ideas,
Dissent, Democracy & Society, The Daily Beast, The Richmond Times-Dispatch,
The New Republic
, and the Washington Post and has appeared on MSNBC,
Fox News, the BBC, and NPR.  He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the
University of California at Berkeley, where he was a National Science Foundation
Graduate Research Fellow, a J.D. from the University of Virginia, and a B.A. in
politics, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.  He is the managing
principal of Madison Law & Strategy Group, PLLC and chairs the firm’s
Charlottesville office.  He served as one of two counselors to Governor Mark
Warner in Richmond and was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2009.  He is a member of the Board of
Directors of the Center for National Policy and is a Senior Fellow with the
Truman National Security Project.  He lives in Charlottesville.

Emile Lester Gives Opinion in Fredericksburg Newspaper

Assistant Professor of Political Science Emile Lester’s op-ed “Mormonism and the Presidency: Don’t Worry” appeared in The Free Lance-Star on Sunday, Feb. 12. Lester argues that Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith need not be a point of contention for potential voters.

Lester presented on panels at a Renaissance Weekend in Santa Monica, Calif., from Feb. 16 to 20. Renaissance Weekends are private, invitation-only gatherings of innovative leaders, and their families, from diverse fields. Participants are selected on the basis of their professional experience, personal profiles and likely contributions to the program’s breadth and depth.

Emile Lester Featured in Two Publications

Emile Lester, assistant professor of political science, has an article in the December issue of Kappan. In the article, “Teaching for Religious Tolerance in Modesto: Just Enough, But Not Too Much,” Lester argues that the Modesto school district’s required world religions course should be a model for schools across the country.

In addition, Lester’s research on religion in public schools is the focus of the article “Teaching Religious Literacy in California’s Bible Belt” in a recent issue of Miller-McCune.