Opening Convocation

Opening Convocation

Convocation Speaker

Joseph F. Kobylka

Associate Professor


Joseph F. Kobylka earned his B.A., with honors, in government and history at Beloit College (1978) and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota (1984). Since joining the SMU faculty in 1983, he has published three books – The Politics of Obscenity (Greenwood, 1990), Public Interest Law: An Annotated Bibliography (Garland, 1992), and The Supreme Court and Legal Change: Abortion and the Death Penalty (University of North Carolina Press, 1992) – and several journal articles and book chapters. His teaching interests touch on constitutional law and politics, judicial decision making, and American Political Thought. His lecture series “Cycles of American Political Thought” was published by the Teaching Company, and he was a major contributor to the PBS series "The Supreme Court." He is currently finishing a biography of former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, under contract with University of Virginia Press, and will then turn to a study of recent church-state litigation.

A recipient of four SMU research grants and fellowships, Kobylka has also won numerous teaching and service awards at SMU. These include: the SMU “M” Award, Rotunda Outstanding Professor (1986, 1993, 1995, 2002, 2013), the H.O.P.E. Professor of the Year (2011), the Willis M. Tate Award (1991; 2007), SMU Student Senate “Faculty Member of the Year” (2006), “Godbey Author’s Award” (1992), the Golden Mustang Award (1990), and the Deschner Award (1984). He was also named an inaugural recipient of the Altschuler Distinguished Teaching Award (2001) and is a member of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He serves as faculty advisor to the Political Science Symposium, and Pi Sigma Alpha.