James S. Wunsch, PhD
James S. Wunsch, PhD

James S. Wunsch, PhD

College of Arts and Sciences


  • -Comparative Politics: (Politics of Africa, Democratization and Governance, Politics of the Developing World, Ethnicity and Ethnic Conflict, Political Systems of West Europe, International Political Economy)
  • -Public Policy and Public Administration: (Public Policy Analysis and Reform, International Development Policy, Local Governance, Decentralization, Public Administration, Development Administration)
  • -Political Theory: (Institutional Analysis and Design, Political Economy, Public Choice Theory, Conservative Political Thought)
  • -Methodology: (Outcomes Assessment)

Academic Appointments


  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Professor

Teaching Activity

  • Rev. John P. Schlegel Distinguished Professor of Government and Politics


--Rev. John P Schlegel Distinguished professor of Government and Poilitics:
--Funded student research and faculty travel in Africa
Organized and funded all-university panel discussions and Q&A on contemporary issues
--Funded Dept. of Political Science activities

--Past president of Creighton's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa
--Past Manager of Dept Internship Program
--Past faculty advisor of political science honorary society
--Chair of college assessment task force
--30 year member of college senate


Publications and Presentations


  • “Decentralization: Conceptual and Analytical Issues.” In Decentralization in Africa: The Paradox on State Strength. Tyler Dickovick and James Wunsch, editors. Rienner Press, 2014., Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, 2014
  • “Decentralization in Nigeria: 1980-2012.” Co-authored with Dele Olowu. In Decentralization in Africa, Dickovick and Wunsch, Lynne Rienner Press, 2014., Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, 2014
  • Wunsch, J. S., Olowu, D. Decentralization in Nigeria: 1980-2012, Decentralization in Africa, 2013
  • Wunsch, J. S. Decentralization: Conceptual and Analytical Issues, Decentralization in Africa: A Review of the Last Twenty Years, 2013
  • Wunsch, J. S. Tocqueville in Africa: Analyzing African Local Governance, Democratic Revolution in the 21st Century, 2008
  • Wunsch, J. S. Sources of order and disorder in Africa: Local governance in State-Centric Regimes, The Practice of Constitutional Development: Vincent Ostrom's Quest to Understand Human Affairs, 203-225, 2008
  • Wunsch, J. S. Local Government, The New Encyclopedia of Africa, 2, 491-495, 2007
  • Wunsch, J. S. Local governance and conflict management in Africa, Local governance and poverty reduction in Africa, 2006
  • Wunsch, J. S. Indicators for assessing African local governance, Local governance and poverty reduction in Africa, 2006
  • Wunsch, J. S. Proposed Indicators to Measure Democratic Local Governance in Africa, Local governance and poverty reduction in Africa, 2006
  • The Challenge of Democratic Decentralization, w Dele Olowu, Local governance and poverty reduction in Africa, 2004


  • “Analyzing Self-Organized Local Governance Initiatives.” Pubic Administration and Development. August, 2013. 33,3,2013., Public Administration and Development, 33, 3, 2013
  • Wunsch, James S. Analyzing Self-Organized Local Governance Initiatives: are there Insights for Decentralization Reforms?, Public Administration and Development, 33, 221-235, 2013
  • Wunsch, J. S. African Politics and Government since Independence, International Encyclopedia of Political Science, 2009
  • Borchers, Patrick J., Kelly, Michael J., Moreno, Erika, Witmer, Richard C., Wunsch, James S., Pearlstein, Arthur Executive summary: Report on the resolution of outstanding property claims between Cuba & the United States, Creighton Law Review, 41, 207-218, 2008
  • Wunsch, J. S. Decentralization, local governance and 'recentralization' in Africa, Public Administration and Development, 21, 277-288, 2001
  • Wunsch, J. S. Refounding the African state and local self-governance: the neglected foundation, Journal of Modern African Studies, 38, 487-509, 2000

Editing and Reviews

  • Decentralization in Africa: The Paradox of State Strength. With Tyler Dickovick. Lynne Rienner Press. June, 2014., Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, 2014
  • Wunsch, J. S. Migrants, citizens, and the state in Southern Africa., Africa Today, 48, 164-166, 2001


  • “Explaining Decentralization’s Failures in Africa: What are the Lessons of Self-Organized Local Community Initiatives?” A paper presented at the 50th Annual African Studies Association Conference, Chicago, IL, November, 2008., 2008
  • “Decentralization as a Foundation for the Political Opposition in Democratizing Africa.” A paper presented at the University of Vaxjo, Vaxjo, Sweden (in invitation) (presented electronically due to my illness), October, 2008., 2008
  • “Community Initiatives in Producing and Delivering Public Goods in Africa.” A paper presented at the Mini-Conference on the Workshop, Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, May, 2008., 2008
  • “Africa’s Experience with Decentralization.” A paper presented at the Workshop on Decentralization, Organized by the Governance Reform Commission, the President’s Office, the Republic of Liberia, Gbanga, Liberia, April, 2008., 2008
  • Community Management of Common-Pool Resources.” A paper presented at the Faculty Colloquium, Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, March, 2008., 2008

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • African politics, development of the poorest nations, decentralization, political thought, public policy, US foreign policy

Current Research Projects

  • grassroots governance initiatives in Africa

Awards and Honors

  • Edited three of twelve monographs prepared on decentralization in specific Africa States: Uganda, South Africa and Botswana. , 2010
  • Prepared analysis of governance and decentralization in Nigeria since independence for USAID, 2010
  • Assisted the Governance Commission of Liberia in developing a policy and preparing a plan for the reorganization and decentralization of local governments as part of Liberia’s post-conflict recovery plan; coordinated discussions with the donors on assistance for these reforms. Drafted strategic plan for decentralization., 2008
  • Assisted in development of Handbook on Decentralization for Democracy Office, USAID, and Association in Rural Development. Co-author of handbook., 2007
  • Presented one of three plenary addresses to ministerial and senior career personnel from 17 African states on decentralization, local government and anti-poverty programs in Africa. Assisted workshop leaders in leading discussions, preparing workshop documents, summing-up workshop proceedings and findings. Workshop sponsored by German Development Bank, the Joint African Institute and the African Development Bank., 2007
  • Presented report (only paper presented), “Measuring Local Democracy and Poverty Reduction in Africa” to representatives from the Joint African Institute, World Bank, UN, Commonwealth Association of Local Governments, African Development Bank, German Development Bank, and others. Assisted participants in developing a common framework for measurement in Africa., 2006
  • Joint African Institute, 2006
  • Assisted Office of Transitional Initiatives, USAID - Lagos in assessing ethnic, religious, and regional conflict in Nigeria, capacity of civil society organizations to respond to these issues, and developing Mission strategies in response to it., 2001
  • Served as governance expert on USAID assessment of Uganda's decentralization and local governance program, and assisted in developing follow-on to program. Focused on issues of intergovernmental relations, national policy, civil society, and local institutional design., 2001
  • Chapter Advisor Recognition Award, Phi Sigma Alpha-United States National Political Science Honorary Society, 2007
  • Dean's Special Award for Professional Excellence, Creighton University, 2007
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Freshman Advising, Creighton University, 2007
  • Deans Award for Excellence in Service, Creighton University, 2006
  • Fulbright-Hays Senior Research Fellow Disignee, Ghana, Fulbright-Hays, 2000
  • Fr. William Kelly, S.J. Award for Service to the Diversity Project, Creighton University, 2000
  • Deans Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research and Scholarship, Creighton Univ., 2000
  • Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award, Pi Sigma Alpha, 1999
  • Deans Award for Outstanding Teaching, Creighton Univ, 1994
  • Distinguished Lecturer, United States Information Agency, 1993
  • Burlington-Northern Foundation Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Creighton Univ., 1992
  • Dean's Award for Outstanding Student Advising, Creighton Univ, 1989
  • Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Student Award for Outstanding Teaching, Creighton Univ., Student Board of Governors, 1985
  • Regional Finalist, White House Fellowship Competition, 1982
  • Meritorious Unit Citation, Office of Rural Development and Development Administration, USAID, 1980
  • Phi Betta Kappa, Duke University, 1968