Dr. William Curtis Ellis
Chair and Associate Professor of History, Humanities and Government
Dr. William Curtis Ellis brings a background of practical political and academic experience to Oral Roberts University. He has worked at both the state and national levels of government serving as staff in the Virginia General Assembly and the Virginia Lt. Governor’s Office and as a policy fellow in the United States Congress for the House Committee on Education and Labor through the American Political Science Association.
Dr. Ellis comes to ORU after four and a half years at Auburn University at Montgomery where he was widely recognized for excellence in teaching, research and service. As an assistant professor at AUM, Dr. Ellis was known for engaging students in the research process in both publication and conference presentations. Dr. Ellis developed his administrative skills as the Coordinator of Graduate Programs for AUM’s School of Sciences from 2012-2014. He has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, both in the classroom and online, such as Introduction to American Government, Congressional Politics, Legislative Process, Campaigns and Elections, Public Policymaking and Research Methods. He was granted AUM’s university-wide Emerging Distinguished Teaching Professor award for 2013-14.
In the classroom, students encounter Dr. Ellis’ passion for integrating their faith in Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit into every area of their lives. In the realm of American government and public policy, Dr. Ellis teaches students to critically evaluate their predispositions so that, as leaders in the political world, they will be driven to follow God’s will for the country as opposed to the desires of men. Students often praise Dr. Ellis for his passionate commitment to push them toward excellence and the fulfillment of their potential.
Dr. Ellis’ research focuses on the United States Congress exploring the impact of race and ethnicity on the congressional agenda, the relationship between institutions and agenda control, as well as the ever changing face of campaign financing in congressional elections. His scholarship has been published in outlets such as Polity and Social Science Quarterly, as well as in contributions to the 2012 and 2014 editions of The Roads to Congress book series. In his current research, Dr. Ellis is exploring the role of public attention in shaping congressional campaign outcomes and the use of narratives (stories) in shaping the American policy agenda.
Dr. Ellis and co-author Dr. Walter Clark Wilson from the University of Texas at San Antonio were recently (2015) selected as recipients of the Margaret T. Lane / Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research Award for their article "Surrogates Beyond Borders: Black Members of the United States Congress and the Representation of African Interests on the Congressional Foreign-Policy Agenda." This award recognizes an outstanding research article in which government documents, either published or archival in nature, form a substantial part of the documented research.
Dr. Ellis earned his B.A. in Political Science from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, graduating with honors, his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma where he served as a Fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center and specialized in American Politics and Public Policy. He also earned a Certificate of Ministry and Leadership from Highlands College in Birmingham, Alabama.