Jay Barth, Ph.D., is M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Professor of Politics at Hendrix College. A native of central Arkansas, Commissioner Barth attended Hendrix College, graduating in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. He received a master’s degree in 1989 and a doctorate in 1994 in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been a member of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Hendrix since 1994.
Commissioner Barth’s academic work includes research on the politics of the South, state government and politics, LGBTQ politics, political communication (particularly radio advertising), and the achievement gap in Arkansas. He is the co-author (with the late Diane D. Blair) of the second edition of Arkansas Politics and Government: Do the People Rule? (University of Nebraska Press, 2005).
In 2007, Commissioner Barth was named Arkansas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), in 2014 was named winner of the Southern Political Science Association’s Diane Blair Award for Outstanding Achievement in Politics and Government, and in 2018 received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Arkansas Political Science Association. In 2000-01, Commissioner Barth received the Steiger Congressional Fellowship from the American Political Science Association and served on the staff of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone (MN) working on education and civil rights policy.
From 2012 to 2019, Commissioner Barth was a member of the Arkansas State Board of Education; served as chair of the Board for two years. He also serves as Immediate Past-President of the Board of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and as Chair of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund. He has previously chaired the boards of Just Communities of Arkansas, the ACLU of Arkansas, the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County, and the National Association of State Boards of Education.
He lives in downtown Little Rock with his husband Chuck Cliett and is a Little Rock representative on the CAW Board.