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Christina Barsky

Assistant Professor, University of Montana

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About Christina

Barsky's research explores the nexus of citizen-state encounters on the front-lines of civil society; including, election administration, administrators, and the electoral process; the provision of public health services and the public health workforce; and, public confidence, satisfaction, and perceptions of policy implementation and implementers. Barsky's work examines innovative approaches to pedagogy. Prior to her academic career, Barsky's held leadership positions with a premier public affairs firm and a regional nonprofit collaborative. She continues serves as a research and strategy expert through her consultancy and was elected chair of her county election board in 2021. 

In the News

Quoted by Martin Kidston in "Poll Finds Confidence Among Missoula Voters in the Election, Balloting Process," Missoula Current, 2020.
Quoted by Keila Szpaller in "Study: In Missoula County, Confidence in Elections Is High," Daily Montanan, October 24, 2021.
Opinion: "Why Paid Leave Matters for Montanans," Christina Barsky (with Sara Rinfret), Missoulian, February 5, 2021.
Interviewed in "How Montanans Voted Analyzing the 2020 Election," Montana PBS, November 6, 2020.
Quoted by Phoebe Tollefson in "Trial To Begin in Montana Tribes’ Lawsuit Over Ballot Collection Restrictions," Billings Gazette, September 8, 2020.
Quoted by Cameron Evans in "UM Professors Discuss How Law and Policies Play Into Government Shutdown," Missoulian, January 23, 2019.


"Heavy Lifting: Emotional Labor and Election Administration" (with Christina Barsky). Administration & Society 55, no. 2 (2022).

Investigates the impact of emotional labor on election workers in this atmosphere. Uncovers the presence and nuances of emotional labor in election administration and raises questions about what this means for the future of election administration.

"Simulation Efficacy and Applicability: Reported Learning From a Virtual Computer-Based Pandemic Simulation on Skill-Based Competencies Among Public Affairs Students" (with Supriya Golasc and Dena Michael Harsell). Journal of Public Affairs Education (2022).

Proves how analysis of self-reported learning offers a better understanding of how simulations can be used as a tool to augment student learning objectives and assess mastery of core public affairs principles. Offers strategies for empowering emerging policy leaders to respond effectively and ethically to public crises.

"Introducing Client Focused (CFR) Projects into the Research Methods Curriculum: Key Considerations for Political Science Instructors" (with Frederic I. Solop, Haley N. Anderson, Emily Schnurr, and Mary Witlacil). Journal of Political Science Education (2022).

Offers a "how to" guide and explores pedagogical benefits of applied learning. Explores the many benefits students realize from applying principles taught in the research methods classroom to real-world projects.

"The Gatekeepers of US Elections: Exploring Street Level Bureaucrats in Montana" (with Sara Rinfret). International Journal of Public Administration 43, no. 16 (2020): 1357-1365 .

Explores Street-Level Bureaucrats in Montana Contrary to the national dialogue around the 2016 U.S. presidential election, findings of a state-wide poll find strong public confidence in the administration of the electoral process. Mentions in a large, rural state, this study provides a new framing of local election administrators as civic entrepreneurs.

"Public Perceptions, Elections Administration, and the Role of Street Level Bureaucrats" (with Sara Rinfret and Samuel Scott). Public Administration Quarterly; Randallstown 42, no. 4 (2018): 493-515.

Uses a sample of 605 registered voters in Missoula County, Montana, we develop an index documenting public confidence in election administration. Examines a different perspective of electoral processes - public perceptions of county level election administration.

"Montana: Budgeting and Policy in the Treasure State" (with Jeffrey Greene). eScholarship (2017).

Identifies key "big issues" including cuts to core public agencies, balanced budget requirements, and natural disasters and their impact on state fiscal condition.

"Montana’s 2017 Biennium: Budgeting and Policy in the Treasure State" (with Jeffrey Greene). California Journal of Politics and Policy 9, no. 1 (2016).

Explores the policy and budget-making session of a divided government, this study explores one state's fiscal decisions as it expands Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.