Eight Years of Research comes to Fruition

Jacob Jardel
Voices Editor

The new year started with a new book for one Cameron University faculty member.
Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Tony Wohlers saw eight years of research work come to fruition with the publication of his book “Setting Sail into the Age of Digital Local Government,” co-authored with Lynne Bernier of Carroll University.
Wohlers also serves as the Director of Academic Enrichment, so he reserved authorship predominantly for nights and weekends. He said it feels nice to have finished his first book.
“It’s a great accomplishment [after] all those years of collecting the data,” he said. “It was a very good experience, and it taught me a lot – how to approach this.”
The book experience for Wohlers started in 2008, when he garnered interest in information communication technologies (ICTs) and electronic government, or eGovernment.
“I started looking at ICTs, specifically eGovernment at the local level,” Wohlers said. “I quickly expanded. I had these case studies in the southwestern part of the United States, and I started taking a sample from each region in the United States.
“Once that was done with the United States, I presented things at conferences,” he said. “That’s where I met Lynne Bernier.”
Bernier and Wohlers began working to expand the project. Wohlers was in the process of studying Germany, his home country, particularly Nuremberg. Meanwhile, Bernier received a Fullbright scholarship to France, where she would study eGovernment in Bordeaux.
The pair looked for one more cases study to complete their comparative analysis. They turned to Japan, searching for a city to add to the mix. However, this process was easier said than done.
“If you approach local government in the United States, it tends to be very open. You get somebody who will talk to you,” Wohlers said. “It seems that Japan is a very hierarchical society. If you’re not an insider within that government structure, you have much less chance of cooperation.”
However, after working with their contact in Japan, they were able to talk with officials in Shizuoka. This fourth location gave them the final bits of material they needed for this unique starting point on the topic.
“There is no other book that has this comparative focus,” Wohlers said. “This is novel. It’s a beginning still. There is much more that needs to be done, that’s for sure.”
Alongside that work, Wohlers said that he has another potential book in the works with another publisher. This one, however, goes in a different direction from his first.
“This one deals with biopolitics and genetically modified foods,” he said. “The perspective is kind of the same in that it is comparative. I have published quite a bit in that area already, too. I’m now at that stage where I have the foundation for a book.”
On top of this future publication, Wohlers will also continue with new projects on the conference circuit.
“That’s what I always do,” he said. “The next project I’m working on is something completely different, but it relates to what I’ve been doing for years now. That is the role of non-profit organizations.”
Specifically, he is working with the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network and how they shape policies and behaviors through their works. He said he may try to turn this research into a book in the future.
“That’s kind of my new pet research at this point,” Wohlers said. “I’m kind of starting the process with the conferences right now. Then it’s publication, and maybe sometime down the road there might be another book.”


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