Greg Thorson

Professor, Government

Degrees: Ph.D., Political Science, 1995. University of California at Riverside; M.A., Political Science, University of California at Riverside, 1993; B.A., Political Science, May 1988. Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN.

Office: Political Science, Hall of Letters #306

Office Hours: T, TH 9-10am

Phone: 909/748-8636




Current Research

Professor Thorson currently is undertaking two significant research projects here at the U of R. In his first project, Professor Thorson examines the educational attainment gap as it exists here in the Inland Empire. He tracks the gap in test scores, graduation rates and college going rates over time to determine what factors are likely to have contributed to the educational attainment gap as it exists today. He then speculates as to what policies might be most effective at combating this serious problem in our region. The work on this project was done with U of R sophomore Whitney Prout. Professor Thorson presented some of his preliminary findings in Toronto this past August.

Professor Thorson’s second research project here at the U of R is examining the causes of legislative gridlock in the California legislature. He traces the origins of budget supermajority requirements back to the 1930s, and then examines major adjustment made in the 1960s, the passage of Prop 13 and finally the modifications made post-Prop 13. He examines the relative effects of supermajority requirements, partisanship and ideological polarization as independent explanations of budget gridlock in California. This paper is co-authored with U of R Professor Renee Van Vechten. Two U of R students, Brien Webster and Jackie Yeager, are also participating in the project. They will present the paper in San Francisco in April.

Professional Background

Professor Thorson came to the University of Redlands in July of 2008 with a distinguished record of research in public policy. Much of his research has focused on education policy, health care policy and the policy process. Professor Thorson’s research has been published in some of the most prestigious journals in his field, including the Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Congress and the Presidency, Educational Leadership and The International Journal of Forecasting.

Professor Thorson’s work has had a heavy focus on practical application. For example, Professor Thorson has led numerous strategic planning efforts in public schools, has worked with groups of small employers to research opportunities for them so that they might more affordably be able to purchase health insurance by forming a purchasing alliance and has worked with city government officials by having his methods classes engage in public opinion surveys about the issues facing local city governments.

Professor Thorson’s policy research has been influential in state government as well. Democrats and Republicans alike have called on him to frequently testify before state legislatures, where he has testified six times over the past three years on legislation that was based on his policy research.

Professor Thorson has co-authored more than a dozen published papers with his undergraduate students.

Courses Offered at Redlands

  • Govt 111: American National Government and Politics
  • Govt 202: Applied Data Analysis in the Social Sciences
  • Govt 302: Campaigns and Elections
  • Govt 303: Public Policy
  • Govt 400: Advanced Seminar in Judicial Policymaking
  • Govt 400: Advanced Seminar in Presidential Policymaking

Previous Teaching Experience

University of Minnesota at Morris (1995-2008)

Awards, Honors and Grants

Douglas D. Sims Fund for Rural Leadership
Winter 2009.
Description: Co-authored a successful $10,000 grant with David Aronson and Bart Finzel for the support of planning efforts to renovate the Morris Theatre.

Otto Bremer Foundation Grant
Description: I authored a $44,000 grant from the Otto Bremer grant that was funded on October 2006 for the purpose of supporting the formation of a Health Care Purchasing Alliance in our 12 county area.

Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Outreach Partnership Centers (COPC) Program
Description: Wrote sections of the grant that provided over $400,000 to the University of Minnesota at Morris Center for Small Towns and the City of Morris to undertake a variety of projects aimed at improving the quality of housing in the Morris area.

Center for Rural Policy and Development
Project Title:
The Effects of Minnesota's Per Pupil Funding Formula on the Quality of Education in Rural Minnesota
Source: Center for Rural Policy and Development, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Award Period: Summer 2000
Description: This project empirically demonstrates that the current per pupil formulas used to fund K-12 schools in Minnesota produce severe disadvantages for small rural schools in the areas of infrastructure, telecommunications, and programming.

Center for Rural Policy and Development
Project Title:
Making Difficult Times Worse: The Impact of Per Pupil Funding Formulas on Rural Minnesota Schools
Source: Center for Rural Policy and Development, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Award Period: Summer 1999
Description: This project empirically demonstrates that the current per pupil formulas used to fund K-12 schools in Minnesota produce severe revenue disparities that disadvantage small rural schools.

Publications, Presentations and Panels

Thorson, Gregory R, Joel Dueth, Jacob Anderson, Katherine Clark, Brad Coulombe, Joel Deuth, Dan Moore, Evan Mowry, Hilary Opatz, and Christopher Yard. 2008. “Towards a Better Understanding of Rural Homelessness: An Examination of Housing Crisis in a Small, Rural Minnesota Community.” Morris, MN: Center for Small Towns.

Thorson, Gregory R., Tasina Nitzschke, and Nicholas J. Maxwell. 2007. “Testing the Three Theories of Legislative Organization: An Examination of Rule Assignments during the Postreform Period.” Congress and the Presidency. Number 2. 34: 23-34.

Thorson, Gregory R. and Jessica Anderson. 2006. “The Minnesota Miracle Abandoned? Changes in Minnesota School Funding, 2001-2007”. Rural Minnesota Journal. Mankato, Minnesota: Center for Rural Policy and Development. September 2006: 27-44.

Thorson, Gregory R., Neil Lindsheid, and Tara Schmidt. 2005. “The Search for Affordable Health Care in Rural Minnesota: Prospects and Problems for Market Based Solutions.” Published jointly by the Center for Small Towns and the West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership.

Thorson, Gregory R. and Zoe Wong. 2004. “Resource Distribution and Rural Minnesota Schools.” Published in Consortium Connections, a publication of the Children, Youth, and Family Consortium. Volume: 13, Number 1.

Thorson, Gregory R. and Tara Schmidt. “A Health Care System in Critical Condition: Evidence of the Declining Affordability of Health Care Insurance and the Erosion of Health Care Infrastructure in West Central Minnesota.” Published By the Center for Small Towns, November 2003.

Thorson, Gregory R. and Nicholas J. Maxwell. “Small Schools Under Siege: Evidence of Resource Inequality in Minnesota Schools”. Published by the Center for Rural Policy, August 2002.

Thorson, Gregory R. and former UMM student Tasina Nitzschke. 2000. "Politics and Policy in The 103rd and 104th Congresses: Evaluating the Effects of Divided Government in The Postreform Era." Congress and the Presidency. 27: 1-24.

Edmondson, Jacqueline., Gregory R. Thorson, and David Fluegel. 2000. “Searching for Solutions: The Community Vision Process in Herman, MN.” Educational Leadership, a publication of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 57: 51-53.

Thorson, Gregory R. and Jacqueline Edmondson. 2000. “Making Difficult Times Worse: The Impact of Per Pupil Funding Formulas on Rural Minnesota Schools.” Published by the Center for Rural Policy and Development, Minnesota State University, Mankato as well as by the U.S. Department of Education’s Educational Information Resource Center (ERIC).

Stambough, Stephen J. and Gregory R. Thorson. 1999. " Towards Stability in Presidential Forecasting: The Development of a Multiple Indicator Model". The International Journal of Forecasting. 15:143-152.

Thorson, Gregory R. 1998. "Divided Government and the Passage of Partisan Legislation, 1947-1990." Political Research Quarterly. 51.3: 751-764.

Thorson, Gregory R. and Stephen J. Stambough. 1995. "Anti-Incumbency and the 1992 Elections: The Changing Face of Presidential Coattails." Journal of Politics. 57. 1: 210-220.

Greg Thorson is the Ken and Lynn Hall Chair in Public Policy and the Faculty Advisor for the College Republicans.

Cogeneration Plant
Cogeneration Plant

The state-of-the-art power facility enables the University to produce a majority of its own energy and has reduced the campus’s carbon footprint by 33 percent.

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