Betina Cutaia Wilkinson

Wake Forest political science professor Betina Wilkson poses in her office in Kirby Hall on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.

Associate Professor & Associate Chair

Phone: (336) 758-3997
Personal Website:

Areas of Expertise: Racial and Ethnic Politics, Public Opinion, Public Policy, Political Behavior


Betina Cutaia Wilkinson is associate professor and associate chair of the Politics and International Affairs department at Wake Forest University. She is also the director of the Race, Inequality and Policy Initiative (RIPI) and a co-editor of the PS: Political Science & Politics journal. Wilkinson’s current research falls into two broad categories: 1.) sports activism and attitudes toward racial justice policies and 2.) Blacks, Latinxs and the criminal justice system.  Her latest book project Partners or Rivals? Power and Latino, Black and White Relations in the 21st Century (University of Virginia Press, 2015) won the American Political Science Association REP Section’s Best Book Award on Inter-Race Relations in the United States. In 2015, Wilkinson was awarded an Early Career Award by the Midwest Political Science Association’s Latina/o Caucus. She has served as the President of the Midwest Political Science Association’s Latina/o Caucus, on the editorial board of the journal PS: Political Science & Politics and as an executive council member of the Midwest Political Science Association. Her research has been published in several political science and multidisciplinary journals including Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, American Politics Research, PS: Political Science and Politics, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and Race and Social Problems. Wilkinson’s research has been highlighted by numerous media sources including NPR, Los Angeles Times, NPR WUNC, NPR WFAE, NPR WFDD, NBC News Latino, San Francisco Weekly, Houston Chronicle, The New Orleans Advocate, Winston-Salem Chronicle, Enlace Latino NC, WPTF/North Carolina News Network, Spectrum News Triad, and “This Morning” show in Seoul, South Korea.


B.A.   Loyola University New Orleans, 2004
M.A.  Louisiana State University, 2007
Ph.D. Louisiana State University, 2010

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor, Wake Forest University, 2017-present
Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University, 2010-2017

Administrative Appointments

Associate Chair, Department of Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University, 2020-Present



For a complete list of Wilkinson’s publications, check out her Google Scholar page.


POL 210 Public Opinion and Pro Humanitate (service-learning course) 

This course has two components. The first component of the course provides a survey of literature on how individuals develop opinions on topics with a focus on political knowledge, social desirability, elite influence, ideology, framing, and priming.  The goal of this section is to develop students’ understanding of the public’s competence in developing opinions, how individuals form opinions and answer survey questions. The second (and more substantial) component of the course centers on teaching students the skills necessary to collect, analyze and report survey data. Not only will each student accomplish this goal by developing their individual survey research project but they will also develop their character skills and provide a service to Wake Forest University (WFU).

POL 214 Latina/o/x Politics (service-learning course)

This course explores the development of and current standing of Latinxs as a minoritized group in the U.S. and North Carolina. It is divided into several parts.  The first part explores Latinxs’ identity through the lens of race theory produced in the Americas as reflected through the writings of Domingo F. Sarmiento and Jose Vasconcelos along with research on the effects of skin tone. The course’s second component introduces students to topics surrounding Latinxs and education such as educational attainment, the effects of remote learning and the Covid-19 and the factors that contribute to improving their academic achievement. The third portion of the course centers on immigration with a focus on state and federal immigration policies, immigrants and identity and immigration policy stances. The fourth portion of the course uncovers topics on environmental justice and racism as it relates to Black and Brown communities. The course’s last component explores Latinxs’ political identity and behavior with a focus on Latinxs’ impact on the last few election cycles.

POL 280 Research Methods (major requirement)

This course explores what political science is and what it can accomplish with a focus on the ways in which political scientists collect, analyze and present quantitative and qualitative data. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the research process and a range of basic analytical techniques necessary to understand and conduct quantitative and qualitative research.  Several topics will be discussed in this course. We will begin with a discussion of what is political science and the difference between concepts and research questions. The basics elements of the literature review will be discussed along with the research design. Our course will end with an examination of various quantitative and qualitative tools to gather and analyze data and present results. At the end of this course, students will be able to define political science and distinguish it from both punditry and related disciplines; analyze and critique the methodology and methods of published political science research; demonstrate basic competency with the bibliographic software Zotero; construct a literature review addressing previous work on a topic of their choice; design and present a research proposal addressing a question of their choice; identity and describe basic qualitative tools of conducting research; calculate, interpret and present statistical data with a focus on descriptive statistics, test of statistical significance, measures of association and linear regression; differentiate strong and weak arguments made with quantitative and qualitative techniques; and demonstrate basic competency with the statistical software R. STA-111 must be taken before or concurrently with this course.

POL 300 Race and Media (Senior Seminar)

Given political media’s ongoing discussion of incidents regarding race and the law as well as the growing presence of Latino and African Americans in office, this course takes a fresh approach to exploring the role of race in U.S. media and the role of political media in reinforcing or challenging prevailing stereotypes and attitudes about race. Building on research in the fields of political communication, political psychology, and racial and ethnic politics, this course examines four major topics: 1.) racial stereotypes and depictions in the media, 2.) racialized issues in the news, 3.) racial priming and 4.) media targeting of Latinos and African Americans. Some core questions that this course will examine include: What has been the role of political media in reinforcing or challenging prevailing stereotypes and attitudes about matters of race and ethnicity? Why does racialization of issues in the news matter? How do racialized issues in the news affect individuals’ policy stances? What is racial priming? To what extent do implicit and explicit racial appeals shape individuals’ racial attitudes and evaluations of candidates? What do we know about how media and campaigns target minority audiences and voters? Is it effective? Is it harmful? A primary goal of this course is for students to conceptualize, design and implement a thesis project that applies knowledge in race and media to a study using quantitative or qualitative methods.

POL 300 Race, Inequality and Policy (Senior Seminar)

Extreme racial discrimination and racial animus remain at the center of the American story some 150 years after the end of the Civil War. All of this has happened in the so-called land of the free, the land of opportunity. Building on research in sociology, history, public policy, psychology and political science, this course examines the sources and causes of policy changes in immigration, criminal justice and education, public opinion formation on these topics along with potential solutions to addressing racial inequalities. Some core questions addressed by this course include: What are new developments in policymaking and policy theory? What factors perpetuate race and class inequalities today? How does Black and Brown oppression sustain White supremacy and democracy? How does criminalization operate in the lives of Black and Brown individuals? What factors contribute to individuals’ opinion formation of education, immigration and criminal justice policies? What are the costs of running a highly unequal society? Are there any equalizing forces on the horizon? How can we address racial inequalities and inequities? The primary goal of this course is for students to conceptualize, design and implement a thesis project that applies knowledge of research on race, inequality and policy to a study using quantitative or qualitative methods.

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