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Message from the Chair

Greetings to former undergraduates, graduate students, and other alumni! I hope you will enjoy this Political Science Department newsletter. As I enter the fifth year of a six-year stint as chair, I will be leading a department that has experienced a lot of change since most of you were students here. Our 16 tenured and tenure-track faculty do include some seasoned professors, like Horace Bartilow, Mark Peffley, Ellen Riggle, Stephen Voss, and Rick Waterman. But they have been joined by talented newcomers, including Tiffany Barnes, Abby Cordova, Jill Haglund, Jesse Johnson, and Michael Zilis. In between are faculty member Emily Beaulieu, Clayton Thyne, Dan Morey, and Justin Wedeking, all of whom earned tenure and promotion over the last few years. Sadly, by the end of this academic year, we will lose to retirement two colleagues and former chairs, Don Gross and Karen Mingst.

Although this is a time of change, and at times of strained financial resources, I have great pride in noting that it is also a time of ascendency in the Department’s ratings and reputation. New blood has been combined with aging wine to produce a Political Science department whose accomplishments are making a positive impact within the discipline and within the University. Faculty members are publishing books, writing notable research journal articles, earning college and university teaching awards, taking leadership positions in interdisciplinary programs, sponsoring conferences, and being spotlighted in local, national, and international media for their research and professional expertise. Such broad scholarly engagement allows this faculty to continue contributing to the intellectual development of our undergraduate majors and to prepare future professionals through our graduate program.

Because we are reviving the department newsletter after a long hiatus, this issue will be an opportunity to tell all of you about the good we have been trying to do. However, we are proud of present, past, and recent students – from the Ph.Ds, who have gone on to become part of the ranks of the professoriate in this nation, to the former undergraduate majors who have spread around the country to take jobs in numerous fields and industries. This newsletter also is an invitation for you to tell us of your accomplishments, so that subsequent issues can keep all of you informed of the unique gifts, achievements, and contributions emerging from our alumni. We also welcome hearing from you if you have ways you would like to contribute to making this Department and faculty even better and stronger!


Ernie Yanarella, Professor and Chair