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From the Chair

Submitted by Arts & Sciences Web Team on November 25, 2013 - 8:00am
Peter May
Peter May

With the start of another academic year, we are reminded of the remarkable talents of our faculty, graduate students, and staff that make for exceptional undergraduate and graduate programs.  This newsletter highlights some of these with features about the department's Honors Program, innovative graduate student research, insights from a new faculty book about the Tea Party, and a profile of our newest faculty member.

Although the academic world is often portrayed as slow moving, this is far from the case for the Political Science Department.  In recent months there have been a number of very positive developments that I am pleased to share with alumni and friends.

The accomplishments of several faculty were recognized with promotions that took effect this September.  Chris Adolph, a political methodologist and specialist in comparative political economy who is also core faculty member of the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences, was promoted to associate professor with tenure.  He recently authored the Cambridge University Press book, Bankers, Bureaucrats, and Central Bank Politics: The Myth of Neutrality.  Jack Turner, a political theorist, was also promoted to associate professor with tenure.  He recently authored the University of Chicago Press book, Awakening to Race: Individualism and Social Consciousness in America.  George Lovell was promoted to full professor.  His most recent book with University of Chicago Press is This is Not Civil Rights: Discovering Rights Talk in 1939 America.  He continues as the Harry Bridges Chair and Director of the Harry Bridges Labor Studies Center.

We welcome James Long, profiled in this newsletter, who joins the department as an assistant professor after completing his PhD at the University of California, San Diego and a year as post‐doc as an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.  We will miss Naomi Murakawa who has assumed a tenured faculty position with Princeton's Center for African American Studies.

We welcomed 15 new graduate students this fall who come to the PhD program with a wide range of interests and talents.  Our graduate students continue to amass numerous accomplishments in terms of publications, fellowships, and grants.  Most notable, as profiled in this newsletter, is the award of the 2013 UW Excellence in Teaching Award to Deepa Bhandaru—one of only two teaching assistants in the University to receive this award, and the second recipient of this award from our department in the past three years. Placements this past year include faculty positions at Denison University, University of Minnesota, Portland State University, University of Nebraska—Lincoln, San Francisco State University, Southern Illinois University, West Virginia University; and fellowship and post-doctoral positions at the European University Institute, Oxford University, and Stockholm University.

Our undergraduate program continues to thrive with much demand for our courses and 850 current majors.  Students, more than ever, participate in faculty research projects, take advantage of various internship opportunities, and seek other ways of extending what they learn in the classroom to provide a broader undergraduate educational experience.  A number of alumni are giving back by sharing their experience in the classroom as guest lecturers and in participating in alumni-student career networking events.  These interactions have been invaluable in helping current students imagine the possibilities when confronted with the question "What do you do with a political science degree?"  I continue to marvel at the richness of the experiences of our alumni across all sectors of society and across the globe.  Many could not have envisioned these career paths years or decades ago, but all with whom I speak about this reiterate the value of their political science undergraduate education and the applicability of the experiences they gained while at the UW.  One such alumnus, Rogelio S. Riojas the CEO of Seamar Community Health Centers in Seattle, has recently been appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the UW Board of Regents.  Our alumni notes section of this newsletter contains updates about others.  Please provide information by responding to the "Send Us Your Updates" link on the right panel of this newsletter.

Our ability to maintain the vitality of our scholarly and educational activities rests now, more than ever, on the generosity of our alumni and friends.  We have been fortunate to have a number of very loyal alumni who regularly donate to the Friends of Political Science along with an extensive group of friends who contribute to endowments that support undergraduate and graduate students, faculty activities, and other efforts.  I sincerely thank those of you who have been generous in supporting the Department. 

With appreciation,
Peter May

Peter J. May
Professor and Chair

Peter J. May is the Donald R. Matthews Distinguished Professor of American Politics.  He has been at the UW since 1979 and has been department chair since July 2010.

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