It is a pleasure to be reporting news from the Department of Political Science to our alumni and friends. This edition of the newsletter provides information about a new undergraduate student organization, two new undergraduate courses, and an educational website project called LegEx that uses innovative and compelling visualizations of lawmaking in Congress. We also report on the latest winner of our Distinguished Alumni Award, Christine Charbonneau.
The past year has been a busy and exciting one for the department. Our faculty continue to win national awards. These include major awards for two new books, Professor Rebecca Thorpe’s book on the growth of presidential war powers and military spending and Professor Megan Francis’ book on the NAACP’s early political campaigns against lynching, police brutality, and racialized violence. In addition, Professor Jim Caporaso was awarded a prestigious Jean Monnet Chair from the European Commission of the EU. This highly competitive award recognizes Professor Caporaso’s lifetime of scholarship on European politics and political economy. Another honor from Europe went to Professor Lance Bennett. The Alexander Humboldt Foundation awarded Professor Bennett the Humboldt Research Prize in recognition of lifetime achievements in research and writing. The award allows Bennett to spend time visiting European universities to develop new collaborations.
Last year we successfully launched the new Center for Environmental Politics with a series of events that attracted interest and participation from faculty and students from across the UW campus, as well as many leading scholars from other universities. The ambitious set of programs was made possible by generous gifts from Gary and Susan Duck and from the late Dr. Richard Wesley. Following on that success, we recently launched another revamped center, WISIR (Washington Institute for the Study of Inequality and Race), under the directorship of Professor Jack Turner.
The department now has a new website with improved organization and functionality. The department news page is updated frequently with the latest information about departmental events, and the accomplishments of our faculty and students. The news page also has links to the many media appearances and articles by our faculty as well as information about coverage of faculty research in national news.
We continue to be one of the largest undergraduate majors on campus, yet remain dedicated to providing opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research, including students in our honors program and our CAPPP fellows. Our graduate program is also thriving. Students who earn the PhD land jobs as professors at other top universities, including placements this past year at Cornell University, Vanderbilt University, Georgia State, and Portland State. One graduating student, Joannie Tremblay-Boire, won the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medal as the outstanding graduate student for the entire social science division. More generally, all of our graduate students perform tremendous service for undergraduates as Teaching Assistants and Instructors. Our department’s TAs receive some of the best teaching evaluations at the University of Washington.
As always, we are grateful for the support we receive from our alumni and friends, including generous donations through our latest calling campaign. We are planning new outreach events in the year ahead and will try to connect members of our new student organization with alumni. We love to hear updates of what alumni are doing, so please send us news through the alumni update link that is part our new webpage.
George Lovell is Professor and Chair of Political Science and the Harry Bridges Endowed Chair in Labor Studies. He has taught at UW since 2001.