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From the Chair

Submitted by Catherine G Quinn on July 7, 2016 - 1:43pm
George Lovell
George Lovell, Chair of Political Science

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 student and faculty recognitions, research being conducted by both graduate and undergraduate students, a groundbreaking new book on religion and politics by Professor Mark Smith, and a popular series of faculty panels on current political issues.

The past year has been an especially busy one for the department. The department underwent a decennial program review-- a year-long process that culminated with a site visit by an outside committee that included prominent political scientists from other universities. The committee’s final report praised the department for the high quality of our teaching programs and for the cutting edge research being conducted by our faculty. The review process also provided the department with an opportunity to explore our intellectual identity within the political science profession and to develop ways to better serve our students in the future.

We also took some large steps toward defining our future with three new faculty hires. Joining the faculty in the fall will be Caitlin Ainsley (Comparative and International Political Economy), Geoffrey Wallace (International Security/Human Rights), and Sophia Jordán Wallace (American Politics/Latino Politics). All three will be profiled in our next newsletter.

Our research centers continue to host important events that attract attention from across the University of Washington, outside scholars, and members of the community. The re-launched Washington Institute for the Study of Inequality and Race (WISIR), under the leadership of Professor Jack Turner, hosted a new colloquium series featuring leading scholars of race and politics from around the United States. Under the leadership of Professor Lance Bennett, the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement hosted a “Next System Teach-In” in April. A large crowd of students, faculty, and community members heard a variety of presentations on problems of political stalemate, rising inequality, and environmental crisis. Meanwhile, the Center for Environmental Politics once again hosted a successful interdisciplinary colloquium series as well as its second annual Duck Family Graduate Student Workshop. The center’s director, Professor Aseem Prakash, reported tremendous interest in the workshop, with 89 applicants for just 24 available slots. The workshop is made possible through generous gifts from Gary and Susan Duck. Sadly, Susan Duck passed away in December. This year’s workshop was dedicated to her memory.

As always, we are grateful for the support we receive from our alumni and friends. As noted in the article on our quarterly faculty panels, we will soon be sending out a broad invitation to attend next year’s events on current political issues. That initiative is part of a broader effort to reach out to our alumni and the outside community. We are particularly interested in learning more about what our alumni are doing, in large part because we believe better knowledge about alumni careers can help us to serve our current students. Please send us updates and news through the alumni update link on our department webpage. We would love to hear from you.


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.


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