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From the Chair

Submitted by Catherine G Quinn on July 5, 2017 - 10:13am
George Lovell
George Lovell, Chair of Political Science

I write at the conclusion of a tumultuous academic year that overlapped with a surprising presidential election and its complicated aftermath. The presidential election intensified interest in politics not just among our students, but also for many people in our surrounding community. The articles in this edition of the newsletter feature some of the department’s outreach efforts and achievements.

Some departmental highlights of the past year include three new new courses on very timely topics: Ellis Goldberg’s Politics of Terror and Terrorism, James Long’s Global Crime and Corruption, and Megan Francis’s Race, Surveillance, and the Law. There were also three faculty promotions. Professors Elizabeth Kier and Rachel Cichowski were promoted to Full Professor and Professor Megan Francis was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. These are important career milestones for three internationally recognized scholars who are also truly exceptional classroom teachers.

Two department members were honored at the University of Washington’s Awards of Excellence ceremony this year. Professor Michael McCann was recognized with the Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award. Graduate Student and Lead TA Jared Stewart received the UW Excellence in Teaching Award, one of just two TAs at UW to receive that recognition. The department’s success with these highly competitive awards is testament to our strong collective commitment to outstanding teaching.

Undergraduate majors have made significant accomplishments this year as well. Anna Mikkelborg received several recognitions as a top graduating senior, including Political Science’s Dahl Award, the Ezra Stotland Prize from the department of Law, Societies, and Justice, the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medal for the Social Sciences, and the UW Library Research Award for Undergraduates. Three undergraduate majors were recognized as part of the Husky 100, an award that celebrates 100 undergraduate and graduate students in all areas of study from across the three campuses. Political science students also made an impact at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium this spring. Furthermore, three Political Science majors won Population Health Recognition Awards, which is more than any other department at the University.

We are grateful for the support we receive from our alumni and friends. We were thrilled by the strong turnout from the community at our faculty forums this year, and are encouraged to continue hosting public events in the years ahead. We always want to learn more about what our alumni are doing, in part because we believe knowing our students’ career pathways helps us to better 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.

Finally, I note some important personal and departmental news. I am stepping down this summer as Department Chair to take the position of Divisional Deal of the Social Sciences. Former Chair Michael McCann has agreed to step in on short notice to serve as chair in the coming year. Professor McCann’s long record of successful leadership means the department will be in good hands. I conclude my term as chair with much appreciation for the outstanding faculty, staff, and students that I have had the honor to work with over the past three years.


George Lovell is Professor of Political Science. He has taught at UW since 2001.


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