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Letter from the Chair, Winter 2022

Submitted by Natalie Mc Martinez on January 3, 2022 - 12:51pm
John Wilkerson
John Wilkerson, Chair

Happy New Year to our readers!  As I write this in early January the lovely snow has melted and the rain has returned.  COVID has also returned and with it remote instruction for at least the first week of classes. This will give those who have been traveling time to get tested and boosted before we return to the classroom. Last quarter went very well with the vaccine and masking. On a campus of nearly 50,000 students we were seeing just a few dozen positive cases every 10 days. Here’s hoping this positive pattern continues.

Our winter faculty panel scheduled for February 16 recognizes that Afghanistan is largely off the public agenda, it will remain a foreign policy concern of the United States for the foreseeable future. Professor Tony Gill will apply political economy theory to explain why a small religious minority in the country – the Taliban – has been so successful. New faculty member Asli Cansunar will consider the implications of a potential humanitarian and refugee crisis for the countries of South Central Asia and other parts of the world. James Long will reflect on the future of US foreign policy towards Afghanistan.

This edition also introduces two members of our department. Scott Lemieux is a very popular Teaching Professor who is an expert in Public Law but also teaches a wide range of American Politics courses. Ellen Gregoire is our new Graduate Program Assistant who plays a central role in recruiting new graduate students to our program and in guiding current students through the requirements of our program.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to our alumni supporters! We have recently established three new undergraduate scholarships and are in the process of creating another thanks to your support. Your contributions to our Friends of Political Science account also make a big difference in terms of our ability to support a wide range of support requests throughout the year. Thank you and I hope your New Year is off to a good start!