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Letter from the Chair, Spring 2023

Submitted by Stephen Dunne on March 14, 2023 - 9:15am
Chair Prof.  John Wilkerson
Chair Prof. John Wilkerson

In the last PoliSci Insider, I wrote that I would be teaching an undergraduate class for the first time in several years. I think it went well. I was impressed by the contemporary issues students discovered and the legislation they proposed to address them as part of the congressional simulation. Yes, there were the usual marijuana legalization bills, but there were also bills addressing less obvious topics. In many states, police are not prohibited from making false statements during juvenile interrogations. It is illegal in the U.S. for American citizens to commit war crimes, but not people residing in the US who are not US citizens. I also learned that the legal age of marriage is 14 in some states!

Overall, engagement seemed high and it was fun to work closely with undergraduates again. Being surrounded by smart and optimistic students makes me feel young, even if that feeling is increasingly delusional!

So long and thanks for all the fish*

On another subject, I complete my 5 year term as Department Chair at the end of Spring quarter. It has been a rewarding experience in many respects. But I’m also looking forward to restarting some shelved research projects. The next Chair has yet to be decided, but we have many good candidates.

I started July 2018, in the middle of the tumultuous Trump presidency. In March 2020, we locked down for COVID and then pivoted to remote instruction for the next 18 months. George Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020 caused great anguish on campus and forced us all to reflect on systemic racism in our communities.

One of the best parts of the job has been outreach to our broader community though this newsletter and various in person and remote events.  I hope that you’ve occasionally found something of interest.

And I couldn’t have done it without our wonderful staff.  Chairs come and go while staff keep the trains running.

♦ Ann Buscherfeld, Department Administrator
♦ Meera Roy, Director of Academic Services
♦ Stephen Dunne, Senior Computing Specialist
♦ Tamara Sollinger, Danny Robles, Undergraduate Academic Advisors
♦ Ellen Gregoire, Graduate Program Administrator
♦ Ling Fu, Fiscal Analyst

Thanks also to faculty colleagues who have agreed to participate on faculty panels and other public events, and for their service on a wide range of recruitment, promotion and program committees. Special thanks to Associate Chair Mark Alan Smith, who has been proactive and easy to work with.

And thank you for your support! I’ll be around and I look forward to keeping in touch!

*From Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (of course)

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