Political Science at Cal
The Department Today
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
As we bid farewell to summer and welcome the seasonal turn to a new academic term, I want to take a few moments to share our Departmental highlights from the past year. Our campus, like the world around it, faced economic loss, uncertainty, and crisis and saw in response administrative efforts to reform and reinvent campus practices and the collective mobilization of inputs from faculty, students, and staff into this process of change. In short: the year was rife with politics.
Through these unquestionably hard times, the University and the Department has prevailed and in all the important respects, continues to flourish. Indicia of Berkeley's vigor abound. In last year's Shanghai Jiaotong global survey of universities, Berkeley ranked second (behind Harvard but, crucially, 0.3 points above Stanford!). In last year's National Research Council's survey of doctoral programs, Berkeley remained at the top among all universities in the number of "top ten" departments and Political Science ranked in the very topmost "1-3" range. And in the just-released 2012 U.S. News and World Report's college rankings Berkeley again stood tall as the leading public university in the nation.
Within the department, the past year has seen our continued (and successful!) efforts to renew ourselves and rededicate our commitments to innovation and excellence. Chiefmost among our highlights is the great delight we take in welcoming two new and dynamic members to our faculty ranks.
Gabriel Lenz has left behind the snowy banks of the Charles River at MIT to join us as Assistant Professor in the land of eucalyptus and manzanita. Gabe is one of the nation's most exciting young scholars working in the areas of elections public opinion, political psychology, and political economy. His forthcoming book - Judging Politicians: Do Policy and Performance Matter? (University of Chicago Press) - engages the age old question of whether citizens vote on their issue preferences or instead decide based on valence considerations, like the state of the economy and candidate characteristics. Lenz is also a regular presence in A-list journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Political Behavior, and Political Psychology and his 2009 article, "Learning and Opinion change, Not Priming: Reconsidering the Priming Hypothesis," received the "Best Article Award" from the American Journal of Political Science.
Sean Farhang has walked across campus. Previously on the faculty of the Goldman School of Public Policy, Sean is now jointly appointed as an Associate Professor in Political Science and at the Goldman School. He is a rising star among public law scholars. Farhang's book -The Litigation State: Public Regulation and Private Lawsuits in the U.S. (Princeton University Press, 2010) - examines the growing role of private litigation in the enforcement of federal law, with an eye towards the fragmented and fractious nature of relations between Congress and the Presidency that incentivizes Congress to empower private litigants and the courts. This important work is already gathering gushing praise, having just won this year's Gladys M. Kammerer Award for the best book in the field of U.S. national policy from the American Political Science Association and the C. Herman Pritchett Award for the best book on law and courts from the Law and Courts section of the APSA. Farhang has also published works in such distinguished venues as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Studies in American Political Development, the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, and Law & Social Inquiry.
In addition to Farhang and Lenz, we are also actively involved in two additional faculty recruitments in the fields of Comparative Politics and Political Behavior. The Department is also conducting a new search this year in International Relations and is sharing in a multidisciplinary search for a scholar in the area of Diversity and Democracy. Details regarding these positions are posted on our departmental website. We are very hopeful about both current and imminent recruitments and look forward to announcing additional new faculty members soon.
The Department also celebrated the retirements of three of our dearest colleagues at the end of this last June. Professors Ruth Collier, Robert Kagan, and D. Paul Thomas have been foundation stones in the department. The Department and several generations of our graduate and undergraduate students are deeply in their debt and aspire to follow their exemplary mix of scholarship, mentorship, and character. We are delighted that Ruth and Bob will retain an active and continuing role as Professors of the Graduate School.
I am happy to further report that Berkeley Political Science continues to be a vital source of intellectual foment. A partial list of the recently published books by our faculty includes (in alphabetical order of our colleagues): Christopher Ansell's Pragmatist Democracy (Oxford 2011); Mark Bevir's The Making of British Socialism (Princeton, 2011); Henry Brady and David Collier's second edition of Rethinking Social Inquiry (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010); Wendy Brown's Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (Zone Books, 2010); Steve Fish's Are Muslims Distinctive? (Oxford, 2011); Rodney Hero's co-authored Latino Lives in America (Temple, 2010); William "Sandy" Muir's Freedom in America (CQ Press, 2011); Paul Pierson's co-authored Winner-Take-All-Politics (Simon and Schuster, 2010); Eric Schickler's co-edited The Oxford Handbook of the American Congress (Oxford, 2011); Steven Weber's co-authored The End of Arrogance (Harvard, 2010) and his co-edited Deviant Globalization (Continuum, 2011); my own co-authored Why Americans Don't Join the Party (Princeton, 2011), co-edited Accountability through Public Opinion (World Bank, 2011), and co-authored Asian American Political Participation (Russell Sage, 2011).
Our faculty's many contributions to the discipline and to politics on the ground are also visible in journals and other publications. The list of venues here is too numerous and varied (and my recall too faltering), but span a remarkable diversity including American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Annual Review of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Daedalus, International Security, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of East Asian Studies, Journal of Politics, Journal of Statistical Software, Perspectives on Politics, Political Analysis, Political Theory, and World Politics. Most notably and recently, Laura Stoker's co-authored "Caught in the Draft" was published as the lead article in the May 2011 issue of the American Political Science Review.
The Department's faculty also continues to garner formal accolades. A partial list of recent such awards includes, in no particular order, Sean Farhang's aforementioned Pritchett and Kammerer book awards for The Litigation State; Shannon Stimson's receipt of the David and Elaine Spitz Prize for her book, After Adam Smith; Jasjeet Sekhon's receipt of the Robert Durr Award for "Exploiting Tom Delay"; David Collier's election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Ruth Collier's election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Rodney Hero's receipt of the Norton Long Career Achievement Award from the Urban Politics Section of the APSA; Paul Pierson's receipt of the Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award from the Public Policy Section of the APSA; T.J. Pempel's appointment by the White House as a Commissioner of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission.
Last year was another banner year for our undergraduate and graduate programs. Political Science now has the largest number of majors in the College. The course of recent world affairs surely has something to do with the rising popularity of our major, but we like to think the relevance of a political science degree and the quality of our faculty and staff has a role as well. We again celebrated our graduating seniors with Commencement, made memorable this time by stirring addresses from our commencement speaker, the journalist, historian, and social critic Thomas Frank and from the 2011 Department Citation winner, Brian Michael Weissenberg. (There were three other finalists for the Department Citation: Nicholas Bondar-Netis, Kelly Fabian, and Rebekah Tilander.) We also held a separate Honors Ceremony for 25 seniors who wrote amazing senior theses, and last year's Travers Scholars were treated to a luncheon with members of the Travers family.
The graduate program admitted one of our smallest yet in many ways most competitive incoming classes in years. Out of 453 applicants, 39 were admitted, and we welcomed 22 bright-eyed new students in August. We also sent forth to prosper another graduating class of Berkeley Ph.D.s who fared remarkably well in the midst of an exceedingly slack academic job market. At least 13 recent graduates were placed in tenure track appointments ranging from liberal arts colleges like Dickinson, Grinnell, Middlebury, and Smith; research universities like American University, University of Connecticut, George Washington University, MIT, and UC-San Diego; professional schools like Notre Dame Law School and Whittier Law School; to distant shores like Röskilde University (Denmark) and the University of Guam. Also, at least another 10 found post-doctoral fellowships or short-term research positions, including appointments at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies (Seoul), the European University Institute (Florence), Harvard, Mills College, Notre Dame, Princeton, Stanford, and the Woodrow Wilson Center.
One secret to this success is the sedulous dedication of our faculty. In fact, the service of department faculty continues to contribute to Berkeley's excellence in myriad ways. This year we are fortunate to have three Vice-Chairs: Jonah Levy who continues in his role as Director of Undergraduate Affairs; Sean Gailmard as Director of Academic Personnel; and Rodney Hero as our new Director of Graduate Affairs. Rodney succeeds Laura Stoker, whose conscientiousness to and accomplishments on behalf of our graduate program was truly supererogatory. Chris Ansell continues as Director of the Travers Program and Director of Graduate Admissions. Our faculty also serves the broader campus community and UC System in various capacities: George Breslauer as the University's Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost; Robert Price as the Associate Vice Chancellor of Research; Henry Brady as Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy; Bruce Cain directs the system-wide UC Center in Washington, D.C.; Pradeep Chhiber directs the Institute of International Studies; Jack Citrin directs the Institute of Governmental Studies; Merrill Shanks directs the Social Science Computing Lab; and Kevin O'Brien is newly-appointed as Interim Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies.
Last but certainly not least among our high points in the Department is the continuing expertise and professionalism of our first-rate staff. Vicki Lucas continues at the helm as our Director of Administration, Kathleen Madigan has taken on a new role as our Academic HR Analyst, and we welcomed two new members of our staff this past year - Bette Evans (our new Graduate Student Advisor) and John Li (our new accountant). Bette, John, and Kathleen are stepping into positions previously held by Andrea Rex, Claudia Bruno, Chris Ackerman, and Jessica Knowlton.
As is clear from this letter, we have a lot to celebrate and many people to thank! On the register of thanks, let me also express my heartfelt appreciation to those of you who have so generously contributed in the past to the Political Science Department. Your gift funds are an invaluable source of funding for our core activities for which there is no State funding like faculty research support, research colloquia and public lectures, graduate and undergraduate fellowships, and research travel for our students. Whether from anonymous and modest individual donors or from substantial named programs (e.g., the David William Bell fellowship, the Peter Kujachich fellowship, the Charles and Louise Travers fellowships, the John Gross American Democracy Project, and the Baxter Liberty Initiative), all gifts are treasured and put to immediate and good use. In you are interested in contributing to the Department, please visit our website at http://polisci.berkeley.edu/ps/support/ or feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I wind down this letter, I reflect on this past academic year as my first as Department Chair. I would not count this as a departmental highlight (I am quite sure my colleagues would concur), but I do wish to share the unique and cherished perspective this role has given me on Berkeley Political Science as a community. In short, my work as Chair has given me a newfound sense of pride and appreciation for Berkeley as a legacy and as a living, vibrant, and beloved institution whose tenacious pursuit of a life of the mind is unlike any other. Through the rough-and-tumble, topsy-turvy times we are all journeying through, I am reminded of the two defining phrases that capture perfectly what Berkeley stands for and why its excellence remains constant through good times and bad: Fiat Lux ("Let there be light"), our official motto, and Fight for California, the tune we carry each fall Saturday until our voices are hoarse and weary.
The Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science has long been one of the world's finest. We pride ourselves on our deep commitment to intellectual excellence, and to supporting inquiry and teaching that combines rigor, relevance, and openness to a variety of methodological and analytical approaches. The size of our faculty, currently fifty-two, allows us to do justice to the study of a vast range of important issues in political life. We offer an unusual combination of depth and breadth in the major subject areas of political science, covering not only the traditional subfields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory but supplementing those subfields with very substantial strength in areas such as formal theory, methods, organizations and public policy, political behavior, and public law, as well as the politics of every major region on the globe. Reflecting the department's broad understanding of our subject matter and enduring commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry, many members of the department have joint appointments in other schools (including business, information, law, and public policy) or departments (including economics and sociology), as well as strong connections to a variety of research centers around campus.
Each year, the Department serves approximately 1,000 declared and intended undergraduate majors, and graduates approximately 400 students with a B.A. degree. Outstanding undergraduate education is central to our mission. To reflect our commitment to undergraduates, we have made several major innovations in recent years, including a new set of requirements for graduation, a substantially enhanced Honors program, and a new seminar program to increase opportunities for undergraduates to work with faculty in small groups.
The Department has an outstanding Doctoral program, designed to prepare students for careers in university teaching and to conduct advanced research. Approximately 25 students enter our program each year and roughly 150 are enrolled at any given time. Our graduate students take courses that offer state-of-the-art training in the conduct of research, combined with a very wide-ranging curriculum addressing fundamental issues in politics. We also seek to integrate them rapidly into an intellectual community that prizes scholarly development through the exchange of ideas and the sharing of work in progress. After completing their work here, many will go on to take jobs at the country's leading colleges and universities.
On behalf of the Department, I welcome you to this website, which is designed to provide detailed and easily accessible information about our programs and the people who make this such an exciting place to study politics.