Letter from the Chair

Welcome to the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science!

Many issues of great importance to human society can be solved with technological advancements. But within our communities and around the world, politics and governance lie at the heart of many of the thorniest and most persistent issues we face: war and peace; political polarization; natural resource governance; discrimination and inequality; preventing and managing diseases and extreme poverty; the cross-border global flows of people, goods, resources, and ideas; and the contentious state of democracy in the United States and around the world. In political science we not only seek to define and identify problems facing our communities and our world, we also seek to find pragmatic and more effective solutions.

At the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, we welcome open intellectual exchange and debate on these and many issues in our classrooms, our research, and our public engagement. We are proud of our reputation as a flagship public institution, and one of the very best political science departments in the world.

Our faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students continue to pursue award-winning and internationally recognized research on a range of topics including, for example, how to combat human-trafficking, the relative importance of political polarization, rethinking models of political economy, the history, and importance of sovereignty, tracking election violence, how to govern public goods, and the political consequences of cognitive differences in individuals.

As an undergraduate major and as a graduate program, we think that studying political science teaches both the ability to consider big picture theory and the analytical tools necessary to evaluate the credibility and value of theory and evidence.

Looking forward, I both hope and expect a period of ongoing change on campus, in our country, and in the position of the US in the world, and we can use these periods of change as opportunities to re-envision excellence. As chair, some of my many goals are to build and expand connections within our impressive alumni network, grow the strength of our faculty and graduate programs, and work towards an environment in which all members of our community feel like they are supported in doing their best work.

Our department has a longstanding tradition of excellence, and I hope you will consider joining me in working to sustain our future excellence by supporting the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science. At this critical moment of change, it has never been more important to train students who are not afraid to engage in debate, who recognize the importance of intellectual, substantive, and experiential diversity, and who combine this with strong analytical and technical abilities. This is recognized in the popularity of political science as an undergraduate major—we currently have more than 1100 majors—and in the success of our Ph.D. students on not only the academic market but also in public service and the private sector.


Susan Hyde

Professor and Department Chair