• What the heck just happened? Where do we go from here? The Department of Political Science will host a panel discussion on the 2016 elections and their consequences on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 12:00 p.m, 3301 Friedmann Hall. Panel members will include faculty members Dr. John Clark, Dr. Peter Wielhouwer and Adjunct Faculty member Thomas Bradley Kent. Also on the panel, First Vice Chair of the Kalamazoo Democratic Party, Connor Farrell and Vice President of Political Affairs for Grand River Strategies, Troy Hudson.


Faculty news

  • Dr. Denise Keele received a Faculty Achievement Award in Professional and Community Service from the College of Arts and Sciences.  The award recognizes her service to Western Michigan University, the Department of Political Science and to the Kalamazoo community. As one of her sponsors commented, Keele "is an enormous asset to WMU and deserves our strongest support. 
  • Dr. Mark Hurwitz has been named co-principal investigator for the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Innocence Project, a legal clinic that seeks to exonerate people who have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes. The project was recently awarded a $418,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant to continue its vital work.
  • Dr. Sushi Datta-Sandhu received a Faculty Achievement Award in Global Engagement from the College of Arts and Sciences.  The award recognizes her exemplary commitment to global engagement and internationalization, as expressed through research and creative activity; teaching, mentoring, or curriculum transformation; professional service; or a combination of achievements in these areas.
  • Dr. Karl Hokenmaier was recognized with a Part-time Instructor Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences.  The award acknowledges significant contributions to the learning environment by part-time instructors.  It is based on an accumulated record of achievement as a teacher at WMU as evidenced, for example, by student evaluations, peer and supervisor feedback, and letters of support.  Dr. Hokenmaier received his PhD from WMU in 2002. 

Student news

  • George Lluberes, current political science doctoral student, was awarded first place in the 3MT Grad Talks fall 2016 competition. Designed and sponsored by the Graduate Student Association at Western Michigan University, the program is inspired by TED Talks. WMU graduate students from all disciplines presented their research ideas, theses and dissertations for 3 minutes. Watch George's talk here.
  • Andrew Sorrow, a spring 2016 graduate with majors in both public law and philosophy, was recently awarded the Vernon Ehlers Intern Award for his outstanding service to the Michigan House of Representatives, specifically for his work in House Appropriations Chair Al Pscholka's office. Sorrow participated in the department's Capital Intern program during spring 2016 as an intern for Representative Pscholka's office.
  • Jennifer Shaneberger, current MIDA student, has been awarded a WMU Graduate Student Research Grant for her research on "History and Memory in Conflict Resolution Through the Lens of Western Sahara." Her project investigates the relationship among history, memory, and communal conflict through interviews with Moroccans and the Sahrawi of Western Sahara. The conflict between these populations has spanned more than 40 years, creating a new generation of Sahrawi refugees born in Algerian refugee camps. Their identity is intrinsically linked not only to the land but to the conflict surrounding it. The memories of their cultural history passed to them play a significant role in shaping their identity as Sahrawis. The objective of her study is to better understand the influence of history and memory in group narratives surrounding the conflict between Morocco and the Sahrawi in order to inform the conflict resolution process. 

Ph.D. placements

  • Marisha Lecea (Ph.D. 2015) has been appointed assistant professor at Glenville State College, West Virginia, beginning in spring 2016.
  • Josh Berkenpas (Ph.D. 2016) has been appointed assistant professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, beginning in fall 2016.
  • Stacey Pollard (Ph.D. 2015) serves as a Senior Social Scientist with the US African Command, and was published recently in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  • Michael Romano (Ph.D. 2014) has been appointed assistant professor at Shenandoah University, Virginia, beginning in fall 2015.

Alumni news

  • Kevin Knutson, (M.A., 2001), was recognized by the Department of Political Science and the College of Arts and Sciences as a 2016 Alumni Achievement Award winner. Knutson is the Director of Undergraduate Academic Advising for the College of Arts and Sciences and was presented with the "Make a Difference Award" by Western Michigan University in 2015.
  • Several Department of Political Science alums received 2016 Alumni Achievement Awards from departments that they were also associated with while at Western Michigan University, including: Dane Alexander (M.A., 1983), Department of Geosciences, Michael Riedel (B.A., 1994), Global and International Studies, Matt Bahleda (B.A., 2011), Department of Philosophy and Dr. Corey Shouse (B.A., 1992) Department of Spanish.
  •  Geoffrey Rettig, Bachelor of Arts in Public Law, was appointed Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Midland, Michigan.