March 30

Dr. Ido Oren of the University of Florida will present the Samuel L. Clark Lecture. His topic is "WMD, WMD, WMD: How the Incantation of Ambiguous Phrases Creates Foreign Threats." The lecture will be held in the Bernhard Center Room 157-158. Dr. Oren will present a second talk on the topic, "Is There Really a 'Gap' between Political Science and Policy?" at 3:30 p.m. in the Political Science Library (3301 Friedman Hall).

March 31

Dr. Darren Davis of the University of Notre Dame will give a research presentation on “Roman Catholic African-American Politics” at 2 p.m. in the Political Science Library (3301 Friedmann Hall). His visit is cosponsored by the Political Science Graduate Student Association (PSGSA).

April 4

Dr. Man Bahadur Bishwakarma, a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Brandeis University, will present a talk on “Micro-finance and Social Inclusion: A Bottom-up Approach in Nepal” at 3:30 p.m. in the Political Science Library (3301 Friedman Hall).

April 6

Alex Guerrero of Rutgers University will present the Winnie Veenstra Peace Lecture. His topic  "Again Toward Perpetual Peace: Elections, World Government, and Lottocracy." The lecture will be held at the Bernhard Center rm 213 at 6 p.m. Co-sponsored by Department of Political Science, Department of Philosophy, Haenicke Institute for Global Education, Kalamazoo Peace Center, PAX Christi Kalamazoo, St. Thomas More Social Justice, and Kalamazoo Non-Violent Opponents of War.

April 13

Dr. Juliet Johnson of McGill University will present the George Klein Lecture on the topic "'Monumental Politics' in the Post-Communist World." The lecture will be held in the Fetzer Center's Putney Auditorium at 7 p.m. Dr. Johnson will present a second talk, "Hungary and the New Financial Nationalism in Europe," at 3:30 p.m. in the Political Science Library (3301 Friedmann Hall).


Faculty news

  • Dr. Jim Butterfield is on sabbatical during the 2016-17 academic year. He received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and will conduct a research project on Russian online forums as arenas of free speech. In addition to Vietnam, he also will travel to Russia and China during his sabbatical.
  • Dr. Denise Keele is on sabbatical during the 2016-17 academic year. Part of her project on climate change litigation in the United States and Germany involves field work at WMU's sister institution Passau University and the University of Tübingen, both located in Southern Germany. Her research is supported by a WMU Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award.
  • Dr. Mark Hurwitz is serving as program director in the Law and Social Sciences section of the National Science Foundation for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years. The section awards roughly $5.5 million in grants annually to researchers from around the country. He will return to campus in fall 2018.

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 three 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.