Ana Jones is a native of Shelby, North Carolina and is currently a junior at North Carolina Central University majoring in political science. She is an advocate for racial equality and social justice and enjoys learning how state and local policies affect the lives of those she is closest to. She hopes to attend graduate school in political science to further her interest in political psychology and to begin her research on the psyche of the black community in the arena of politics. She also hopes to become a promoter of political education and reform in her local community.
Theme Panel: Party System Nationalization: New Research Frontiers
Sat, September 3, 8:00 to 9:30am
Over the last 10, research on the nationalization of electoral politics has become a growing, innovative and complex field. Cutting-edge contributions have covered new regions, developed increasingly precise indicators capturing the variety of dimensions that this electoral phenomenon entails, and led to new databases and levels of analysis in parliamentary and presidential elections. Similarly, theoretical approaches of nationalization have progressed to an amazing extent inserting it, both as independent and dependent variable, in multivariate research designs, in particular designs addressing the impact on and of institutions, party organization ethnic fragmentation and economic factors. Furthermore, nationalization theories and indicators are now being applied to supranational forming electorates and party systems and merged with geographical information systems as is the case of the Constituency-Level Data Archive (CLEA). Finally, normative links between nationalization and the quality of representation have been made.
The goal of the panel is to gather some of the leading international researchers in the field to take stock of the progress of the last decade and to identify the most promising avenues of research for the coming decade. However, rather than simply indicating directions of future research the papers presented at the panel will take concrete steps in those directions based on original empirical analysis in papers that have not been published or presented so far. All papers address new theoretical questions with novel approaches and data based on current research.
Kenneth Kollman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Carolina De Miguel, University of Toronto
Deniele Caramani, University of Zurich
District-Specific and Diffusion Effects in Party Development
Imke Harbers, University of Amsterdam
Nationalization and Retrospective Voting & Clarity of Responsibility
Scott Morgenstern, University of Pittsburgh
Economic Crises and the Nationalization of Party Systems
Ignacio Jurado, University of York
Sandra Leon, University of York
Electoral Systems, Ethnic Diversity and Party Systems in Developing Democracies
David I. Lublin, American University
Legislative Policy-Making Authority, and Party System Aggregation
Allen D. Hicken, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Heather Stoll, University of California, Santa Barbara
Dara Gaines is an honors junior majoring in political science at The University of Arkansas. She is the Vice-President of the Lambda Theta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She is also a Silas H. Hunt and Dean’s List scholar, President of the Black Student’s Association and Vice-President of the Black Alumni Association. Dara was recently selected as the undergraduate recipient of the Northwest Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus Emerging Leader Scholarship. Due to her passion for history and working with children, Dara has developed an interest in the political participation habits of Black youth. Exploring various ways to stimulate their interest, Dara hopes her research will help to increase their participation, even to the point of holding office themselves. After college, Dara will enroll in a political science graduate program focusing on public policy.
Theme Panel: Forecasting the U.S. Presidential and Congressional Elections
Fri, September 2, 12:00 to 1:30pm
A variety of political science forecasts of US national elections.
Mary Stegmaier, University of Missouri
Alan I. Abramowitz, Emory University
James E. Campbell, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Robert S. Erikson, Columbia University
Michael S. Lewis-Beck, University of Iowa
Helmut Norpoth, Stony Brook University
Andreas Graefe, LMU Munich
Alfred G. Cuzan, The University of West Florida
Bruno Jerome, University of Paris II Pantheon Assas
Capitol Hill Insights: Voices from the Congressional Fellowship Program
The second virtual issue of PS: Political Science & Politics is now available online!
Entitled “Capitol Hill Insights,” the issue features articles written by alumni of APSA’s Congressional Fellowship Program and published in PS between 2010 and 2015. Each of the 24 articles pivots to a unique perspective of the fellowship experience, providing rich details and first-hand anecdotes that clarify and explain how Congress and government work.
Established in 1953, the Congressional Fellowship Program brings select scholars and professionals to Washington, DC, each year to serve fellowship placements in congressional and other offices. The articles gathered here—written by alumni who are political scientists, journalists, health policy specialists, and other domestic and international professionals—illustrate the unique first-hand insights into Congress and the legislative process provided by the fellowship experience.
Theme Panel: Transformations in Higher Education: Perspectives from Scholar-Practitioners
Thu, September 1, 10:00 to 11:30am
Political scientists with experience as Deans and Provosts discuss transformations in higher education and their implications for democracy, challenges to public universities, and the role of the social sciences in schools focused on the natural sciences and engineering.
Chair: Virginia Sapiro, Boston University
Henry E. Brady, University of California, Berkeley
Peter Lange, Duke University
Melissa Nobles, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Virginia Sapiro, Boston University
Theme Panel: 30 Years After the Immigration Reform and Control Act
Thu, September 1, 2:00 to 3:30pm
Panelists will discuss the legacy of IRCA, their thoughts on the immigration research that political scientists should conduct, and their views on the political and scholarly challenges going forward.
Deborah Schildkraut, firstname.lastname@example.org; Tufts University
Karthick Ramakrishnan, email@example.com; University of California Riverside
Daniel Tichenor, firstname.lastname@example.org; University of Oregon
Mark Hugo Lopez, email@example.com; Pew Research center
Ricardo Ramirez, firstname.lastname@example.org; University of Notre Dame
Els de Graauw, Els.deGraauw@baruch.cuny.edu; Baruch College
Excellence in teaching political science is essential to the discipline. This interview series highlights campus teaching award winners who have been recognized by APSA for their achievements. If you or a colleague has won a campus teaching award in the 2015-16 academic year, please let us know. At the 2016 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, every meeting attendee who has won a campus teaching award will be recognized at a reception honoring teaching. Learn more about the APSA Campus Teaching Award Recognition Program here.
Darren Walhof is a Professor of Political Science at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, where he teaches political theory and constitutional law. He has won multiple teaching awards, including, most recently, the 2015 University Outstanding Teacher Award. Walhof received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota, and his research interests include democratic theory, philosophical hermeneutics, and religion and politics. His articles have appeared in Political Theory, History of Political Thought, Philosophy & Social Criticism, and Contemporary Political Theory, among other places. He is currently finishing a book on the democratic theory of Hans-Georg Gadamer.
We can only learn these things by doing them, so my teaching methods themselves are also based in dialogue. In class I use a lot of structured, small-group exercises, discussions, and short simulations so that all students are required to be engaged.”
– Darren Walhof, Professor or Political Science, Grand Valley State University
What’s your teaching background? What was your first teaching experience like?
Walhof: I’ve been teaching full-time at the undergraduate level for 16 years, the last 13 at Grand Valley. Early in my career, I taught a whole variety of courses, including ones in political theory, law, comparative politics, and American politics. More recently, I’ve been able to narrow that to a few political theory courses and a constitutional law course.
My first experience as the sole instructor for a course was at the University of Minnesota while writing my dissertation. I had worked as a teaching assistant for a couple of years prior to this, so I had been able to watch and learn from some very good teachers. But that doesn’t really prepare you for doing it all on your own, and we didn’t receive much in the way of direct training in teaching. I was so nervous before every class, I would get sick to my stomach. I over-prepared, and I lectured far too much. Since I’m an introvert, I found it completely draining, and it made me question whether this would be a sustainable career for me. But it was also exciting and meaningful, especially when I saw students wrestling with the ideas and making connections for themselves. So I kept at it and obviously it got easier with more experience.
How would you describe your teaching style or philosophy?
Walhof: I describe my teaching style as dialogical, in both its objectives and its methods. I think about my political theory courses in terms of welcoming students to, and equipping them for, an ongoing conversation about the most important normative questions of politics and law: What is justice? What is freedom? What do we owe each other as fellow citizens and fellow humans? What are the best means of collective self-governance? Joining this centuries-old conversation requires the skills of argument and dialogue: listening to other voices (the voice of the text, the voices of scholars who have interpreted the text, my voice as the expert in the room, and the voices of fellow students); critical thinking (evaluating the claims that these voices are making); and responding to these claims (in written or spoken form).
We can only learn these things by doing them, so my teaching methods themselves are also based in dialogue. In class I use a lot of structured, small-group exercises, discussions, and short simulations so that all students are required to be engaged. I do lecture for short periods, but these also tend to involve a lot of back and forth. When you get students used to speaking and being active in class, they don’t just let you lecture. They interrupt with questions and comments, which I really enjoy. I also use a lot of writing, both short daily assignments and longer papers. Our classes tend to be pretty manageable in size, even though Grand Valley is big (25,000 students), so that makes it possible to work with them on their writing.
Do you have favorite materials or courses to teach?
Walhof: In the past few years I have been teaching a one-semester constitutional law course for students who plan to be K-12 teachers. It’s really fun because the students aren’t necessarily convinced coming into the class that this is something they need to know, so I enjoy winning them over to how important, interesting, and complicated constitutional interpretation and legal reasoning are. I love reading and discussing court opinions with them.
I also love teaching Modern Political Thought, especially Hobbes and Rousseau. The texts and ideas are so challenging and unfamiliar to the students that it is just great fun to help them figure out what the texts mean and see why the questions and ideas in them are important and still relevant.
What has been your most effective tool for engaging students in the classroom?
Walhof: In my view, engagement in the classroom grows out of students being prepared to learn when they walk into the classroom. I can design all the in-class activities that I want or write the best lectures, but if the students are not working outside of class and haven’t read and thought about things ahead of time, little learning will take place. Plus I have little tolerance for ill-informed discussions or debates that just involve the students repeating partisan talking points. So I use short writing assignments that are due every class period, or at least weekly, to get them to read and think prior to coming to class. I will often then use these as the basis for some kind of small-group exercises or discussions in class. It’s an iterative process of reading, writing, and then talking about the ideas and theories.
Did you have any classroom experiences as a student that influenced how you teach now?
Walhof: The graduate seminars I took at Minnesota were transformative because they were small and everyone was expected to participate in the discussion. My undergraduate education had been primarily lecture-based, which was comfortable for me since I’m reserved by nature and prefer not to speak in groups. I was very intimidated at first in grad school since the other students seemed far more adept at arguing than I was, but over time I became more comfortable and came to appreciate how much more I learned by having to articulate my thoughts in the back-and-forth of a seminar discussion, rather than merely listening and taking notes. This helped shape my commitment to building in ways for all students, even the reserved ones, to speak in my classes as a way to deepen their understanding of the things we are reading and to help them develop their thinking and speaking skills.