News

Ask the Expert: Can we trust election polling?

Ask the Expert: Can we trust election polling?

October 21, 2020 - Liz Schondelmayer

In the months leading up to this year’s historic presidential election, news headlines have consistently highlighted movement in national polls: who's up, who's down and who's winning in each state. For many voters, these polls can be confusing, and a challenge to interpret and trust. Corwin Smidt, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, explains how poll data is collected, how to interpret it and why polling data shouldn’t dictate public opinion when voters cast their ballots.

MSU PLS students create Voters' Guide for local school board elections

MSU PLS students create Voters' Guide for local school board elections

October 20, 2020

Students in MSU PLS Assistant Professor Sarah Reckhow's Urban Politics class created a website to guide East Lansing voters in selecting their next Board of Education members.

MSU PLS professors create Election Madness game to teach students to learn, play and most importantly, care, about political campaigns

MSU PLS professors create Election Madness game to teach students to learn, play and most importantly, care, about political campaigns

October 19, 2020 - Karessa Weir

MSU Political Science Associate Professor Eric Gonzalez Juenke came up with the idea of creating a bracket system similar to the NCAA’s to determine winners in close elections for public office across the country. This summer, he narrowed it down to 21 races and asked fellow political science professors to share it with their students and peers.

Two MSU PLS students nominated for prestigious graduate school scholarships

Two MSU PLS students nominated for prestigious graduate school scholarships

October 8, 2020

Two Political Science seniors - Jasmine Jordan and Maysa Sitar - are among the students Michigan State University has nominated for nationally competitive graduate school scholarships: the Marshall Scholarship, the Mitchell Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarships.

PhD Student Mircea Lazar named Diversity Torch

PhD Student Mircea Lazar named Diversity Torch

October 7, 2020

Diversity Torches celebrate our students who uphold a diversity value or ideal. As “Diversity Torches,” they provide light, guidance, and awareness to their fellow students and all who see them. Our “Torch” for this month is Mircea Lazar, a MSU Political Science PhD student. He is currently researching LGBTQ+ communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Remembering Ruth: The long-lasting legacy and immediate controversy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Remembering Ruth: The long-lasting legacy and immediate controversy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

September 28, 2020 - Karessa Weir, Liz Schondelmayer

When news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spread Friday night, the political science world was rocked. Twitter and Facebook were filled with tributes by those who considered her an inspiration, as well as predictions by those who feared the long-term impact of her death just weeks before the 2020 presidential election.

Former SCOTUS law clerks are highly coveted for their skill and connections, but are they worth it?

Former SCOTUS law clerks are highly coveted for their skill and connections, but are they worth it?

September 23, 2020 - Karessa Weir

MSU Political Science Professor Ryan Black has published research to show that former Supreme Court clerks enjoy significant influence over their former bosses.

Dr. Nazita Lajevardi receives grant to study attitudes toward the release of inmates during Covid-19

Dr. Nazita Lajevardi receives grant to study attitudes toward the release of inmates during Covid-19

September 18, 2020

Jail and prison inmates are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and advocates are calling for the release of non-violent offenders. Whether this will succeed depends on public attitudes toward the incarcerated and health emergencies, according to a new MSU PLS research grant.

MSU PLS to study how social pressure affects the youth vote amid Covid-19

MSU PLS to study how social pressure affects the youth vote amid Covid-19

September 18, 2020

Three MSU Political Science researchers were awarded a Rapid-Response Grant to assess the outcomes of civic training and positive social pressure to vote on young voters during a global pandemic.

Best Mentor Ever: Saying Goodbye to Dr. Chuck Matzke

Best Mentor Ever: Saying Goodbye to Dr. Chuck Matzke

September 17, 2020

Students, colleagues and friends send well wishes to Dr. Chuck Matzke, longtime Political Science professor, who retired at the end of the summer.

conflictNet: Helping researchers map the networks of civil unrest

conflictNet: Helping researchers map the networks of civil unrest

September 15, 2020 - Karessa Weir

Dr. Shahryar Minhas, Assistant Professor of Political Science, has received a National Science Foundation grant to create conflictNet, a tool by which scholars can study civil conflict through a network perspective.

MSU PLS Welcomes Research Associate Meghan Wilson

MSU PLS Welcomes Research Associate Meghan Wilson

September 9, 2020

Dean's Research Associate Meghan Wilson has joined MSU Political Science

Political Science Experts Available for Election

Political Science Experts Available for Election

September 9, 2020

MSU Political Science is proud to offer a wide array of expertise on the upcoming elections.

MSU PLS senior Allie Klein named Diversity Torch

MSU PLS senior Allie Klein named Diversity Torch

August 21, 2020

Allie Klein is a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Political Science, who took a “Slavery and American Popular Culture” class with SSC’s Dean’s Research Associate Program scholar, Nakia Parker, in which she produced a paper on how black women have been imagined in selected works of popular cinema.

The longer-term coronavirus fallout could erode democracy. Here’s how that could play out.

The longer-term coronavirus fallout could erode democracy. Here’s how that could play out.

August 4, 2020 - Cristina Bodea and Christian Houle

Drs. Cristina Bodea and Christian Houle discuss the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had on democracy across the world in the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog.

MSU PLS Professors chosen as new editors for The Political Economist

MSU PLS Professors chosen as new editors for The Political Economist

August 3, 2020

Drs. Shahryar Minhas, Andrew Kerner and Cristina Bodea are now serving as editors of The Political Economist Newsletter for the American Political Science Association.

Dr. Nazita Lajevardi joining University of Oxford as Visiting Professor of American Government

Dr. Nazita Lajevardi joining University of Oxford as Visiting Professor of American Government

July 28, 2020

MSU Political Science Assistant Professor Nazita Lajevardi has been appointed the Winant Visiting Professor of American Government for 2021-22 at the Rothermere American Institute at University of Oxford.

Jasmine Jordan - Diversity Torch

Jasmine Jordan - Diversity Torch

July 27, 2020

Jasmine Jordan is a senior in the College of Social Science majoring in Political Science. She is the co-president of the Council of Students with Disabilities (CSD), as well as a member of the Honors College and Social Science Scholars Program.

MSU Political Science improves in global ranking

MSU Political Science improves in global ranking

July 20, 2020

In the newly announced Global Rankings of Academic Subjects 2020, MSU Political Science has improved 16 positions to No. 43.

Remembering John Lewis

Remembering John Lewis

July 20, 2020 - Becky Jensen

Former Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard Reflects on the Life of Civil Rights Leader and U.S. Representative John Lewis.

MSU receives $4M for new doctoral fellowships in education sciences

MSU receives $4M for new doctoral fellowships in education sciences

July 9, 2020

Michigan State University has received $4 million from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare scholars who will help shape decisions affecting students and schools across the nation. The grant will provide fellowships, including tuition, living expenses and additional resources, for up to 21 doctoral students over five years.

To fight US racism, research prescribes a nationwide healing process

To fight US racism, research prescribes a nationwide healing process

June 24, 2020 - Dr. Benjamin Appel

Calls for reform to policing across the nation can help to directly reduce police violence against civilians but don’t address the centuries-old underlying problems in American society. Our research indicates that the country is not likely to escape its historic cycles of violence and racial oppression without addressing this painful and troubled history.

PLS Announces Graduate Awards

PLS Announces Graduate Awards

June 16, 2020

The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce the two Graduate Student awards of the year. There were many outstanding nominations. The winners of each award will receive $500 from the department.

PLS PhD student Lizzie Brannon named Peace and Security Scholar Fellow

PLS PhD student Lizzie Brannon named Peace and Security Scholar Fellow

June 10, 2020

Lizzie will be a 2020-2021 USIP-Minerva Peace and Security Scholar Fellow at the US Institute of Peace. Her dissertation, “The Role of Women in Former Rebel Parties in Post-Conflict Africa,” examines the role of women in rebel groups that have transitioned into political parties.

MSU Political Science department statement condemning racism and anti-Black violence

June 8, 2020

We stand in support of our Black students, faculty, staff, and members of the community and join the College of Social Science and Michigan State University in condemning the racism and anti-Black violence that permeates the spaces we share.

PLS PhD student Jonathan King wins NSF grant

PLS PhD student Jonathan King wins NSF grant

June 4, 2020

Jonathan King, an MSU Political Science doctoral student, has been awarded a National Sciences Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.

PhD student Erika Vallejo receives American Political Science Association's Minority Fellowship

PhD student Erika Vallejo receives American Political Science Association's Minority Fellowship

May 28, 2020

The APSA Minority Fellows Program (MFP) is a fellowship competition for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds applying to or in the early stages of doctoral programs in political science.

Livestreaming arguments? The Supreme Court made the right decision

Livestreaming arguments? The Supreme Court made the right decision

May 11, 2020 - Dr. Ryan Black

Dr. Ryan Black has published an oped in The Hill discussing the decision to livestream Supreme Court proceedings.

PLS Graduating Seniors Celebrated with an Online Yearbook

PLS Graduating Seniors Celebrated with an Online Yearbook

May 6, 2020

The MSU Department of Political Science is proud to celebrate our 2020 undergraduate seniors who completed their degrees in the Spring 2020 with an online yearbook.

Opinion: Why Is Support For Media Crackdowns Rising In Africa?

Opinion: Why Is Support For Media Crackdowns Rising In Africa?

May 4, 2020 - Jeff Conroy-Krutz

Dr. Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz has published an opinion piece on National Public Radio on how leaders around the world are exploiting the fear and uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic to cement their power and suppress their opponents.

Two PLS students win Women's Leadership Institute Awards

Two PLS students win Women's Leadership Institute Awards

April 28, 2020

Two Political Science undergraduate students Gifty Owusu-Tawiah and Danielle McClain recently won awards from the Women's Leadership Institute video contest.

MPP Capstone Forum will take place virtually in May

MPP Capstone Forum will take place virtually in May

April 16, 2020

Dr. Josh Sapotichne, Director of the Master of Public Policy Program, announced yesterday that the current MPP cohort will be presenting their capstone projects virtually starting in May.

Report looks at how schools could make up for time lost in class due to COVID-19

Report looks at how schools could make up for time lost in class due to COVID-19

April 10, 2020

Dr. Sarah Reckhow, Associate Professor of Political Science, discusses how to catch children up in their education once schools are allowed to reopen.

Dr. Ani Sarkissian awarded Global Religion Research Initiative grant

Dr. Ani Sarkissian awarded Global Religion Research Initiative grant

April 7, 2020

Dr. Sarkassian has been named as the winner of a Project Launch grant to research The Role of Religious Ministries in Arab Monarchies.

PLS major wins Julian Samora Institute Scholarship

PLS major wins Julian Samora Institute Scholarship

April 3, 2020

Leobardo Vallejo, Political Science major and MSU Social Science Scholar, has been awarded the Julian Samora Institute Scholarship for undergraduates.

We Still Need Oral Arguments at Supreme Court

We Still Need Oral Arguments at Supreme Court

March 31, 2020 - Ryan Black

Dr. Ryan Black, professor of political science, has published an opinion article on why the U.S. Supreme Court needs to continue oral arguments instead of using only written briefs.

MPP remembers state Rep. Isaac Robinson

MPP remembers state Rep. Isaac Robinson

March 30, 2020

MI State House Rep Isaac Robinson passed away Sunday likely due to complications from Covid-19. Mr. Robinson, D-Detroit, had a great impact on Masters of Public Policy students.

New Summer Online Course Explores Pandemics and Social Science

New Summer Online Course Explores Pandemics and Social Science

March 24, 2020

We are pleased to add a highly relevant course to our Summer Online Course selection. ISS 318 Pandemics and Social Science explores the history of pandemics, how they are portrayed in pop culture, and related policies. Instructor Erica Frantz is the 2020 CSS Outstanding Teacher.

Millions of Africans lack access to clean water. This makes coronavirus a bigger threat.

Millions of Africans lack access to clean water. This makes coronavirus a bigger threat.

March 22, 2020 - Brian Howard and Kangwook Han

MSU Political Science PhD student Kangwook Han writes about the effects of clean water shortage in Africa on efforts to fight the coronavirus.

Coronavirus could be used by authoritarian leaders as excuse to undermine democracy, experts warn

Coronavirus could be used by authoritarian leaders as excuse to undermine democracy, experts warn

March 19, 2020

Dr. Erica Frantz discusses autocratic regimes in this article in The Independent.

MSU Coronavirus Updates

March 11, 2020

Effective at noon March 11, MSU is suspending face-to-face instruction in classroom settings and moving to virtual instruction. We are continuing to work with faculty and staff on laboratory and performance classes, and the university will provide additional guidance. This suspension of in-person classes will last until April 20.

Three Political Science majors are nominated for prestigious national scholarships

Three Political Science majors are nominated for prestigious national scholarships

February 28, 2020

Jasmine Jordan, an Honors College junior majoring in political science, has been nominated for two scholarships. PLS junior Andrea Bair and Maysa Sitar, also an Honors College junior majoring in political science, has also been nominated.

Political Science Summer Online Courses Now Available

Political Science Summer Online Courses Now Available

February 25, 2020

MSU Political Science is pleased to offer a wide array of courses online for the Summer 2020. Please refer to this page while we work to update the Summer Session course list on the Schedule of Courses website. https://polisci.msu.edu/undergraduate/summer.html

Five Things to Know about the Presidential Primary Election

Five Things to Know about the Presidential Primary Election

February 24, 2020 - Karessa Weir

Super Tuesday is quickly approaching and the predictions are ramping up as to who will win the 2020 Democratic primary election. Matt Grossmann – associate professor of political science and director of Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research – wants you to slow down, take a step back and learn a few important points about presidential primaries before you get overwhelmed by the rapid news cycle.

Jessica Schoenherr hired at University of South Carolina

Jessica Schoenherr hired at University of South Carolina

February 18, 2020

Political Science PhD candidate Jessica Schoenherr has accepted a position as assistant professor of public law at University of South Carolina.

Dr. Erica Frantz named Outstanding Teacher for 2020

Dr. Erica Frantz named Outstanding Teacher for 2020

February 11, 2020

Dr. Erica Frantz, Assistant Professor of Political Science, was named by Social Science College Dean Rachel Croson as the College's Outstanding Teacher for 2020.

Prioritizing Judicial Nominations after Presidential Transitions

Prioritizing Judicial Nominations after Presidential Transitions

February 11, 2020 - Jonathan M. King, Ian Ostrander

MSU Political Science PhD student Jonathan M. King and Dr. Ian Ostrander have published their latest research examining district court judicial vacancies from 1981-2019 in Presidential Studies Quarterly.

Will bold landmark election ruling improve Malawian democracy

Will bold landmark election ruling improve Malawian democracy

February 11, 2020 - Michael Wahman

The Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, Malawi, recently delivered its anxiously anticipated ruling in the much covered presidential election case. The atmosphere was tense. Many businesses had locked down, fearing rioting if the court ruled in favour of the incumbent government of President Peter Mutharika.

No to Court Packing but Yes to Term Limits?

No to Court Packing but Yes to Term Limits?

February 6, 2020 - Ryan C. Black and Ryan J. Owens

Dr. Ryan Black, Professor of Political Science, surveyed members of the Supreme Court bar to determine their views on proposed reforms to the country's highest court. The result: a strong "no" to increasing justices but many are open to term limits.

The Digital Dictators: How Technology Strengthens Autocracy

The Digital Dictators: How Technology Strengthens Autocracy

February 6, 2020 - Erica Frantz, Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Joseph Wright

Dr. Erica Frantz writes about how a new arsenal of digital tools enables authoritarian regimes to cast a wider net than every before in surveillance of its citizens, with fewer resources than in the past. At the same time, digital suppression by the regimes decreases protests.

PLS professors discuss democracy promotion on U-M panel

PLS professors discuss democracy promotion on U-M panel

February 6, 2020

Drs. Erica Frantz and Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz were panelists at the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies' panel on "Is Democracy Promotion Dead?" at the University of Michigan Tuesday.

Political Science Scholar takes top Diversity Research award

Political Science Scholar takes top Diversity Research award

January 28, 2020

Political Science Scholar Jasmine Jordan won first prize in the Third Annual Diversity Research Showcase, held in conjunction with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration at MSU.

"Breaking the Exclusion Cycle" by Dr. Ana Bracic

"Breaking the Exclusion Cycle" by Dr. Ana Bracic

January 24, 2020

Dr. Ana Bracic, Assistant Professor of Political Science, has published "Breaking the Exclusion Cycle: How to Promote Cooperation between Majority and Minority Ethnic Groups."

Crowd-sourcing social science: How an MSU professor is engaging the public in one-of-a-kind Supreme Court research

Crowd-sourcing social science: How an MSU professor is engaging the public in one-of-a-kind Supreme Court research

January 17, 2020 - Liz Schondelmayer

Crowdsourcing is a controversial yet innovative product of the internet age, allowing for individuals and organizations to harness the collective power of the world wide web for fundraising and brainstorming. But can crowdsourcing also be used for academic research?

As MSU plans fall break "pilot", concerns about effect on voter turnout

As MSU plans fall break "pilot", concerns about effect on voter turnout

January 12, 2020 - Michigan Radio

Political Science professors Sarah Reckhow and Matt Grossmann discuss the effects of the proposed fall break on student voter turnout with Michigan Radio.

Dr. Sarah Reckhow Named A Top Influencer in Education Policy

Dr. Sarah Reckhow Named A Top Influencer in Education Policy

January 9, 2020

Dr. Reckhow, Associate Professor of Political Science, is among five Michigan State University faculty earned national recognition for their influential research in the field of education.

InnovateGov internship program featured in Urban Affairs Forum

InnovateGov internship program featured in Urban Affairs Forum

January 9, 2020

MSU Political Science PhD student Kesicia Dickinson and faculty Marty Jordan, Sarah Reckhow and Joshua Sapotiche explain the impact that InnovateGov is having in Detroit as part of the Urban Affairs Forum's Engaged Scholarship Series.

Progress in rolling out of national power grids has stalled across Africa

Progress in rolling out of national power grids has stalled across Africa

January 9, 2020 - Carolyn Logan and Kim Ward

Political Science associate professor Carolyn Logan is deputy director of Afrobarometer. She wrote about the progress toward supplying electricity across Africa.

PhD student Caleb Lucas publishes paper analyzing Hezbollah's relationships with other non-state groups

PhD student Caleb Lucas publishes paper analyzing Hezbollah's relationships with other non-state groups

January 2, 2020 - Karessa Weir

"Once More, With Feeling: Using Sentiment Analysis to Improve Models of Relationships Between Non-State Actors" was published Jan. 1, 2020 with co-author Kevin T. Green of University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Erica Frantz publishes new book: "Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes"

Dr. Erica Frantz publishes new book: "Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes"

December 23, 2019

Dr. Erica Frantz, Assistant Professor of Political Science, has published her latest book covering the full spectrum of political systems.

Let's define a better bellwether - with a focus on Michigan

Let's define a better bellwether - with a focus on Michigan

December 12, 2019 - Dr. Corwin Smidt

Data-driven discussion and identification of what should be Michigan’s bellwether counties point to a consistent set of counties that exhibit sizable changes each election that are also accurate reflections of statewide trends. A county’s propensity to both change and change in the same way as the state is negatively correlated with its percentage of college graduates.

Five Things You Need to Know About the Impeachment Process

Five Things You Need to Know About the Impeachment Process

December 4, 2019 - Karessa Weir

In the inaugural Five Things to Know lecture series, Political Science assistant professor Ian Ostrander boiled down all the chatter about the ongoing impeachment of President Donald J. Trump into five important points about the little-understood process of presidential impeachment.

Public Policy Senior selected as Udall Scholar

Public Policy Senior selected as Udall Scholar

December 2, 2019 - Beth Bonsall

Public Policy Senior Charlie Booher, an Honors College student also majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife, is one of 55 students selected as 2019 Udall Scholars.

Professor Wahman’s Research Launched to Malawi Political Stakeholders

Professor Wahman’s Research Launched to Malawi Political Stakeholders

November 26, 2019

Professor Michael Wahman is the keynote speaker at a launch and press conference organized by the UK’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and Malawi’s Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) in Lilongwe (Malawi), November 27. At the launch, Prof. Wahman will release the results from his new parliamentary candidate survey on the Costs of Politics in Malawi. The launch will be attended by Malawi Members of Parliament, members of the international diplomatic community, journalists, and representatives of Malawi Civil Society.

Dr. Cristana Bodea presents at international conference

Dr. Cristana Bodea presents at international conference

November 8, 2019

Professor Bodea has been invited to attend the SUERF conference at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy on “Populism, Economic Policies and Central Banking.”

Training Detroit's Future Civic Leaders

Training Detroit's Future Civic Leaders

October 17, 2019

“The inspiration for my work is my responsibility to my community.”

Dr. Boniface Dulani heading anti-corruption efforts in Malawi

Dr. Boniface Dulani heading anti-corruption efforts in Malawi

October 3, 2019

Dr. Boniface Dulani, 2011 PhD alumnus, has been hired to lead a team of researchers in drafting of a new National Anti Corruption Strategy to guide the anti-corruption efforts in Malawi over the period 2020-2025. Dr. Dulani is research director at the Institute of Public Onion and Research in Malawai whose the Corruption Perception Survey of 2019 will guide the new strategy. Dr. Dulani has also served as Fieldwork Operations Manager for Afrobarometer since 2008

'Red State Blues' reveals how political parties haven't changed politices

'Red State Blues' reveals how political parties haven't changed politices

October 1, 2019 - Caroline Brooks

The political divide between Democrats and Republicans seems to be the most contentious in recent years but in his latest book, “Red State Blues,” Michigan State University political scientist Matthew Grossmann presents findings that might put some liberals at ease.

Alumnus Nathan Ohle kicks of the Fall Speaker Series

Alumnus Nathan Ohle kicks of the Fall Speaker Series

September 23, 2019

On Sept. 23, the department kicked off the Fall Speaker Series with CEO of Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and Michigan State University alum (#GoGreen), Nathan Ohle.

Dr. Ryan Black named 2019 Graduate School Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award

Dr. Ryan Black named 2019 Graduate School Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award

September 16, 2019

Professor Ryan Black has been chosen by the MSU Graduate School as the recipient of the 2019 Michigan State University Graduate School Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award for his mentoring of students in research and teaching.

Elizabeth Lane Awarded Best Graduate Student Paper

Elizabeth Lane Awarded Best Graduate Student Paper

June 17, 2019

Ph.D. candidate, Elizabeth Lane, has been recognized by the American Political Science Association’s Law and Courts Section as the Co-winner of the section’s Best Graduate Student Paper.

Political Science/Pres-Law Student Warren Stanfield seeking East Lansing City Council bid

Political Science/Pres-Law Student Warren Stanfield seeking East Lansing City Council bid

May 30, 2019

Warren Stanfield has been busy. He is currently collecting signatures for a bid for East Lansing City Council.

Do you trust politicians? Depends on how you define trust

Do you trust politicians? Depends on how you define trust

May 15, 2019 - Caroline Brooks, Joseph Hamm

Dr. Corwin Smidt collaborated with MSU Criminal Justice professor Joe Hamm to survey perceptions of federal government.