WelcomeEvan Head

From the Office of the Department Head…

Hello, Happy New Year, and welcome back to our Political Science students, faculty, and staff. I hope everybody enjoyed the break and that you are as enthusiastic about 2016 as we are.

Congratulations to all the students who graduated in the Fall 2015 semester. You have a lot to be proud of, and so do your families.  

Congratulations as well to some of our faculty members, who recently received awards.

  • Professor Yue Zhang received a prestigious Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and is spending the year in Washington, DC, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.  Professor Zhang is using the fellowship to complete her book project about informal housing and urban governance in China, India, and Brazil.
  • Professors Alexandra Filindra and Noah Kaplan received the Lucius Barker Award for the best paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting in 2015. Their paper is titled, “Racial Resentment and Whites’ Gun Policy Preferences in Contemporary America.”
  • Professors Filindra and Kaplan also received the 2015 Best Paper Award from the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association for their paper, “A Call to Arms: White Identity and Gun Control Policy Preferences in Post-Civil Rights America”
  • One of our Ph.D. students and teaching assistants, Scott Braam, presented “A Portrait of Politics: The Wholesale Marketing of the Chicago Neighborhood of Pilsen,” which was selected as the recipient of the MPSA 2015 Best Poster Award. Scott will receive his award at the 2016 MPSA meeting in April.

Our Fall speaker series, coordinated by Prof. Alba Alexander, was a huge success.  It culminated with a presentation by renowned author and public intellectual Garry Wills that packed Jane Addams Hull House with a standing-room-only audience. The Spring series promises to be at least as exciting.  The series will include: John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, who will present a talk about the US and Russia; attorney and author Thomas Geoghegan, speaking about labor and politics; former NPR correspondent John Matisonn, with a talk on South Africa; Larry Bennett of DePaul University on “The New Chicago”; and Cathy Cohen of the University of Chicago, speaking on new media and new political movements.  We will also co-sponsor two events on the Greek crisis.

And a word on the budget situation:  as of this writing (January, 2016) the State of Illinois has been without a budget for seven months.  However, please know that UIC is operating at full capacity regardless. Our enrollments are increasing and we are moving forward.

The study of Political Science is never more exciting and relevant than during a presidential election year.  We have many courses that will help our students make sense of the events going on around us.  And some are especially interesting, such as Prof. Katherine Floros’ new course on “The Politics of Harry Potter” (POLS 300, Symposium on Politics). This course is being taught for the first time and immediately filled up with sixty eager Harry Potter fans. 

In addition to course work, our students make time for student organizations, internships, study abroad, student employment and much more.  Our alumni choose careers that include employment with government agencies; working for interest groups and research organizations; joining the corporate world in marketing, public relations, government relations, journalism, and other specialties; and taking positions on the staffs of elected and appointed political officials.  Many of our students go on to law school and have successful careers practicing law.

As faculty, it is our goal to enhance the student experience inside and outside the classroom.  All of us are active scholars who publish books and articles in our specialties, and we also love to teach and spend time with our students.  We make opportunities for our graduate and undergraduate students to engage side-by-side in faculty research, using a variety of methods and new technologies.

Wishing you a successful semester,

Professor Evan C. McKenzie



Fortress Europe or E Pluribus Unum? :
Multilevel Governance and the Governance
of Migration and Asylum in the EU

Conference to be held on September 22-24, 2016 in Chicago, IL
Submission deadline: March 5th, 2016


Supported by a generous grant from the European Union Studies Association (EUSA), the University of Illinois and Rutgers University are organizing an academic symposium entitled Fortress Europe or E Pluribus Unum? : Multilevel governance and the governance of migration and asylum in the EU.

The workshop will take place on September 23-24, 2016 on the University of Illinois, Chicago campus, and will be organized along the following themes: responses (at all levels of the EU) to the ongoing refugee and migration crises, impact of the latter on the politics at local, national, and supranational levels, implications for issues of identity politics and the European idea, and the crises’ impact on the future of the European Union, and its governance. The organizers are currently soliciting proposals from a wide range of participants and the full call for proposals is available here.


Speaker Series - Gary Wills 

"Learn about Islam before you criticize its followers, historian says" 



Special Reports

Rahm Emanuel's Rubber Stamp City Council: Chicago City Council Report #7, June 8, 2011-November 15, 2014 - Release Date: December 8, 2014

The Cook County Board in the Preckwinkle Era: Cook County Board of Commissioners Report, December 16, 2012 - April 16, 2014


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  • Student Highlight: Alberto Barraza

    by Stephanie Whitaker | Jan 27, 2016
    Alberto Barraza photo
    Alberto Barraza - Expected graduation:  May 2016

    Alberto A. Barraza, will be a UIC graduating senior on Mother’s Day weekend, May, 2016.  Even before his high school graduation, he had his sights set on attending UIC for college.  Alberto admits that due to some setbacks, he was not very focused in high school and his grades plummeted.  He did finally get back on track, received his high school diploma, and was able to enroll in Wilbur Wright College.

    While at Wright, Alberto worked full-time with the Chicago Housing Authority.  Even with a full-time job as an Inspector, he managed to graduate with high honors, becoming a member of Phi Theta Kappa honors society, and earning his Associate in Arts degree.  Finally, Alberto saw his dream coming to fruition.  He applied to UIC where he was accepted to the Fall class of 2014.

    Majoring in Political Science and minoring in Criminology, Law, and Justice, Alberto believes UIC has opened up a path for great opportunities.  While taking Political Science 101, he had the opportunity to volunteer as an election judge for the mayoral campaign of 2015 where he was able to get an inside look at the duties in a precinct polling place and see how election votes get processed.

    Alberto was also a member of the award winning UIC Mock Trial Team.  Through this experience he says, he “gained an understanding of trial practice and techniques, and oral advocacy through hands-on training.”  During his senior year, Alberto took on an internship as an attorney’s assistant at R.E. Law Chicago, a real estate law firm, to satisfy the requirements for the Political Science Experiential Learning course, POLS 301.  He did all of this while having a part-time job as the front office manager for HouseHold Inspection Team Inc.

    The best news is that now that his internship has ended, Alberto has been hired as a part-time employee for R.E. Law Chicago! As if, being enrolled as a full-time student and managing two part-time jobs, wasn’t enough, he is involved in the Political Science Student Union (PSSU) where he serves as an Executive Director. Alberto had this to say about PSSU, “With the help of all other e-board members of PSSU, we have managed to bring forward more civic engagement to UIC’s campus, from Presidential campaign watch parties, to Political Science study sessions, and Political Science Alumni Panels.  My main goal as the Executive Director is to ensure that the Political Science Student Union has a well established voter registration team. One of the most effective ways to get others civically engaged is by getting them registered to vote.”

    Mr. Barraza is in the process of being admitted into the Pi Sigma Alpha honors society and will graduate Cum Laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a minor in Criminology, Law, and Justice in May.  He says, “this will by far, be my biggest achievement, but more importantly, it is a step towards my main goal, which is to graduate law school and ultimately obtain a Doctor of Science of Law (J.S.D).”

    Click here to view previous student highlights.