WelcomeEvan Head

From the Office of the Department Head…

Hello and welcome back to our Political Science students, faculty and staff!

In spite of budget delays and budget cuts, our Political Science student enrollment has grown by 10% over Fall of 2015.  Political Science undergraduate and graduate students have more than forty courses to choose from this fall as they pursue degrees for the major or minor.  The study of Political Science is exciting and relevant to the lives of our students, and our courses this semester are especially interesting because they are informed by major events that we read about in the media every day. In domestic politics, the 2016 presidential campaign is heating up as the general election draws close. If you look to the left of this page, you will see a "Register to Vote Here" button that will take you directly to the Illinois State Board of Elections Online Voter Registration site. If you are not registered yet, this is your opportunity!

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, 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.

Professor Evan C. McKenzie

The continuation of the welcoming message can be found here.


UIC offers early voting on campus
this week

IMG_1276Early voting opened on the UIC campus today and students showed up to register and vote for the first time.  Some seasoned student voters returned to do their civic duty.  Students paused to take a framed selfie in the hall, and post on social media the hashtag #UICVOTES.  A number of UIC students were interviewed by ABC-TV on “early voting.”  The segment will air at the 4:30 p.m. newscast tonight, March 14, 2018.  According to Professor Dick Simpson, “We are voting at a rate of about 30-40 an hour.  We probably won’t get a 1,000 students, faculty, and staff to vote early, but we will get hundreds.”


ABC 7 Chicago interviewed UIC students and Dick Simpson, UIC professor of political science, in a segment about young voters and UIC offering early primary election voting through Friday. Watch the segment here: http://abc7.ws/2tQgC5r (For more information about early voting at UIC, visit http://bit.ly/2tR8OQT)

IMG_1293Janet Smith, UIC professor of urban planning and policy and co-director of UIC's Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement, is interviewed during a Chicago Public Media (WBEZ-FM 91.5) news story about Illinois' rent control ban and an advisory referendum to lift the ban that will appear on some March 20 primary election ballots in Chicago. Smith says rent control is a tool that should be explored in Chicago amid growing income disparities. Text and audio from the story are available at: http://bit.ly/2GuOqru

Student HIghlight: Christopher Kooy

Christopher Kooy-Expected Graduation:  May 2018

Christopher Kooy, a UIC Honors College senior, double majoring in political science and Spanish, has been named one of 30 national recipients of the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship for International Studies.

For more information on Christopher's award, see this link

Please join us in congratulating Christopher for his hard work and achievement!

Welcoming Dan Slater, Visiting Scholar


For the 2017-2018 academic year, we are fortunate to have Dan Slater here in in our department as a Visiting Scholar.  Dan (Ph.D. Emory, 2005) specializes in the politics and history of enduring dictatorships and emerging democracies, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia. He is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan who previously spent twelve years on the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he served as Director of the Center for International Social Science Research (CISSR) and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, He is the author of Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia, published in the Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics series in 2010, and many scholarly journal articles. He is also a co-editor of Southeast Asia in Political Science: Theory, Region, and Qualitative Analysis (Stanford University Press, 2008), which assesses the contributions of Southeast Asian political studies to theoretical knowledge in comparative politics. Before commencing his doctoral studies at Emory in 1999 he received a B.A. in International Relations and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.A. in International Studies from the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, and spent ten months as a Fulbright scholar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Beyond Southeast Asia, he has done international consulting work on challenges related to democratization and demilitarization in cases such as Ethiopia, Fiji, and Pakistan. We are happy and honored to have Dan with us this year!  



The Future of Chicago lecture series

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 4.54.05 PM



UIC graduate among lawyers defending refugees this weekend

Kenneth ThomasAttorney Kenneth M. Thomas, UIC Alum 2013, continues to fight the good
fight!   According to a UIC Academy email this morning (1/30/2017) from Joe
Iosbaker, Ken was sighted at O'Hare airport among the lawyers there to provide assistance to people impacted by the executive order banning travel
from several countries.

Ken Thomas, who served as UIC's  Student Trustee for two terms,  graduated
from the College of LAS and the Honors College magna cum laude, with a Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science.  He received the 2013 Ron Brown Award for the Best Graduating Student in Political Science.  Kenneth went on to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School.  There he served as treasurer of the Law Students Association, Vice President of the Law School Democrats, and a Tony Patino Fellow-Elect.  He also won the competitive ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship.  In 2015, Kenneth was presented the award for Outstanding Young Alumni by the UIC Black Alumni Advisory Council (BAAC).

While he was in Law School, Ken served as a Summer Associate at Skadden Arps
LLP, where he is now a practicing Associate in Litigation.  We are so proud to hear this good news about one of our very own.



The Reform of American Government:
Limits and Challenges for
President Trump’s Administration





Karen Lewis: The Future of education in chicago

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 12.58.40 PMKaren Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union, will be the guest speaker, for the Fred Hess Memorial Lecture, at UIC, Wednesday, November 30, 2016. Her talk will focus on The Future of Education in Chicago.  This lecture is part of the Future of Chicago Lecture Series moderated by UIC Professor Dick Simpson, former Chicago Alderman. The event is free and everyone is welcome!  

More information can be found by clicking on the image to the left or by clicking here.

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Emeritus Professor Dennis R. Judd


Judd Dennis Book Talk
Emeritus Professor Dennis R. Judd returned to the UIC campus, Monday, November 14, 2016, to talk about his new book, Building the City of Spectacle. His talk was part of the Future of Chicago Lecture Series and focused on the former Mayor Richard M. Daley

Judd Flier

Judd Dennis lecture


Cook County Commissioner: Jesus "Chuy" Garcia

IMG_1036Cook County Commissioner and UIC alum, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, returned to speak to  Political Science students in Professor Dick Simpson’s POLS 211 Chicago’s Future class. Commissioner Garcia talked about the importance of government reform and gave a historical overview of Chicago Mayors dating back to Richard J. Daley.  He also explained the responsibilities of county government in terms of county health services and attempts to reform prisons.

To see more pictures from the event please go to past events


National Student Issues COnvention 

2016_NationalStudentConvention-2The National Student Issues Convention (NSIC) took place at UIC, Friday, October 7, 2016.  The National Student Issues Convention, hosted yearly for over a decade by the Political Science Department, offered students across disciplines the chance to lend their voice to the democratic process.  More than 300 students took part in the half-day event to talk with local, state, and federal candidates and incumbents running for office, about issues important to them.   In the early hours of this Convention students meet in small breakout sessions to have discussion among themselves and prioritize which issues they would most like addressed.  Candidates and government officials are invited to attend the plenary session of this event, and take part on a panel with other candidates who have agreed to come. The elected officials were Democratic Illinois State Representative William Davis (30
th District), Chicago Alderman Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward).  They were joined by Republican candidate for Congress in the 7thDistrict, Dr. Jeffrey Leef.  The three spoke individually to the issues the students raised and shared their personal opinions and policymaking experiences at various levels of government.  This was NOT a candidate debate2016_NationalStudentConvention-22

This year the most popular issues presented by the students included:

- gun controls reform 
- tuition reduction/college cost debt/free tuition
- immigration, the Dream Act, and scholarships for undocumented students
- police accountability
- K-12 education funding gap

To see more pictures from the event please go to past events
***Photo credit-Elizabeth Monge***


National Constitution Day 2016

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An early morning email announcement from the Office of the Chancellor, kicked off the UIC Votes campaign by welcoming Attorney G. Flint Taylor to UIC as our National Constitution Day speaker.  Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, J. Rex Tolliver was there to greet and welcome our students, and encouraged them to  participate in the civic engagement programs hosted on our campus this Fall.  The Office of Student Leadership Development and Volunteer Services helped interested students register to vote on-site!

Flint Taylor, a civil rights attorney, spoke to a silent, crowded room of students who shook their heads as he cited one incident after another of police violence, and make shift prisons in Chicago.   He spoke further about constitutional violations, corruption, and cover ups.  Afterwards, students asked lots of questions and talked one-on-one with Attorney Taylor.

Other vendor information tables were set up to let students know about volunteer and internship opportunities!

National Constitution Day 2016  Co-Sponsors

Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement
UIC Department of Political Science
Office of Public and Government Affairs
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Office of Student Leadership Development and Volunteer Services
UIC Undergraduate Student Government
Political Science Student Union
UIAA Illinois Connection



Political Science celebrates Pi Sigma Alpha new members and student awards!


New members of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science National Honor Society were inducted into the UIC Mu Alpha Chapter on Thursday afternoon, April 28, 2016.

Department Head Evan McKenzie, Director of Undergraduate Studies Professor Kevin Lyles, Director of Graduate Studies Professor Alexandra Filindra, and Faculty Advisor of the Chapter Professor Robert Bruhl, were all on hand for the induction ceremony to hand out awards and honor cords.  The new inductees into the Class of 2016 Mu Alpha Chapter include. 

Alberto Alejandro Barraza*
Brian Geiger*
Michael P. Halpin*
Maria Hartas*
Eden Nissani (not shown)
Justyna Pietryk*
Humaa Siddiqi*
Shameka Thompson

graduating seniors


  • Student Highlight: Nawojka Lesinski

    by Stephanie Whitaker | Jan 13, 2017

    20170113_120008Nawojka Lesinski is wearing many hats!  She recently presented her dissertation defense titled, “When Cities Matter: Comparing the Global LBGTQ Movement in Warsaw, Poland and Buenos Aires, Argentina” before her committee in the Department of Political Science.  Nawojka was both “relieved and excited” about conquering this journey, as she held her four month old daughter Zuza after her defense.

    Nawojka says that her “CV is undergoing a makeover.”  She is revising her dissertation into a book manuscript.  She and baby Zuza, are joined by her husband Seth Mabbott, and two Political Science faculty members Professors Amalia Pallares and Sultan Tepe who were both on her Dissertation Committee.  Many congratulations to Nawojka!