Dick W. Simpson

Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Ph.D. Indiana University

Fields of Interest:

Chicago Politics, Urban Politics, Elections, State and Local Politics, Neighborhood Empowerment, Public Corruption

 Selected Publications:
The City, Revisited: Urban Theory from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York.Edited with Dennis Judd (University of Minnesota Press, 2011).

Inside Urban Politics: Voices From America's Cities and Suburbs.(Longman, 2004).

Rogues, Rebels, and Rubberstamps: The Story of the Chicago City Council,(Westview, 2001).

Winning Elections: A Handbook of Modern Participatory Politics, (Harper Collins, 1996) new edition forthcoming, (Longman 2008).

The Crazy Quilt of Government: Units of Government in Cook County,1993, with Linda Moll (eds.), (University of Illinois at Chicago, 1994).

Selected Honors and Activities: 
44th Ward Alderman, Chicago, IL 1971-1979
Director of Preparing Future Faculty Program
Former President, Illinois Political Science Association
Former Co-Editor, Illinois Political Science Review
Department Head, UIC Political Science, 2006 - present


Dick Simpson has uniquely combined a distinguished academic career with public service in government. He has published widely, been an outstanding teacher, and affected public policy. He began his academic career at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1967 where he has taught for 46 years. At UIC he received the highest awards given for teaching including the UIC Silver Circle Award (twice), CETL Teaching Recognition Award, the UIC award for Excellence in Teaching, and the American Political Science Association (APSA) and Pi Sigma Alpha National Award for Outstanding Teaching in Political Science. He is a former Department Head from 2006-2012, a previous Director of the department’s Preparing Future Faculty program and currently Professor of the Political Science at UIC.  He has served on the Teaching and Learning Committee of APSA and as co-chair of the Founders of the Distinguished Teaching Award for the APSA.

He has been the principal researcher on important studies which have led to reform in many units of government in Cook County, Illinois.

Dick Simpson has published numerous studies of elections, urban politics, voting patterns of elected officials, local government, public policy, and government budgeting. He is author or co-author of a number of books on political action, ethics, and politics, including Rogues, Rebels and Rubber Stamps (2001), Winning Elections (1996), Struggle for Power and Influence in Cities and States (2011), The City, Revisited (2011), Twenty-First Century Chicago (2012), African Development and Democracy (2012), and Teaching Civic Engagement (2013).

His Rogues book received honorable mention as one of the best books in adult nonfiction by the Society of Midland Authors in 2002. He has produced eight films and video documentaries winning a variety of film awards including an EMMY nomination. Simpson has also published professional journal articles, magazine articles, book chapters, op-ed columns, and book reviews.

In his first campaign for political office in 1971, he surprised political observers and won election as Chicago's 44th Alderman, despite a well-financed opponent with an army of precinct captains. Dick Simpson served the 44th Ward for two terms before voluntarily retiring in 1979. As Alderman, Simpson consistently voted for and introduced reform legislation – occasionally persuading old-line aldermen to support his proposals as well. Results include: 

• The elimination of bank redlining,
• Ending salary discrimination in the city budget for women holding the same jobs as men,
• A City Council resolution urging Illinois passage of the Equal Rights Amendment,
• Budget amendments to provide more money for day care.
• Additional budget amendments to speed the opening of day care centers,
• Programs to help the homeless and the hungry,
• The extension of Senior Citizen public transportation hours. 

Simpson served on transition teams that advised Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne in 1979, Mayor Harold Washington in 1983, Cook County Clerk David Orr and State's Attorney Jack O'Malley in 1990, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in 2002, and Cook County Board President Todd Stroger in 2007. He helped shape their positions on ethics, fair hiring practices, citizen participation, and efficient, effective local government.

In 1992 and 1994 Dick Simpson ran for Congress in Illinois' 5th Congressional District opposing Congressman Dan Rostenkowski on a platform of congressional reform, women's rights, universal health care, economic recovery and senior citizen's issues. In the Democratic Primary in 1992 he received 42,000 votes. He was an Alternate Delegate Candidate in Bill Bradley’s Presidential campaign in 2000, Chairman of the Issues Committee for Carol Moseley Braun’s Presidential Campaign, and a surrogate speaker for John Kerry for President in 2004. He has served as a political consultant for campaigns for candidates from Alderman to President and testified on legislation before City Council, State Legislative, and Congressional committees. He has frequently been an expert witness in federal court cases.

Among his university service activities, he has served as Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Political Science, 1994-1995; as Associate Head from 1998-1999; and Director of the Department’s Preparing Future Faculty Program from 2000-present and Department Head from 2006-2012. He served on the Faculty Senate from 2000-2002 as Chair of the Senate Public Service Committee and on the Provost’s Task Force on the Engaged University. He served on the Executive Committee, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1995-1997 and 2013-2015. He has served as program chair for urban politics for the American Political Science Association and as program chair and President of the Illinois Political Science Association.

His public service has been recognized by awards from many civic organizations including the City Club of Chicago, Clergy and Laity Concerned, Independent Voters of Illinois - Independent Precinct Organization, Lakeview Shelter Team, and Clarence Darrow Community Center. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and in a dozen other reference directories as a scholar, teacher, writer, and public servant. 

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Contact Information

Office: 1126C BSB, MC 276
Phone: 312-413-3780
Fax: 312-413-0440
Email: simpson@uic.edu