Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Best Wishes

We bid a fond farewell to Professor Janet Donavan, who was with us for two years in a visting appointment. Professor Donavan taught courses in American politics and received rave reviews from our students. She has taken a position at University of Minnesota Duluth, where she will be closer to family. We wish her all the best.

American Council on Germany Fellowships

Something to think about for later:

Every year, the American Council on Germany brings together about 25 American and about 25 German professionals between the ages of 28 and 38 from business, government, media, academia, military, religion, and the arts for one week for an intense dialogue on current global affairs. These meetings ultimately serve to provide the successor generation of decision-makers on both sides of the Atlantic with a better understanding of how issues of common concern are perceived by their peers at home and abroad. Furthermore, the program provides an opportunity for a group of bright, informed, and sophisticated young professionals to informally discuss major issues in the bilateral relationship and enables participants to deal frankly with the issues in their own terms – and to explore and debate their differences...

Applicants for the Young Leaders program should show promise in their given field and must be between the ages of 28 and 38. Previous experience with Germany and Europe in general is not required; in fact, the program is designed to broaden the horizons of those who have not had previous extensive exposure to international affairs.

For more go here; we've also put this on the department's Delicious site.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


If you've been getting email updates about the blog you should now be a member of our discussion list, UPSpolgov. If you are not yet a subscriber and would like to join (or would like to unsubcribe) you can do so here. We'll be using this list to send out updates on the department, mostly on a weekly basis, so we'll avoid drowning you with email.

If you have info that you want to pass along to our readers, please contact me directly rather than posting to the discussion list, and I'll add it to the blog.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Money and Happiness

From The New York Times:

Dear Graduates: Money Is a Means
Published: May 28, 2006

...It's graduation season, and once again affluent commencement speakers are fanning out across the land in something like an organized smear campaign against the almighty dollar. So I feel that it's my solemn duty to offer a little corrective: Graduates, it's not fashionable to say it, but money will, in fact, buy you a better life, all other things being equal. And if it can't buy happiness outright, it can certainly help you avoid a lot of misery.

...As you graduates will learn sooner or later from experience, happiness is at least partly inborn, though it also has a lot to do with good health, good relationships and time spent pleasurably. Sad to say, money can help with everything except your natural disposition. Chances are that even the crankiest among us will consider ourselves better off with a more desirable spouse, better schools for our children, higher status and surer access to health care. That is to say nothing of the wherewithal to tell the boss to take a hike if you don't like his tone. As Dostoyevsky reminds us, money really is "coined liberty."

Read the rest here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wedding Bells

The department would like to congratulate Jonee Winnick and her husband, Wayne, who were married on campus last week. Wayne returns for a second tour of duty in Iraq next month. We wish them all the best in the coming years, and a safe tour and quick return for Wayne.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Alum Profile: Stephanie Kanan '03

This is the first in a series of alum interviews we'll be doing on the departmental blog. If you're an alum and want to participate, drop me a note--we'd all love to hear from you.

Stephanie Kanan

Teaching with the Peace Corps in Kenya

Steph's students are preparing maize before it is ground into flour

When did you graduate from UPS?

May 2003

What have you been doing since graduation?

After graduation I served in the Peace Corps in Kenya for 2 years. I worked as an HIV/AIDS educator. Since returning from Kenya I've been living in New York City working as a Community Organizer for ACORN, a non-profit organization. My job essentially entails empowering and organizing low-income community members to fight for social justice.

Why and how did you decide to take the career path you did?

Sort of a chain of events. Study abroad my junior year of college led me to the idea of joining the Peace Corps. And my time in Peace Corps led me to the idea of community organizing. Ultimately I plan to go to law school.

Are there any aspects of the Politics and Government major or your UPS education that have served you particularly well?

Yes. My understanding of politics and political systems helped me scrutinize the political dysfunction I witnessed in Kenya. It was with my background in politics that I was able to convey to Kenyans (the many, many times we discussed world politics) the way the American government operates, as well as other countries.

Do you have any advice of what our students should (or should not) make certain to do while still in school?

Take advantage of all that UPS offers. Get in involved as much as you can (or that interests you) because you never know how the experience will relate to your later endeavors. And, most definitely, study abroad.

Do you have any advice about what our students should be thinking about as they consider their future careers or further education?

You don't have to have all of the answers now. It's ok to try things out without making any lifetime commitments.

Any other words of wisdom?

I'm not that wise yet.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Career Has Many Paths

Academics are often not good models for students. There can be many reasons for this (I'm certain several spring to your mind), but one in particular is their peculiar career path. For now, at least, academia is one of the last redoubts of the pre-capitalist guild system, one where a long period of apprenticeship leads to a long tenure and even a private office—a far cry from the modern marketplace. So when students come to us to ask for career advice, one thing to keep in mind is that we often have a rather distant relationship to the world outside of campus.

But that is not to say that academia cannot provide a career of many lives. As evidence I submit the case of Edward Tufte. Tufte began his career as a professor of political science at Yale, where he published works on political economy. At some point, he became more interested in the way in which data was presented visually—as I recall, this was a result of some battles he had with his publisher over how certain figures and tables would be reproduced in one of his books.

Tufte started his own press and published The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, which has become a central work in understanding how to best present data visually. Tufte became a much sought-after speaker who now tours the country giving presentations on information design (Professor Sousa has attended). He’s also branched out into prints, photography, even sculpture.

Now, what led a professor of political science to think he could form his own press, move into graphic design, and design art?

Explore his site. Of particular interest is his attack on the misuse of Powerpoint and his moderated discussion forum. I’ll admit to having a soft spot for his cover art for the Powerpoint essay, as it features Budapest in the 1950s. In the 1956 revolution Stalin got chopped down to his boots, but the plinth stayed in place and remained the viewing platform for May Day rallies.

So the lesson of the story is that if a political scientist can remake himself into a sculptor, you too can take your career in many unforeseen directions.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Teaching Comparative Politics

For several years there has been an Advanced Placement Exam in comparative politics, though it is only slowly gaining traction and teachers at the high school level. To that end, one teacher, Ken Wedding, has been instrumental in bringing teachers together and providing information. For any students who are interested in comparative politics, his new blog is worth checking out:
His discussions focus both on the substance of teaching comparative politics, as well as the challenges of teaching at the high school level (where, for example, textbooks might go out of date years before they are up for renewal). It's worth a peruse. The blog also links over to those sites where we archive material related to the Essentials of Comparative Politics texts written by myself, Professor Fields and Professor Share:
Any student who has taken PG 250 from me recently or looked at the web resources linked to this site knows that I'm a huge fan of, and I hope that more students embrace it as a way to organize information.

Whew. That's a lot of hyperlinks.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Getting Organized

Have you customized a Google homepage? A nice way to organize news and other info, even a "to do" list:
Try it out.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Job Hunt

Excerpted from today's Wall Street Journal:

Grads, Avoid These Job-Hunting Errors

Five common job-hunting mistakes to avoid:

1: Searching Only in Cyberspace
Don't limit yourself to the Internet. Do ask for help from people you know, even your parents.

2: The No-Name Letter
Don't address your cover letter to no one in particular. Find out who's in charge and address the letter to that person.

3: Wrong Interview Clothes
Don't even think about wearing flip-flops or a revealing top. The right strategy at the interview is to overdress.
...Remember that the most conservative suit will be forgotten if the recruiter finds your provocative photos on MySpace, Friendster or any other publicly available Internet site, says Anna Ivey, a career and graduate-school consultant to college graduates. "Just last week I talked to a recruiter who canceled an interview with a candidate he really liked" because he found her MySpace page, "which contained inappropriate photographs and trash-talked her current employer," Ms. Ivey says.

4: I'm Talking and Can't Shut Up
Don't keep rambling on about yourself in the interview. Instead, listen.

5: Failure to Do the Polite Thing
Don't just leave the interview and wave goodbye. Send a thank-you note.

Read the whole article here.

UPS and Civic Engagement

From The News Tribune:

UPS places civic issues on its agenda
University reinvests itself in Tacoma community

"The university that once was too busy making a name for itself outside Tacoma to build local relationships has started, under the leadership of President Ron Thomas, to turn its attention back home."

Read the rest here.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Student Politics

The Higher Education Research Institute survey of American freshmen for 2005 showed the greatest level of participation in political protests since the survey began in 1966:

Political Views & Participation

There has also been a steady increase in interest in politics since 2001. However, this remains just over a third of those surveyed, compared with 60% forty years ago:

Political Views & Participation2

More Summer Reads

We can't get enough! Here are some more summer reads from the department:

Non-fiction, academic and general:
Jean Francois Bayart, The Illusion of Cultural Identity
Giorgio Agamben, State Of Exception
Wendy Brown, Politics Out of History
South Atlantic Quarterly, special issue entitled "Thinking Politically"
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude

J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace
Yasmina Khadra, The Attack

Friday, May 19, 2006

Student Pics

Ryan Dumm is currently in Chile on study abroad, and sends along these pictures of President Michelle Bachelet's inauguration. Thanks, Ryan!

la moneda palace
La Moneda, the presidential palace

bachelet supporter
Bachelet Supporter

Military procession in front of Congress

More pictures here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Seattle casts an eye on the Tacoma music scene

From The Stranger:

"The ground down south is far from fallow: Tacoma is churning out a diverse crop of promising bands at an impressive rate."
More here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Summer Reading

What are faculty reading this summer? Here are a few selections from the department in no particular order:

Non-fiction, academic and general
Robert Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts
Thomas Schelling, Micromotives and Macrobehavior
Kenneth Davis, Don't Know Much About The Bible
Michael Mandelbaum, The Case for Goliath
John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History
Francis Fukuyama, America at the Crossroads
Stephen Walt, Taming American Power
Philip Bobbit, The Shield of Achilles
Arthur Herman, To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World
John Sargeant, Maggie: Her Fatal Legacy
Peter Hessler, Oracle Bones
Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow
Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept
Michael J. Gretz and Ian Shapiro, Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight over Taxing Inherited Wealth
Paul Starr, The Creation of the Media
Karin Muller, Japanland

Alan Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country
Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale
Arturo Pererz-Reverte, Purity of Blood.
Ian McEwan, Saturday
Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
Ha Jin, War Trash
Orhan Pamuk, Snow
Peggy Rathman, Goodnight, Gorilla (over and over and over again)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hessler Webcast

In an earlier post I wrote about Peter Hessler's visit to campus. TVW, the statewide public affairs channel, taped his evening lecture on campus, and it can now be found as a webcast here. It is also available in an audio-only format.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Graduation 2006

Saturday we had our departmental reception for graduates, family and friends.

Outgoing Chair Bill Haltom works the crowd

All were toasted and white cords of distinction distributed, with special awards going out to the best senior theses in each seminar:

American Politics:

Megan Buscho, “The Attack of the Pajama People: Bloggers and the Challenge to the Mainstream Media”

Dana Ron, “Seeking Shelter: Success and Failure of Homelessness Policy in San Francisco and Portland”

International Relations:

Nick Brown, "Development, Inc.: Misaligned Motives and Microfinance's
Emerging Inability to Help the Poor"

Katheryn Pettie, "Uncertainty in the International System: How Rhetoric,
the Trans-Atlantic GMO Trade War, and International Pressure Impede the
Self-Determination of Developing Countries"

Comparative Politics:

Jessica Box, "Healthcare in Comparative Perspective: The United Kingdom and

Public Law:

Ned Culhane, "Balancing Politics of Populism and Rights: Defending the Civil Rights of Same-Sex Couples in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

Professor Haltom concluded with a toast that he adapted from Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac:

May you carry your adornments on your soul;
May you keep your daintiness inwardly and be cloaked in unseen gems;
May you, unafraid, preserve your honor unfrayed;
May your scruples always be worn and worn well;
May you always trail white plumes of freedom;
May your good name garland you;
May your soul be clothed in shining armor, festooned with deeds for decorations;
May courage always swing at your side like a rapier;
And, on the byways of every town, may you make the sharp truth ring like golden spurs!

Congratulations to all of our graduates! Best of luck with all your future endeavors.

And the family and friends who have supported them!

You'll find more photos of the event here.

Friday, May 12, 2006

If only they could get over using the word "aroma"

A piece on the growing art scene in Tacoma from the Seattle PI
Get off of campus and check out Icebox!

Where Are You?

As summer approaches, students and alums are on the road--to or from study abroad, internships, new jobs and cities. We want to see what you are up to! Send us a picture or two and provide a brief description. We'll put them up on the blog to let everyone know how you are and where you are. You can send your pictures, as a file attachment or pasted into an email, to poneil[at]ups[dot]edu.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Senior Theses

As part of our major students write a senior thesis under the supervision of a department member within a senior seminar. Here are the titles of the theses written this year:

Public Law (Supervisor: Professor Bill Haltom)

Kristen Arquette, "Divorcing Moviegoers from Reality: How Movies Systematically Misinform Americans about Divorce Law"

Ned Culhane, "Balancing Politics of Populism and Rights: Defending the Civil Rights of Same-Sex Couples in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

T’wina Franklin, "Who’s Your Mama … Now? How Movies Are Wrong About Child Custody Biological Mothers Do Not Always Win"

Kristine Lynch, "Regulating the Environment: An Examination of the Failure of Regulatory Agencies to Implement Lasting Environmental Policy, A Case Study of the EPA"

Daniel Mitchell, "Searching For Patterns in Tort Reform over the Last 20 Years"

Kyle Robinson, "The Invisible Hand of Employment Discrimination Law: How Lawyers Inadvertently Shape the Legal System for the Better"

Whitney Roulstone, "Confused Voters Vote NO: Why Initiative Voters Do Not Know All the Facts"

International Relations (Supervisor: Professor Lisa Ferrari)

Amanda Bennett, "Good Intentions, Growing Pains and the Growth of Soft
Power: The Impact of Hard and Soft Power Tensions on Perceptions of the
United States"

Kjirsten Brevik, "Humanitarian Intervention: The Influence of Domestic
Pressures on U.S. Foreign Policy"

Nick Brown, "Development, Inc.: Misaligned Motives and Microfinance's
Emerging Inability to Help the Poor"

Kate Demers, "The International Criminal Court: Will it Succeed as an
Effective Court without the United States?"

Treana Graham Hickey, "Australia and Indonesia: An East, West Friendship"

Morgan O'Neal, "Sacrificing Sovereignty: The Tradeoff between Participation
in the International Criminal Court and State Sovereignty"

Katheryn Pettie, "Uncertainty in the International System: How Rhetoric,
the Trans-Atlantic GMO Trade War, and International Pressure Impede the
Self-Determination of Developing Countries"

Jennifer Tharp, "Chinese-Japanese and Japanese-South Korean Relations"

Jon West, "Pride and Primacy: The Chinese Threat to American Economic

Colleen Woodrow, "Urbi et Orbi: One City for the World; The Catholic
Church's Duality as a Mediator in Political Conflict"

American Politics (Supervisor: Professor David Sousa)

Megan Buscho, “The Attack of the Pajama People: Bloggers and the Challenge to the Mainstream Media”

Bradley Forbes, “Welfare and Poverty: An Analysis of TANF in its Infancy”

Jonathan Ledbetter, “Christian Crusaders in the States: The Christian Right in Oregon and Kansas, 1986-2006”

Clare Magee, “Politicized Intelligence: A Comparative Study of Productive and Destructive Presidential Politicization of the CIA”

Dana Ron, “Seeking Shelter: Success and Failure of Homelessness Policy in San Francisco and Portland”

Comparative Politics (Supervisor: Professor Don Share)

Bill Bockman, "Cross-National Responses to the Decline of the Keynesian

Jessica Box, "Healthcare in Comparative Perspective: The United Kingdom and

Kari Manlove, "How Islamists are Democratizing: The Emergence of Hamas and the
Muslim Brotherhood in Elections and Civil Society."

Matthew Perry, "Cash and Campaigns: Campaign and Party Finance in a Cross-National

Julia Tallmadge, "A Comparative Study of Human Rights in Iran Before and After 1979."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


A couple of internships have come to our attention:

1. Darcy Burner for Congress

Darcy Burner is a Progressive Democrat running against Republican Dave Reichert in the 8th Congressional District. This race is top-tier and nationally targeted, ranked as one of the most winnable Republican seats in the House of Representatives by the DCCC. We are seeking interns for summer quarter.

Position: Intern
Interns will assist field organizers working in targeted legislative districts throughout King and Pierce Counties. They will assist in organizing and mobilizing constituents in the 8th district with the objective of turning the district blue in '06. Interns will assist in organizing grassroots activities such as phone banking and canvassing, as well as planning and attending community and campaign events and fundraisers. Internships are unpaid, but do offer college credit.

Position: Volunteer
Volunteer opportunities also available for occasional nights and weekends.

Sound communication and motivational skills, work ethic, and desire for political change are essential. Interns must be highly motivated and driven.

Auburn, WA

To Apply:
Send resume to:
Dan Nolte
(425) 454-0402
Field Organizer
Darcy Burner
Democrat for Congress

2. David Edwards for State Representative, Oregon

My name is Seth Prickett and I am the Campaign Manager for David Edwards (D), a candidate for State Representative in Hillsboro, Oregon (District 30). I am currently looking for interested, enthusiastic, students who are looking to gain some valuable work experience working as an intern for this campaign.

I was hoping you would be willing and able to take a few minutes and inform your classes of this great opportunity. We are flexible and would be willing to work with student's schedules during the summer months. The internship would last from June until August, or whenever students have to go back to school in the fall.

There is a lot to do. Interns will not only be stuffing envelopes, but be highly involved and see how a campaign really works from the inside out. (I always hated doing internships where you were just used as slave labor to process mail pieces). Please have your interested students visit our website: to find out more about David.

Please have interested students contact:

Seth Prickett, Campaign Manager
Friends of David Edwards
22115 NW Imbrie Dr. STE 328
Hillsboro, OR 97124

Faculty Blogs

Some of you may be aware that one of our colleagues has his own blog. Seth Weinberger is our newest member of the department, having joined this fall after completing his PhD at Duke. Professor Weinberger, in addition to teaching courses in international relations and political philosophy, is the author of Security Dilemmas, which he describes as "A blog dedicated to examining issues of international and national security, international politics, and international law (and anything else I want to write about)". Security Dilemmas is receiving a good deal of traffic in the blogosphere, recently catching the attention of Slate.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Personality Cult

This briefly appeared on Saturday on Anderson/Langdon Hall, a tribute (?) to President Thomas. It was apparently made from several hundred photocopies.



An article from Inside Higher Ed reports on a recent study done of, a popular site for rating (and trashing) on university faculty. The study concludes that those teachers who are most attractive (or "hot") and give easy grades get the best reviews. While the research design is questioned by some commenters, the most important conclusion from the article is that "languages, sociology, and political science had the top quality (a composite of "helpfulness" and "clarity" ratings) , and ranked first, sixth, and fifth, respectively, out of 36 disciplines for hotness."

Only confirming what we all knew--political science faculty are great looking and outstanding teachers.

Incidentally, one professor recently struck back against Ratemyprofessors with Rateyourstudents, "a public forum where faculty and students can work out the tricky dynamic of the modern classroom. Students can tell us why they won't take the iPod out during a lecture, and professors can tell us why their clothes are so frumpy."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Graduation...and Insurance

A good piece from the Wall Street Journal today on insurance after graduation.

Health Costs
Grads, You Need Coverage

May 7, 2006

As if applying for jobs and facing a mountain of student debt weren't tough enough, some graduating college seniors also have to worry about finding new health coverage soon after they shed their caps and gowns.

College students generally are covered under their parents' health insurance or by a school-sponsored policy. Once they graduate, however, they risk losing this coverage. Even those who find jobs right away can be without insurance for a few months since there's often a waiting period before employer-sponsored coverage kicks in....

Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Career Advice

A few years back Money Magazine published an interesting article about career choices for those with political science degrees that you might find of interest:
You might also find this data interesting from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
It shows the mean wages for political science degrees, and also those metropolitan areas where political science jobs are most concentrated. DC is not surprising, but you might note that the Seattle metropolitan area also ranks in the top four.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Jennifer Eidum '03

Jennifer Eidum (2003) has recently been accepted (with a generous financial aid package) to the graduate program in political science at the Central European University in Budapest. Jennifer recently returned from a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in the Ukraine. Congratulations!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Peter Hessler

For several years Professors Fields, Share and I have been teaching our PG 102 Introduction to Comparative Politics course using the book River Town by Peter Hessler. It's an outstanding view of contemporary China from the perspective of a young man working there through the Peace Corps. We began speaking to Hesser about his coming to visit campus, and in summer 2004 I had dinner with him in Beijing to talk a bit about the details (and got a great night tour in the process). Finally, we got him to join us as part of his book tour for his new work, Oracle Bones.

Professor Karl Fields introduces our guest and presents him with some Puget Sound paraphernalia

Peter speaks about writing River Town; good student turnout

Peter's evening presentation on Oracle Bones

You can see more photos here.