Saturday, September 30, 2006

Visiting Professor Hendrik Hansen on What Makes Europe and America Different

Professor Hendrik Hansen, Berlin, November 2005. Photo: Patrick O'Neil

For a number of years UPS has had an academic exchange program with the University of Passau, whereby faculty travel between each university during the summer. Some years ago our guest was Professor Hendrik Hansen, who specializes in political philosophy. We enjoyed his visit so much that a number of us subsequently visited him in Germany, and we also arranged for him to return on two occasions as a visiting faculty member. Professor Hansen will join us again Spring Semester 2007, offering introductory courses in political philosophy and an upper division course on the European Union.

His experiences at UPS prompted Professor Hansen to write on what he saw as some of the main differences between political cultures in the States and Europe, which was published in the German journal Merkur. This attracted the attention of the Goethe Institute, a cultural organization funded by the German government. The Goethe Institute in Chicago has invited Professor Hansen to come to the US this fall to speak on "Human Dignity and Individualism: Western Values in Europe and the USA" If you're in the Chicago, here are the details:

Thursday, October 12, 2006, 6pm
Goethe-Institut Chicago
150 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60601

For the rest of us, there's an overview of the upcoming panel here, and an English translation of his article here. I'd encourage you to read his piece, as it is provocative and an interesting take on the differences between the US and Europe from the perspective of a European.

Professor Hansen was also recently in the West Bank, and has sent along photos I'll blog soon.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Watch TV on your PC

I've seen several attempts to create TV viewers for your computer, but most have been pretty poor. So far this is the best one to date, I think--TVU, out of China, steams a number of television channels, including CNN, CNBC, USA, and a number of foreign channels. You can download their player here.

The Internationalist in the Media

The Internationalist, a Seattle-based and student-oriented magazine run by several UPS alums, has a nice write-up in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, even though I was interviewed for the article but not quoted. Bah. Read the piece here.

The Internationalist is a good place to submit an article, or do a summer internship in Seattle.


Grad School Rankings

There's many different ways to rank graduate programs, each leading to somewhat different conclusions. One recent study of political science programs sought to modify the common approach (where faculty publish), in part to include more European scholarly journals. The result is a list of what they term the "Global Top 200 Political Science Departments"as well as the "Rolling Global Top 50". It's worth a read if you are considering going on to further study in political science, here or abroad. You can find the article here.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Alums Gather in DC-- Save the Date!

Thursday, October 19th.
6:30 p.m.
Washington, DC
Location TBA

Politics and Government alums (and any current majors) in the DC area!

The department is planning an alum get-together by remote control--we won't be there, but we hope our DC-area alums can carve out some time on the date above to meet their fellow grads from across the ideological, vocational, and generational spectrum.

If you can make that date, would you please RSVP our DC potentate, Andrea Tull '02 at andrea.tull[at] or at (253) 228-1583. Even if you can't, would you drop her a note so we can start building an informal list of our DC alums for future events? Also, if you've got a suggestion for where best to hold such a gathering feel free to pass that along to her.

I'm hoping this can become a regular event--if we can get a good turnout, we will try to send out someone from the department next year to officially preside over the festivities and share all the campus gossip.

Michael Allen '06

Some days back I got an email from Michael Allen '06 who is currently in the PhD program in Political Science at SUNY Binghamton. He writes:

"My concentrations are in international relations and comparative politics, with one paper on hegemonic stability theory and another (co-authored with another member of my cohort) on rational choice decision making by groups in choosing tactics of violence against the state (in various contexts). The program here is heavily concentrated in quantitative studies and, consequently, my papers are focused on testing various theories using collected or available data.

Your prediction/experience with funding was accurate. I was able to secure a TA [teaching assistantship] position my first semester, received another TA position in the fall, worked as a RA during the summer, and now have a secure line of funding in the department. My grades here have continued to stay among the top of my cohort, and I am the President of the Political Science Graduate Student Organization for the year. It's somewhat amazing how focused one can be on academia when the snow covers the ground from October to late Spring.

Anyways, I wanted to communicate with you and let you know that I am attempting to maintain a decent name for UPS graduates of the politics and government department in academia."

By my count, we've got a good half-dozen gradutes in Political Science PhD programs right now. Either we should be proud of their following in our footsteps or ashamed that we so led them astray.


Round Table Recap

Last night Professors Ferrari, Weinberger and I led a roundtable discussion on the recent conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. I tried to focus on the domestic issues inside Lebanon, Professor Ferrari on issues of just war and proportionality, and Professor Weinberger on the broader international context. Good turnout and good student questions. This was sponsored by the Political Science Student Assocation, who are doing great things in getting more student and faculty events going. Thanks, PSA!

Looking pensive and professorial

Asking difficult questions and generating good discussion

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Unwired: Pierce Countywide Wi-Fi?

Will we soon get county-wide wi-fi with limited free access to boot? Sounds too good to be true--then I can sit on my computer all day long no matter where I am in town, effectively neglecting everyone around me, including my children. Count me in!

Details on these and other vertical mounting assets on Exit133 and Thrice All American.


Mark Hejinian Says Hello From Guyana

My recent post about violence in Thailand and Hungary has drawn out some alums. I mentioned Melissa Duits '90, and now we got a post from Mark Hejinian '05, who is doing a stint with the Peace Corps in Guyana. Last I had heard he was at the World Bank, a job that then was taken by another of our department alums, Carly Kneppers '05. Mark's observations on politics in Guyana are interesting and, moreover, he's got a blog:

Great to hear from you, Mark! Send a picture if you get a chance.


Moving Pictures

I brought my little digital camera onto campus this morning and took some short digital video of the cafe in the student union and the fountain at Jones Circle. Nothing special, just a taste of campus for those of you who are far away.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Flashback: Professor Share's Central America Tours

During the 1990s Professor Share led several study tours of students and UPS faculty to Central America. I was not fortunate enough to attend, but many of our alums were. I asked him for a few pictures from that time and he obliged. You might see yourself in the pictures below; leave a comment if you do or if you have any memories you want to share from your trip.

Meeting with a Contra, Matagalpa, Nicaragua 1992
Meeting with a Contra, Matagalpa, Nicaragua 1992

Don and David Sousa in Chicastenango, 1993
Professor Share and Sousa in Chicastenango, 1993

Participants, El Salvador 1994
El Salvador, 1994

Midwest Political Science Association Conference

Another opportunity for undergraduates to present their work. If you're not interested in going to Normal, Chicago might be more attractive. And the Palmer House is a wonderful old hotel that is a nice place to stay. This is a standard academic conference, but they are accepting a limited number of undergrad papers "for a special section of research conducted by undergraduate students. The idea is to give them exposure to the professional life of an academic so they can make better informed decisions about graduate school. Please encourage your best students to submit a proposal (the deadline for this group only is 12/1/2006)." Come see me if you are interested and we can talk about submitting a proposal and funding your trip.

Call for Proposals. MPSA Conference.
Proposal Deadline: 10/2/2006.
Conference: 4/12-4/15/07. Downtown Chicago

With the school year starting, now is the time to consider submitting a proposal to present at the MPSA National Political Science conference, held April 12-15, 2007, at the Palmer House Hilton (the oldest continuously operating hotel in America) in Downtown Chicago near Millennium Park and the Art Institute. This conference is one of the largest in the discipline, with around 4,000 presenters and 700 panels. There are currently 65 different "sections" (subfields or related organizations) that accept papers, panels, posters, chairs/discussants or roundtables - several are new for 2006. For a full list of the different sections, see the link below. We have included a link to the 2006 conference program so you can see what is typically presented at the conference.

Conference registration is modest; faculty members pay as little as $100 and graduate students $31. Registration is more if you register late or do not stay in the conference hotel.
Hotel rates range from $99 for a Studio Single (they are small) to $174 for a regular single room, to $215 for a Towers single (which includes continental breakfast, snacks, etc.).
We will continue our experiment from 2006, and accept a limited number of proposals for a special section of research conducted by undergraduate students. The idea is to give them exposure to the professional life of an academic so they can make better informed decisions about graduate school. Please encourage your best students to submit a proposal (the deadline for this group only is 12/1/2006).

*****ABOUT THE MPSA*****
The MPSA is a national organization with a membership of almost four thousand political science professors, students, and public administrators. Founded in 1939, the MPSA is dedicated to the advancement of scholarship in all areas of political science. The Current President of the MPSA Council is Gregory Caldeira, The Ohio State University. A complete listing of the Council is available on the website.

*****OUR JOURNAL*****
The MPSA also publishes the American Journal of Political Science, a premier journal for research in all major areas of political science. The current editor of the AJPS is Marianne Stewart, University of Texas-Dallas.

*****Contact Us*****
MPSA, 320 W. Eighth St, Ste 218, Bloomington, IN 47404
* Conference Info., Advertising/Exhibitors, Receptions/Meetings:
* Proposal Submittal Forms, Web Site, Membership & Registration:


Monday, September 25, 2006

Melissa Duits '90

Melissa Duits '90 has an interesting comment about politics in Latvia in response to one of my recent posts. It sounds like she's had an interesting set of experiences since graduation, so I hope to have her provide a profile (and maybe a picture or two) for the blog in the near future. Thanks for the comment, Melissa.


This came to me from Tacoma City Council Member Julie Anderson. I was told that students are welcome to this event, and in working on the Yes on 3 Campaign as well. I know that some of our majors are interested in Instant Runoff Voting, so here's your chance to learn more about it from the inside. We've also had students intern with Julie Anderson in past, and she'll be certain to put you to work on real issues related to city politics. So if you are interested in that opportunity do let me know.

I am teaming up with Citizens for a Better Ballot to bring former Congressman and presidential candidate John Anderson to Tacoma to discuss Pierce County Charter Amendment 3, which would implement Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) for county elections. IRV is a real – but controversial – alternative to our new “Pick-a-Party Primary.” Mr. Anderson is a strong supporter of IRV and a longtime advocate for improving American democracy.

When: Saturday October 7th, 3-5pm
Where: Home of Julie Anderson (Whitworth Literary Society Hall)
4604 North 38th Street
Tacoma WA 98407
(At the corner of North Cheyenne and North 38th, behind Sherman Elementary)

For more information, contact Ryan Griffin at (253) 228-1991 or

John Anderson was one of the most successful independent presidential candidates in U.S. history, receiving over six million votes in 1980. Prior to his presidential run, Mr. Anderson served ten terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 16th District in Illinois. Mr. Anderson is currently a professor of constitutional law at Nova Southeastern University and Chairman of FairVote -- The Center for Voting and Democracy. He is a frequent lecturer and expert commentator on issues of electoral reform, United Nations reform, foreign affairs, American politics, and independent candidacies. He also writes regularly on the role of Congress in both domestic and international affairs.

For information about Instant Runoff Voting, visit Citizens for a Better Ballot - 1119 Pacific Ave. #1103, Tacoma, WA 98402 or

Julie Anderson
253-761-3602 (home office) new e-mail!
4604 North 38th Street new address!
Tacoma WA 98407

Council Member Julie Anderson
253-591-5108 (City Hall)
747 Market Street, Room 1200
Tacoma WA 98402-3766

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Social Bookmarking

I like a lot as a way to manage and tag websites--we have one for the department, and I keep a separate one for my teaching and research. One of the limitations has been finding the sites of other people in your same profession so that you can peruse what they are interested in. So far I've not been too successful stumbling across many political science sites, but educators, primary and secondary, are further along in this regard--if you're a teacher, interested in technology and/or education, check out the overview of these sites at Teaching

If you've got a site, send it along and I'll add it to our network.


How Come I Get a Sabbatical and You Don't?

Good question. Faculty at Puget Sound typically get a one semester paid sabbatical every seven years. Now some private businesses are looking at similar kinds of programs, often coupled with a social responsibility angle. Read about it in the New York Times here.


Who is Reading Over Your Shoulder?

A piece in Inside Higher Education regarding the uses and abuses of campus email and what rights to privacy students, staff and faculty don't have. This applies to private businesses as well. A reminder, as I have been told in past, not to put anything in an email that you'd be unwilling to post on your office door.

Friday, September 22, 2006

PG Alum Homecoming on Friday

We've been needling alums to join us at The Swiss on Friday, September 29 to celebrate homecoming. But we hear that the university has the audacity to have its own events, like, oh, inaugurating Harned Hall. So you may have earlier obligations or be coming from work, and not able to arrive until later. Worry not. We'll show up about 5:30 but expect us to stick around for a few hours--it is Friday, after all, and even faculty get to stay up past their bedtimes on occasion.

Who Needs IKEA?

Those of us who live near an IKEA rely on it for its wide range of home products that are cheap and stylish, if somewhat disposable. Here's an interesting alternative: Real Simple Furniture, which sells by mail, is real wood (not particle board, like IKEA), and assembles and disassembles without any tools. What could be better for an apartment or dorm? It's not the cheapest, but is likely to last you a long time and many moves. Check it out here.

Hat tip: Springwise.

Free is a Very Good Price

Several of us in the department rely on the Economist for news analysis. The publication isn't cheap, but they have weekly email newsletters that are free and link to their main articles on politics and business. Subscribe to them here. Students, we are also leaving week-old copies of the magazine at our departmenal bookcase in Wyatt.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Coups, Corps, and Alums

From Ashley Mills '05, who is currently on the Peace Corps in Thailand:

"Things have been so busy here with friends visiting, short vacations, field trips, floods, and government overthrows that it has been hard to find time to sit down and write, but since I have an unexpected day off from school, I thought that this would be the perfect time.

I was awoken from a very deep sleep last night at midnight (and two subsequent phone calls from my worried parents who forgot about the time difference…ahem…) by a phone call from Peace Corps informing me that there was a coup in Bangkok and that the new military government had declared martial law. I was put on standfast, which in PC terminology means that I am not allowed to travel anywhere until we know more about the political situation and I am to wait for the possible next step of consolidation, which I hope will not happen (because not only is it a pain in my butt, but it would mean that the political situation is not good). We all knew that the political situation was delicate when we got here, and the tension has been consistently escalating. They don’t like [Prime Minister] Thaksin. He could not handle the south and was blamed for the bombings, which were beginning to make their way to Bangkok. He appeared to be popular in the countryside, but in reality, he bought votes by the millions. For a few hundred baht, poor villagers would gladly put a check next to Thaksin’s party on the ballot. Corruption here is rampant.

I woke up this early this morning to not only find out that I have no school because of the coup (darn it, I could have slept in!), but also that every television station is playing the same exact television broadcast with the same patriotic music, which is starting to get rather annoying. The same broadcasts are on every radio station and on the overhead speakers. I am not really sure what living under martial law entails, but I guess I will find out soon enough."

We all hope that the current crisis will pass without incident, which appears to be the case. Meanwhile Jennifer Eidum '03, who witnessed the Orange Revolution in Ukraine while working there with the Peace Corps, just moved to Budapest in time for their worst violence in 50 years...who knew our alums could so destabilize their surroundings.

Are you someplace more peaceful? Send me a note and disprove my faulty logic.

Scoville Fellowship

Just in. Professor Weinberger suggests that if you are interested in this fellowship you come talk to him about which organization you might want to work with, as he has experience with many of these groups.

I am pleased to send you information about the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship, a program that provides college graduates the opportunity to work in Washington, DC, with a public-interest organization focusing on arms control and international security issues. The fellowship is offered twice yearly, in the spring and fall. It lasts from six to nine months and provides a stipend, health insurance, and travel costs to Washington. The Scoville Fellowship does not award grant or scholarship money to students.

Scoville Fellows may undertake a variety of activities, including research, writing, and advocacy in support of the goals of their host organization and may attend coalition meetings, policy briefings, and Congressional hearings. They have written fact sheets, letters to the editor, op-eds, magazine articles, briefing books and reports, organized talks and conferences, and been interviewed as experts by the media. Many former Scoville Fellows work for NGOs or the Federal Government, or attend graduate school in political science or international relations, following their fellowships.

Please encourage those interested in peace and security issues to visit our website at There is no application form; the application requirements are listed on the website, as are links to the websites of the participating organizations and information on the work of former Scoville Fellows. Applications may be submitted via email. A flyer about the program can be printed from The next application deadline is October 10 for the Spring 2007 Fellowship.

Both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals residing in the United States are eligible to apply.

Feel free to contact me with any questions regarding the Fellowship.

Paul D. Revsine
Program Director
Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship
(202) 543-4100 x124


Alum Profile: Julia Becker '05

When did you graduate from UPS?

I graduated from UPS in 2005 with a BA in Politics and Government and a minor in History.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Since graduation, I have spent a year in Charleston, South Carolina as a member of Americorps National Civilian Community Corps. The program is a federal government sponsored community service program where corps members are assigned to a team of ten people and that team travels around their assigned region (in my case the southeast) working with various community service groups. My year in NCCC was focused predominately on Hurricane Katrina disaster relief where I worked with FEMA in an old Wal-Mart building that served as the main distribution center for relief goods. In the gulf, I also worked at the South Mississippi Regional Center in Long Beach, MS. SMRC is a center for people with developmental disabilities that unfortunately lost over half of as a consequence of Katrina.



Pictures courtesy Julia Becker

There we worked with their clients, helping improve their quality of life while assisting the skeleton staff. I also helped gut houses and do outreach in the 9th ward and St. Bernard Parish as well as volunteered at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Aside from our work in the gulf, my team also worked at an aspiring organic farm in the Appalachians of Georgia, helped in tutoring and after school programming at the Boys and Girls Club in Brunswick, Georgia, repaired and rebuilt homes for people in poverty in Charleston, South Carolina and helped clear land at reset headstones at the South Asheville Cemetery, the first slave cemetery in Western North Carolina.

Since finishing the program at the end June, I have spent the summer at home in Colorado, preparing for my graduate school stint in Ithaca, New York. There I will spend two years working on my MPA (Masters in Public Administration) with a concentration in Human Rights and Social Justice from the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs.

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

I knew I wanted to go to graduate school so that many more career opportunities could open up to me than with just a Bachelor’s degree. However, I wasn’t sure exactly what program best suited me and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to graduate school right away. I didn’t want to go into the working world and get stuck there, but I did want to experience new places and experiences.

I looked into programs like the Peace Corps, but wasn’t sure if I was ready to make a two year commitment. Then I found Americorps (only a 10 month commitment), which has literally thousands of different programs. I applied to some programs in VISTA working for the International Rescue Committee, but didn’t get the positions because they need people with different language backgrounds than I had. Then I found NCCC which turned out to be perfect because it gave me the opportunity to travel and do many types of community service. I had never been to the south before and knew there were a lot of ways I could help. As I drove down to our base in Charleston, Hurricane Katrina happened, giving me a more focused purpose for my year.

As my undergraduate emphasis was on International Relations, it was eye opening to personally experience some of the biggest policy problems our own country faces today through meeting the victims of Katrina. It made me wonder how I could get into a career where I could help make and change policy. This gave me direction in my graduate school search as I looked from programs in public policy. The program at Cornell is not only academically challenging, but also very flexible in that you can take courses in any subject that interests you. It is also very focused on professional development, so that I can actually work on getting jobs in public policy. What’s important here is to find a program that fits your needs and goals for the future. My specific program has an emphasis in Human Rights and Social Justice which is both my academic and life’s passion and was a huge draw for me into the program. There are so many programs, both in academia and in the real world and it’s very important to do your homework and find the one that’s right for you.

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

My Politics and Government major has served me well since graduation as I have been able to critically look at some of the issues I have faced in the past year. We have all heard the controversy surrounding the government’s handling of Hurricane Katrina and it was useful to have the tools to be able to rise above all of it and not only think for myself, but also to do what needs to be done. My program was also on the chopping block this year on President Bush’s budget so it was interesting to be able to exercise my political muscles with letters to Congress and for some in my program, even meetings with the president himself.

Although I have only been in classes for a week or so, I feel like the rigor of the classes in the Politics and Government department have prepared me well for the workload and expectations of graduate school at Cornell, especially in the seminar formats as well as in research and writing requirements.

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

STUDY ABROAD! This was one of the best things I did for myself as a UPS student. Even if your focus is on American politics, there is so much that the world can teach us and give us a new perspective on the world. Studying abroad was one of the most challenging experiences I had as an undergraduate but it really prepared me for what is beyond graduation. I also look at my colleagues in my graduate program and almost every one of them has done something abroad, whether during their undergraduate years or after graduation. It really demonstrates to grad schools and employers that you have something special to contribute to the community. Also, in my particular experience, I met some incredible people (I had an unofficial internship at the UN) and even decided what I didn’t want to do with my life, which is often more helpful than knowing exactly what you want to do.

The other piece of advice I have is somewhat cliché, but it is to make the most of the opportunities at UPS. Participate in many different activities. Utilize your resources. The professors at UPS are amazing in that they are so accessible and provide such a wealth of knowledge if you choose to explore it. Create these relationships now because it may not be so easy down the road.

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

Like I said before, I believe a true diversity of experience is important. Try new things and spend some time from familiar territory, if possible. This will make you a better prospect to schools and employers and make you a more well rounded, mature person. The more diverse your experiences are, the more marketable you become. This might mean that you should take some time off in between UPS and graduate studies, as there is so much more to life than school. Get an internship, if possible. Many internships will help you hone in on your career goals and give you some networks which might come in handy later. Many internships for undergrads are unpaid. Don’t be afraid of that. There is a ton of fellowships and scholarships and other sources of money that you can use to pay off your expenses during your internship. Do your homework; take the initiative to see what’s out there. Also, volunteer programs can be equally as beneficial, so don’t discount them. Lastly, keep working on those writing and speaking skills. Take advantage of research papers and presentations for class as an opportunity to craft some very marketable skills that you will always need after you graduate.

Any other words of wisdom?

Cherish every moment at UPS. Since graduating, I have really come to miss the special atmosphere at UPS in the friendly and knowledgeable professors, exchanges with other students and just all of the good times. My years at UPS were four of the best years of my life and I hope that this is true for you.

Julia says that if anyone wants to know more, please feel free to email her at julianoelbecker[at]

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chelsea Howes Summer Research Presentation

Chelsea Howes '07, PG major and ASUPS Vice President, will be giving a presentation on her summer research project next Wednesday. It's the same time as the Political Science Student Association Roundtable on Lebanon, so you'll have to choose between these two interesting events (or scoot between the two, as they are both in Wyatt).

Paid Internship: Washington State Legislature

This internship is impressive though a full-time M-F workload. Pay is $1250 a month. If you're interested in this internship, you might consider taking a semester off to do it--think of it as study abroad, with the "abroad" being in Olympia. There's an excellent website here.


Paid Internship: Cascade Land Conservancy

This just in from Ryan Mello '01, Pierce County Conservation Director for the Cascade Land Conservancy. The internship strikes me as a great opportunity for some temporary work that provides good practical experience. They want someone to start as soon as possible, so an eager applicant has a good shot at this. If you are interested, contact Ryan directly at
253.274.4955 or 253.861.8356.

Cascade Land Conservancy
Job Description

Title: Agricultural Project Intern
Supervisor: Project Manager
Location: Tacoma/Seattle
Duration: 20 hours a week for 2-4 months
Start Date: Immediately

Summary of Position
The Intern will be responsible for supporting the work of the Project Manager.
This position consists of both primary (required) duties and secondary (discretionary) functions, to be carried out as time permits.

Goal of Position
Work with Project Manager to conduct a feasibility study for the development of a cooperatively-run community supported agriculture (CSA) program managed through the Tacoma Farmers Market.

Primary duties
  • Assist with Assessing Pierce County/Tacoma food system
  • Assist in researching stakeholders to be interviewed
  • Interview representatives from low-income consumers, food banks and other NGOs specializing in food security/community nutrition
  • Interview local businesses and local consumers to gather input on the food system
  • Interview other stakeholder to gather information to assess food system
  • Assist with Interviewing Community Supported Agriculture peer communities
  • Assist in researching CSA peer communities to be interviewed
  • Interview CSA peer communities to find successful CSA business models
Secondary duties
  • Assist with meeting preparation: PowerPoint, handouts, etc.
  • Assist with preparation for Conservation Committee meetings
  • Maintain spreadsheet/database of work completed
  • Other project work as requested
1. Excellent verbal and written communication skills
2. Ability to communicate with courteousness and professionalism to a diverse array of people
3. Attention to detail and ability to organize and manage diverse and multiple activities, set priorities, and remain flexible under pressure.
4. Strong computer skills, including experience with database, word processing, spreadsheet, and graphics software.
5. Willingness to work some non-standard hours.
6. Enthusiasm and commitment to Cascade Land Conservancy’s mission

1. Experience in or knowledge of Pierce County/City of Tacoma agricultural or food issues.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I got an email from Clay Loges '68 who writes:

"I’m a Political Science graduate of 1968. and I was heavy into student government including serving as student body president in the R. Franklin Thompson days.

I spent the decade of the 90’s building a telecom business in Russia up to the point I was managing 800+ employees in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Minsk (Belarus), and Tashkent (Uzbekistan). I’ve got lots of observations from those experiences, because I went from the Soviet era through being in Moscow for the Coup. My secondary business was a FM radio station with the most powerful signal in the St. Petersburg (Russia) market."

Since then he's been involved in a new web-based service called Yodio, which allows you to make short audio tracks from anywhere and post them to the web. Clay writes that "we really need testers to help us "smooth out" the site and its functionality. There is much more to come with this site, but first we want to get it right with the recording, photo processing, and playback." So give it a spin and let them know what you think.

Being the lover of all new things techy that I am, I tried it out myself. Pretty fun--turn on your speakers and click on the button underneath the picture below.



Watson Fellowship

This just came in. If you're interested in the Watson, check out the blog of Greg Groggel, who is currently on a Watson and scooting across the globe.

To: Faculty Colleagues
Fr: Priti Joshi, Faculty Liaison, Watson Fellowship Program
Re: Watson Application deadline

Please announce in your classes that have seniors that the Watson application deadline is Friday, Oct 6 at noon. The applications are due in the Fellowships office in Howarth 215.

The Watson Fellowship is a highly competitive national fellowship that provides students with a $25,000 grant to pursue a year of travel outside the United States working on an innovative project. The Watson foundation supports students who demonstrate curiosity and independent
thinking and projects that develop a young person's travel, communication and leadership skills. The program is highly selective, not only in the students it picks, but also in the roughly 50 colleges it invites as participating institutions. Puget Sound has been a "Watson school" since 1992 and we have been extremely successful in those years with one or two winners almost every year since 1994.

If you or your students have any questions about the Watson program, please feel free to contact me at (x3515). Thank you. "


Monday, September 18, 2006

Professor Sousa Constitution Day Talk

You may not know that since 2005 Congress has required "that all educational institutions receiving federal funds offer an instructional program every Constitution Day, September 17" (for more on this see here). Professor Sousa has been asked to give the Constitution Day talk for campus, and will focus on civil liberties in the aftermath of 9/11. I am certain it will be an interesting talk, drawing from his popular course The Constitution in Crisis Times. I've posted his most recent syllabus for that course here.

September 22, 12-1 pm
Trimble Forum
Bring your lunch

Juniors: Public Policy and International Affairs Summer Institute at Princeton

This is a great opportunity for any of our juniors with an interest in public policy and international affairs. Each student enrolled in the Summer Institute is fully funded and receives financial support for the total cost. Deadline is November 1. Come see me if you have any questions.

Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute at Princeton University

The goal of the program is to prepare students for graduate study and careers in public policy and international affairs. This goal is achieved by providing participants with the tools of critical thinking, speaking, writing, and quantitative reasoning and with the skills and experiences necessary to create, analyze, implement, evaluate, and affect policy in a multicultural, multiethnic society.

Applicants must:

* Be enrolled as college juniors who will have one or two semesters remaining in an accredited college after completing the summer institute; this includes international students pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited U.S. four-year college or university located in the U.S.
* Demonstrate an interest in and commitment to cross-cultural and social issues and public service.
* Demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to a career in public or international affairs.
* Contribute to the diversity of perspectives in public policy or international affairs.

Application Requirements

An applicant must submit the following materials:

* The completed PPIA JSI application (available online at
* A résumé that includes work experience, extracurricular activities, foreign travel, language abilities, community involvement, and other experiences relevant to public affairs.
* A personal statement highlighting cultural experiences, social sensitivity, leadership skills, and a commitment to public service.
* Official academic transcripts.
* Two letters of recommendation.
* A copy of the student's financial aid award letter, Student Aid Report (SAR), and completion of the financial information section on the application. If the student is not receiving financial aid, please submit parent/guardian's income tax forms.


Sunday, September 17, 2006


When I was in college I was lousy at managing my money, and I didn't even have a credit card (thank goodness). This piece in the Wall Street Journal has some good basic advice on how not to end up with even more debt than you're already saddled with. Find the piece here.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

We Asked--You Answered

I wanted to extend a thank you to all those alums who responded to my earlier request to join the ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) network. We now have over 200 PG alums who have offered to help our students think about life after UPS-one of the largest among all the departments on campus. We appreciate all of you who have joined the ASK Network, provided alum profiles or other posts to the blog. Students have remarked how valuable they have found it to be.

To that end, if you're already on the ASK Network and need to update your information or haven't yet joined the Network and would like to do so, you can get the necessary login and password by clicking on the link above.

And students and alums, don't forget the upcoming ASK Night on campus:

ASK Night: Thursday, September 21, 2006
Marshall Hall, Wheelock Student Center

"Alumni will arrive at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments and a brief alumni gathering. Students should arrive at 7 p.m.

ASK Night provides an opportunity to talk with Puget Sound alumni and alumnae from a variety of walks of life. You share with them a common heritage in liberal arts education and their stories should provide ample examples of how life is enriched through that heritage. Pay attention not only to the measures of career success but also the broader associations in which these people may engage (i.e., professional and voluntary).

Don't miss this opportunity to mingle with alumni and hear about what others have done with their liberal arts education. Light refreshments provided."


Friday, September 15, 2006

Last Days of Summer

The weather has gone cloudy but the other day I managed to get a few sunny pictures of campus in the morning light:

Music Building

Todd Field, looking south toward Wyatt.
Older alums will remember the small A-Frames that used to be scattered among the trees.


Think Tank Town

Professor Weinberger calls our attention to a new feature from the Washington Post, Think Tank Town, which "edits and publishes columns submitted by 10 prominent think tanks on a rotating basis every other weekday. Each think tank is free to choose its authors and the topics it believes are most important and timely." Nice range of think tanks from left to right on the political spectrum. Worth reading; find it here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Why Be Normal? Political Science Student Conference

I would strongly and heartily encourage any of our students to submit a paper to this conference, happening this spring at ISU in Normal, Illinois. If you are interested, come see me and let's talk about what funds we can gather to defray your costs. You may already have a paper from a PG course from last semester, or be working on one this fall. Let's send someone to this and make it a yearly event!

The Fifteenth Annual
Normal, Illinois
March 23, 2007
Draft paper deadline: February 2, 2007
Final Papers due: March 4, 2007

All undergraduate and graduate political science students are invited to submit papers for the fifteenth annual Illinois State University Conference for Students of Political Science. Papers representing all subfields and political perspectives are welcome. Panelists at last years' conference included 60 students attending 24 colleges and universities.

This conference provides a rare opportunity for students of political science to present their work in a public forum and receive feedback on their ideas. All conference participants will be our guests at a catered luncheon with a keynote speaker. The best three undergraduate and graduate student papers will be awarded a cash prize. In addition, exceptional papers will be considered for publication in the Spring 2006 issue of the electronic journal, Critique: an online student journal of politics. Registration for the conference is free.

If you are interested in participating in this event, please follow the link to the online proposal submission form on the conference website:
If you would like to serve as a discussant on a panel, please send a
letter stating your interest and main areas of scholarly knowledge.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the
conference coordinators:

Dr. Gary Klass and Dr. George Kiser
4600 Department of Politics and Government
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4600.
(309) 438-7852

This conference is sponsored by the Undergraduate Political Science
Association, the Graduate Student Association, Pi Sigma Alpha, and
the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University.


Watching Us

A new media resource that just came my way:

"WatchingAmerica reflects global opinion about the United States, helping Americans and non-Americans alike understand what the world thinks of current issues that involve the U.S. This is done by providing news and views about the United States published in other countries.

It is not our purpose to find favorable or unfavorable content, but to reflect as accurately as possible how others perceive the richest and most powerful country in the world. We have no political agenda.

WatchingAmerica makes available in English articles written about the U.S. by foreigners, often for foreign audiences, and often in other languages. Since WatchingAmerica offers its own translations, regular users of our site will enjoy articles not available in English anywhere else. We are a unique window into world opinion.

In addition, by integrating the latest translation technology into the site, visitors are able to surf all of the content of foreign-language news outlets at the push of a button - in English."

I've only glanced at it, but so far it looks promising as a way to find otherwise hard to access news sources. Take a look and see what you think. Who knew that, for example, according to the Chinese press "it is only America's love of Pluto that has made the study of our Solar System so complex and so absurd."

Now I feel guilty.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Professor Sherman's Volecicle

Yesterday I sat in on Professor Sherman's PG 309 Environmental Politics and Policy in the U.S. (here's the syllabus if you are interested). It was a great class, especially for someone like myself whose understanding of environmental politics and US politics is limited. Best of all, however, were the props that Professor Sherman brought over from the Slater Museum:

That's not a corn dog, it's a vole

Spotted Owl

Now I feel like he's upped the ante, though the idea of displaying stuffed government leaders in my classes is less appealing.


Congressional Campaign: Intern Needed Now

This came yesterday from the office of Darcy Burner for Congress. One of our students, Sam H Kussin-Shoptaw '09, is already working for them. Sam says that "the internship is going great! Its a bit of a time commitment, but I really enjoy my candidate. The office there is very well run and all of the regular volunteers have been mentioning it non-stop....So its pretty exciting and the work is fun if you're interested in seeing how campaigns are run."

It sounds like an invaluable experience.

Here are the details:

Darcy Burner is a Progressive Democrat running against Republican Congressman 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 immediately for the remaining 56 days.

Position: Field 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.


Sound communication
Motivational skills
Good work ethic
A desire for political change

Interns must be highly motivated, driven, and willing to work directly in the field.

This internship is located in Auburn, with opportunities available for work in Tacoma.

To Apply Please Send a Resume to: or call (253) 735-0713.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Washington Internship Institute

These folks have internships in DC that focus on domestic politics and the federal government, and also ones that center on diplomacy for those with a more international orientation. They look interesting, and there are even merit-based scholarships. Check out all the details here.


Peace Corps on Campus

This just in...

My name is Chan Pongkhamsing and I am a recruiter with the Peace Corps. I will be on campus Wednesday - Oct. 11, 2006. I am interested in letting students know about opportunities for international work with the Peace Corps.

If it isn't possible for me to talk with your class, please encourage the students to attend one of the following events:

Information Table
Wednesday - Oct. 11, 2006
10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Wheelock Student Center Lobby

Video/Slide/Q&A Presentation
Wednesday - Oct. 11, 2006
12:00 to 1:00 pm
Location TBA


Chan Pongkhamsing

Regional Recruiter
Peace Corps

Seattle Regional Office
1601 Fifth Ave, Suite 605
Seattle, WA. 98101

Direct: (206) 239-6616
Office: (206) 553-5490
Toll-free: (800) 424-8580
Fax: 553-2343


Jennifer Eidum has arrived in Budapest to begin graduate school at the Central European University. She's got a nice post and some lovely pictures that give me a bit of a pang. Some of you know that when I graduated from college (Oregon, 1987) I spent a year as an exchange student in Hungary, then returned in 1991 and again from 1992-1993 on a Fulbright. So to see the country again always fills me with nostalgia and a bit of dread (the old anxiety about spending a year alone in a country where you didn't yet speak the language). Anyway, check out her blog here.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Some of the folks in the department live in Gig Harbor, and particularly with the construction of the second narrows bridge their commute has become nightmarish. Well, it will only get worse, for all of us. According to the Reason Foundation, a libertarian thinktank, the Seattle-Tacoma area has the eighth worst traffic in the country. Their conclusions:

"Washington has one city that currently suffers from severe congestion, which this study identifies as areas with Travel Time Indices of 1.18 or higher. The Seattle-Tacoma area is tied with Detroit as the 12th most congested region in the United States, with a TTI of 1.38. This means that driving times during peak traffic hours are 38 percent longer than during off-peak times.

Unless major steps are taken to relieve congestion, drivers in this part of Washington can expect to see a TTI of 1.79 by 2030. For an idea of how severe that level of congestion would be, note that this projection is significantly worse than the traffic delays experienced today in places like Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco. Indeed, it is even higher than Los Angeles, the most congested area in the United States with a TTI of 1.75."

Yikes. Whether or not you accept the foundation's solution (build more roads), the problem itself gives one pause. Read all the gory details here.


Public Policy, Harvard--an Alum's Experience

We had a post recently on MPAs and MPPs as an option for those wanting to go to graduate school. I asked Erin Speck '00, who left a comment on that post, if she might elaborate a bit on her experiences at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Here is her response:

"After several years in the Washington State Legislature working alongside policy analysts, I began to seek out my options for an advanced degree that would enable me to do more sophisticated analytical work.

I discovered the MPP degree through some research and reading and found it to be a degree more focused on the statistical and economic side of policy analysis than the administrative aspect of policy and government and thought that it would be more what I was looking for.

I chose the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard after admissions because it had the strongest faculty and core/elective classes, as well as an emphasis that interested me (national security and international political economy) for my MPP degree. The first year was generally filled with a couple of semesters of microeconomics, statistics and econometrics, ethics and leadership, several other required courses and a couple of electives. I felt like it provided a very strong base for mathematical analysis and contained options depending on whether you wanted to do things based on calculus or lower-level mathematics. The second year contains a major thesis component (at Harvard, this is done for a public or non-profit client), as well as classes to suit your interests (more stats and econ or subject matter classes). The Kennedy School also has an interesting component in the end of the first year called “Spring Exercise,” in which first year students take two weeks off classes entirely and delve into a policy problem (both individually and in groups) that is kept secret until the first day of the exercise (mine was the problem of the uninsured in America)."

Erin's now at SRA International in Virginia. Thanks for the input, Erin.


September 11

Five years ago, after watching the towers come down on TV, I came to work and sat down with Professor Fields. We were to team-teach in a short time and had to figure out how to use the class time to allow students to express their concerns. I have a memory of dispelling rumors and trying to use the time so that students felt like we were listening to them and able to answer, in some small way, their questions.

CNN has archived their live coverage from September 11 2001. It's slow, I suspect due to a lot of traffic on their site. You can find it here.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Some Books and Book Reviews

From today's New York Times, a couple of reviews of books I've not yet read but that sound interesting:

Ian Buruma, Murder In Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance. Buruma is one of my favorites, and we're reading his work Occidentalism in the course I teach on terrorism. I read part of this work earlier when it appeared in the New Yorker, and found it thought-provoking.

Michael Berube, What's Liberal about the Liberal Arts? Classroom Politics and "Bias" in Higher Education. This follows on our discussion of partisanship in the university, and is reviewed by political scientist Alan Wolfe, who is less than convinced by its argument.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Fish on Horses

Cat Fish '08 is taking this semester off to intern with Representative Adam Smith's office in DC, working alongside Andrea Tull '02, who we've featured in past. Cat sends along this observation from her first week of work:

"Now, the means by which our nation disposes of elderly horses may seem like a superfluous detail in the greater scheme of politics. But after spending three days in a congressional office, I can assure you that there are countless American citizens (or at least countless citizens of he the 9th congressional district of Washington State) who feel ever so passionately about the issue. Congress was scheduled to vote on the horse slaughter ban today. This lead to a dramatic influx of calls, letters, emails and faxes over the past few days from enraged constituents.

Today Congress voted on the American Horse Slaughter prevention Act (HR 503). Over the past few days, our office has been inundated with constituent calls, emails, letters and faxes regarding this issue. There was a 4 hour period yesterday in which our office received over 400 calls in support of this bill. Many of the citizens were advocates of the humane society who wanted to make sure that “Representative Smith treated horses like cats and dogs”. On the other side there were agricultural lobbyists who called and emailed with statistics on how much the money the ban would cost the federal government due to the fact that they would have to create shelters for these horses.

After carefully listening to constituents and reading memos about the bill, I was highly curious about which way Smith would vote. I could see reasons to vote each way. The lobbyists were very convincing, but the sheer number of constituents who contacted us about supporting the bill was staggering. When we asked the legislative assistant responsible for animal issues only an hour before the vote, he told us that the congressman had not yet made up his mind.

It turns out that Smith did vote in support of the ban, and furthermore, the ban was passed in the House of Representatives. This bill entirely prohibits the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes. So don’t get any ideas.

Even though this bill seemed slightly ridiculous to me at first, it was a good example of the process by which bills are introduced, debated, voted on and passed in congress. I’m not entirely certain what exactly made Smith decide to support the bill (I'll ask a staffer tomorrow), but I’d like to think that it had something to do with the hundreds of constituents who contacted our office and voiced their opinion. Maybe answering the phone is a more valuable step in the democratic process than I had originally thought; maybe next time I see an elderly horse, it'll give me a little wink."

I look forward to sharing more observations from Cat and have already pestered Andrea for an appropriate shot of the two of them with some impressive piece of Capitol architecture as a backdrop. Once again, PG students and alums hold the reins of power in the beltway!


Friday, September 08, 2006

Visualize Tacoma

Over at Feed Tacoma there's a new bit of fun. FT is now grabbing all the pictures on Flickr tagged "Tacoma" and updating on a daily basis. Check it out and see the range of local shots (including ours) here.

Get them Grants

It's difficult, I think, to keep track of the funding sources one might use for education. Student loans or in-house financial aid are pretty straight-up; but there's lots of other grants and other financial opportunities (like the one I posted below) that are not easy to stay on top of.

When it comes to graduate education, at least, many schools have sought to organize this material for their students. My graduate alma mater, Indiana, has a very good site where they organize graduate fellowships by discipline and other qualifications or pursuits. Their newsletter is regularly updated and archived. If you are in, or thinking about, graduate school, take a look here.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

CFR Conference Call: Muslims in Europe

Council on Foreign Relations Conference Call
Topic: Muslims in Europe
Speaker: Stephanie Giry, Senior Editor at Foreign Affairs
Time and place: September 14 9-10 am, Wyatt 226 (conference room)

September 14 will be our first conference call through the Council on Foreign Relations, on the topic of Muslims in Europe. This will be an opportunity for students to talk to the guest speaker, Stephanie Giry, Senior Editor at Foreign Affairs. These conferences calls are for students, not faculty, to participate, so we encourage you to come and join the conversation with students from all over the country. I'll be there to help set up the call. Hope to see you there.

Update: Suggested reading by CFR: International Crisis Group, "France and its Muslims: Riots, Jihadism and Depoliticisation"; also, Stephanie Giry, "France and Its Muslims"


Yep, that's what it's called.

"Enter what you're reading or your whole library—it's an easy, library-quality catalog. Because everyone else is doing it too, LibraryThing connects you with people who read the same things."

The site lets you communicate with others on this and other books, see what else others are reading or what they suggest, tag books, and link out to swapping sites to trade your texts. Here's the page for James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds as one example.

I could see this as a useful research tool, to move from one book outward to find other similar work. Not unlike walking the stacks in a library, with the exception that this library is organized by what the online community is reading and how they categorize their works.

More time wasting guaranteed!


Davies-Jackson Scholarship

"The Davies-Jackson Scholarship presents a unique opportunity for students with exceptional academic records, who are among the first in their families to graduate college, to participate in a course of study at St. John’s College at the University of Cambridge. After two years of study, candidates are awarded a Cambridge B.A. degree, often referred to as the Cantab degree, which is the equivalent of a masters degree in the U.S.

Scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich educational environment of St. John’s, which was founded in the 16th century, by reading in one of the following subjects: Archaeology and Anthropology, Classics, Economics, English, Geography, History, History of Art, Modern and Medieval Languages, Music, Philosophy, or Social and Political Sciences."

Another great opportunity, so check it out here; deadline is November 13. Let's talk if you want to pursue this further.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sneak Peek: Harned Hall

In an attempt to avoid doing work I finally walked over to the new science building, Harned Hall, to see for myself what all the hubhub was about. In a word: fantastic! My pictures don't do it justice, I'll have to go back with a better camera. But for now, a taste of things to come.

Main entry off of Union Avenue

Foucault Pendulum

Courtyard cafe, with old facade of Thompson Hall to the left

When summer is gone and most of our direct sunlight with it, I plan to move my office into the cafe--permanently.


Campus Snapshot: The Rotunda


Still nice weather here, which is predicted to last a few more days, thus tricking out-of-region freshmen into thinking that the Pacific Northwest is sunny and dry.

Publish with Pi Sigma Alpha

Professor Ferrari pointed out the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics, produced by that political science honor society. They are soliciting contributions for their Spring 2007 issue:

"To be considered for publication in the Spring 2006 edition, students should submit their papers by February 8th, although we accept manuscripts on a rolling basis. The Journal welcomes submissions from undergraduates of any class or major; submissions from Pi Sigma Alpha members are especially encouraged. Our goal is to publish manuscripts of the highest quality in all areas of Political Science. In general, papers selected for publication have been well-written with a well-developed thesis, compelling argument, and original analysis. We typically publish papers approximately 15-35 pages in length that have been written for an upper level course or as an individual research project. Manuscripts should include a short abstract (roughly 150 words), and citations and references should follow the APSA Style Manual for Political Science. Please make sure that all citations and references are complete and in the APSA style. Submissions must be in the form of a Microsoft Word document and should be e-mailed to Please include name, university, and contact details (mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number). Students may be asked to revise their manuscript before it is accepted for publication. "

This is another great opportunity for undergraduates to get their best work published, and as we've mentioned before, this is but one of many publications out there you can submit to. If you click on the tag below you'll find another dozen journals where you might submit your work. Ask us in the department if you have questions or need advice about the whole process. Good luck!


Alum Profile: Ryan Mello '01

When did you graduate from UPS?

May, 2001

What have you been doing since graduation?

Right after graduation I worked on Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma’s campaign. We won. Then I went on to do the AmeriCorps program here in Pierce County with the local United Way. I coordinated the youth program, helping to engage high school and middle school aged youth to a lifetime of service to the community.

I’ve worked in politics for a while after that, managing and consulting on political campaigns. I was the chief of staff for a legislator in Olympia for 2 years and am now the Conservation Director for the Cascade Land Conservancy – the regional land trust, responsible for preserving treasured landscapes from the slopes of Mount Rainier to downtown Tacoma.

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

I really have stumbled upon it. When I entered UPS as a freshman, I thought I wanted to enter the medical field. After two semesters of Organic Chemistry, I realized that lab science was not for me and I was not happy studying those subjects so intensely. Through the course of fulfilling my cores, I stumbled upon a P&G course that really hit me. I was engaged, intense and happy.

The transition out of college was a little rough for me as I didn’t make good plans for my departure, but at the same time understood I did not want to work for “corporate America” or be stuck in a cubicle for my days.

The AmeriCorps program was quite interesting to me as it was a way to give back to my community, gain more leadership skills and earn funds for future, advanced education. It really allowed me an opportunity to transition out of college at a slower pace in a way that was meaningful to me. It allowed me the flexibility to stumble upon other civic engagement projects like running political campaigns and getting to understand civic life in Tacoma-Pierce County more thoroughly.

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

The emphasis on reading critically has been the most beneficial. The caliber of the reading has given me an advantage in the workplace because of its intensity and relevance. The rigor of the program has truly prepared me to operate at a high level in the workplace and translate the skills to political organizing, communication in professional environments and working independently as well as with others to achieve a meaningful goal.

Do you have any advice about what our students should make certain they do (or don’t do!) while still in school?

Do what makes you happy and seems meaningful in your life! Study abroad if you want to (I didn’t, but did many activities during my career that were very important to me). Don’t pursue a degree or career that seems plain uninteresting or unimportant to you. Don’t go to graduate school right after undergrad simply because you think you are out of options. There are countless things you can do to slowly transition out of college to ground yourself i.e. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, work for a non-profit, volunteer or get paid work on a political campaign.

Do whatever you can to not get stuck in a rut. Take challenging classes and take classes from a broad cross-section of professors because you will quickly learn the communication styles that resonate with you best.

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

Use your time in college to weed out the experiences you like and don’t like. Join a club or organization and relate it to something you think you might want to do in the future i.e. non-profit work in a particular field, political organizing, etc.

Intern or volunteer during the summer to gain different experiences that will prepare you better for your transition out of college.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors and other mentors about all your options. I was and still am confused about what advanced degree is right for me: law school, MPA or something else. Professors have a lot of insight – ask them to discuss your options with you.

Any other words of wisdom, or important questions I haven’t asked?

Take full advantage of UPS. You or someone you know are paying a ton of cash for you to get a top-notch education. So,

• Read the most you can to be as prepared as possible for class – it will make the lecture/discussion that much more interesting.
• Participate in as many activities ASUPS or others put on – they are excellent and will broaden your horizons.
• Write a plan for attacking the writing of your thesis and stick to it – you will be much happier when you plan and execute your plan instead of crunching such an important piece of work in to 3 weeks or less because of bad procrastination.

Ryan is too modest to mention that he served as UPS Student Body President, and currently serves in elected office as one of five Commissioners for Metro Parks here in Tacoma. Ryan is a great resource if you want to know more about running campaigns, running for office, and getting involved in local politics.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Teach For America on Campus

This might be of interest--we've mentioned in past that several PG grads went on to Teach for America and have spoken highly of it:

Cameron Duffy, Recruitment Director with Teach For America has asked me to forward the following information to selected faculty and staff. She would be interested in speaking with you and/or your students about employment opportunities for our graduates.

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all backgrounds and academic majors who commit two years of teaching in urban and rural public schools and who become lifelong advocates for change. For more information about the organization, please visit

Last year 7 of Puget Sound students accepted positions with Teach For America. For the 2006-2007 academic year, TFA is hoping for a 25% increase in corps members from Puget Sound.

Cameron would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you in person to talk about Teach For America. She will be on-campus September 6 & 7 for visitations with faculty, staff and students. On September 18 & 19 she will have a table over in the Wheelock Student Center from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. If you are interested in talking with Cameron or having her come to one of your classes please contact her at

Karina Copen '94

The email comes via Professor Share, who took Karina along with a number of other UPS students on a study tour of Central America that he conducted regularly in the 1990s. Karina writes:

"As many of you know, I have been working as a consultant for the past year and a half since I finished graduate school at Columbia (School of Public and International Affairs--Professor O'Neil). During this time I have been looking for a full- time job that met both my desire to work with Latin America and to work with an organization that fits my values and commitment to social justice, women's empowerment and human rights. It has been a long and at times frustrating journey, but I am pleased to let you know that I have just accepted a job that I am thrilled about.

At the end of October 2006, I will begin working with Oxfam America in their regional office in San Salvador. My title will be Program Officer for Humanitarian Preparedness and Response. To translate for those of you not in the field , my job will be to work with the local organizations that Oxfam supports to help them prepare their communities for the emergencies that affect the region--earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, floods, etc. I am happy to send you more details if you are interested, but won't bore everyone with them here."

Professor Share and Karina both thought that this would be a great opportunity for an internship. Let me know if you are interested in working with Karina in San Salvador.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Hipper than Thou

They say it best themselves:

"a group of dedicated punk kids who have started a site to help promote everything great and wonderful about Tacoma".

Thanks to Jamie at Thrice All American for being on the cutting edge. And he's got a good restaurant list as well that is worth hanging on to.


Freshmen Take On Tacoma

In the Tacoma News Tribune, two articles by freshmen on their perceptions of Tacoma to date as seen through Urban Plunge. Read one of the pieces here; the other I can't find online.

One of the unfortunate threads running through both opinion pieces was that UPS students are given strongly negative views of the city around them, only reinforcing the sense of a "bubble" that divides the town and gown. To that end, I will try to post more on the blog about things around town that students should check out. There's more to Tacoma than the North End...

Oh, you'll also be happy to know that when you search "best politics university" on the Saudi version of Microsoft's search engine, this blog comes up third, as a recent visitor to the site from Riyadh just discovered.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hot Off The Press

Just a few days ago WW Norton released our comparative politics troika of textbookery: Essentials of Comparative Politics and Essential Readings in Comparative Politics (the latter co-edited with Ron Rogowski of UCLA), both in their second editions, and Cases in Comparative Politics, co-written with Professor Fields and Share, and now in its first print edition. We've gotten our copies of the main text but are still waiting on the other two. Looking forward to seeing them in print. Norton's got all the adverts here.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter

Why not send an email that's programmed to arrive far in the future? A technology/art project in France allows you to send emails set to arrive up to fifty years hence. I like the idea of emailing myself in a year to see how I'm doing. Or you can send yourself an email to remind yourself to do some task far down the road.

Odd and wonderful stuff. Read about it in the New York Times here; and find the project itself at


Friday, September 01, 2006

Nice Manners

A useful and funny piece in Inside Higher Ed on etiquette, or why rummaging through all the bread on the dinner table isn't the best way to make a good impression. Read the whole piece here and take notes.

The one not mentioned--turn off that phone! And if you didn't and it rings in a situation where it shouldn't have been on in the first place (class, a meeting, an interview, church), for goodness' sake don't answer it--just shut it off as quickly as possible.


My Professor Is a Partisan Hack

Professor Sousa tips me off to a recent article in the journal PS, a publication of the American Political Science Assocation. The study investigates student perceptions of political science professors' ideology and how, in turn, this affects the professors' evaluation scores. Their findings in part indicate that students rate professors they agree with ideologically more highly than those they disagree with. "Perhaps most troubling," they conclude, "political differences between students and professors appear to reduce students' interest in the subject matter." Striking a balance in the classroom, challenging students' existing ideological biases while not alienating them in the process, is no easy task.

That's why I never mention my monarchist tendencies in class.

Read the whole piece (the conclusion is probably of most interest) here.