Letter from the Chair

It is my pleasure to share some news from the Department with you. Last year was challenging, but it was also an exceptionally successful year for the Department. We rose in the national rankings to the 12th place, which is the highest that the department has ever been and makes us the highest ranked department in Arts & Sciences at WashU. 


In addition, our faculty recruitment effort last year was unprecedented in many ways: we made six offers, including two at the full professor level and two at the associate level. Four of the recruits were women, three were under-represented minorities (all of whom were also women). And we landed three excellent new colleagues. Plus, we did all of this in the middle of a pandemic--at a time when we expected not to be able to recruit at all! As a department, we are clearly on an upward trajectory – the direction in which I hope we can continue.


This fall, we are also pursuing some exciting hiring opportunities, which I’ll hope to share soon.


I am so happy to welcome our four newest faculty to the Department: Zack BowersoxDan Butler, Lucia Motolinia, and Anna Wilke. We also welcome Daniel Gibbs and Andrew Stone as our new post-docs. We are fortunate to have such talented colleagues join our ranks! 


We also celebrate the promotion of two of our colleagues. Congratulations to Andrew Reeves on his promotion to full professor and to Keith Schnakenberg on his promotion to associate professor with tenure!


Our department has grown in other ways! In May, Prof. Carly Wayne and family welcomed Ava May Mansfeld. In August, Prof. Will Nomikos and family welcomed Ares Jonah Resnick Nomikos.


We also received the disappointing news that Michael Bechtel will be leaving the department at the end of 2021 to accept a position as a full professor offer from the University of Cologne. We will miss having Michael as our colleague and wish him all the best in his new endeavor.


Before closing, I would like to thank professor Andrew Reeves and Jessica Droege for compiling another exciting edition of the Newsletter. One thing that the Department has always been proud of is our community – the ties we build among our colleagues and students. I hope this Newsletter helps us maintain these ties and encourage you to reach out and let us know how you are doing.


Yours Sincerely,

Margit Tavits

William Taussig Professor

Chair, Department of Political Science

Keith Schnakenberg

Letter from the Director of Graduate Studies

This past year has also been a successful one for our graduate students, with several notable accomplishments to celebrate. We welcomed a first year cohort of ten excellent scholars with diverse research interests across the field who are now halfway through their first year in the program. Among our graduate students' accomplishments in the past year, Jeremy Siow has been awarded the American Political Science Association's Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant. This is a highly competitive grant and we are proud of Jeremy's achievement. In addition, Benjamin Noble has won the Dean's award for Graduate Research Excellence. This award recognizes Benjamin's outstanding research and contributions to the study of executive branch politics in the United States. Furthermore, Tony Yang has received two grants for his research. He was awarded the American Political Science Association' Summer Centennial Center Research Grant as well as a research grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. These grants will support Tony's valuable work. We are proud of all of our students and their accomplishments and we look forward to more successes in the future.

Awards & Grants

Dr. Brian Crisp & Dr. Matt Gabel

CRE2 Grant Awarded a seed Grant from the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity for their research on "Migration and Racial Representation in St. Louis County since 1970."

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Chancellor Andrew Martin & Dr. Lee Epstein

Lasting Contribution Award Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, Professor Lee Epstein, & co-author Christina Boyd win APSA's Law & Court Lasting Contribution Award for their 2010 article, "Untangling the Causal Effects of Sex on Judging."

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