News

Ray Block to start as Faculty in Political Science in Fall 2019

Welcome Dr. Ray Block, he will join our faculty in Fall 2019 as associate professor of political science and African American studies

Please welcome Dr. Ray Block Jr., who will join our faculty in Fall 2019 as associate professor of political science and African American studies. One of several distinguished scholars brought on board as part of a cluster hire in African American Life and Culture, Dr. Block comes to us from the University of Kentucky. He earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and political science from Howard University and master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Block’s research interests include racial, ethnic, and gender differences in civic involvement; the formation and mutability of social identity; campaigns and elections; and other topics. He has published dozens of book chapters, manuscripts, and peer-reviewed journal articles and is co-author of Losing Power: Americans and Racial Polarization in Tennessee Politics, a book in progress under advance contract with the University of Georgia Press. Since 2005, Dr. Block has received 15 research and faculty grants and awards, including the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows Award and a pre-doctoral fellowship from Middle Tennessee State University. He serves as co-chair of the public opinion and political participation section of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, as an analyst for both the African American Research Collaborative and Latino Decisions, and as faculty coach for the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity. Dr. Block is a member of several professional organizations including the American Political Science Association and the Society for Political Methodology.

Candis Watts Smith to start as Faculty in Political Science in Fall 2019

Candis Smith, Ph.D. has been hired to start this upcoming Fall

We want to welcome Dr. Candis Watts Smith. She has been hired as associate professor of political science and african american studies. She will be starting in the Fall 2019 semester. Dr. Smith is coming to us from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She served as assistant professor of public policy, having affiliations with the departments of political science and african & african american diaspora studies.

Dr. Smith earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Political Science at Duke University. Dr. Smith’s research focuses on American Politics, with an emphasis on racial and ethnic politics as well as political behavior. She is the author of Black Mosaic: The Politics of Black Pan-Ethnic Diversity (NYU Press, 2014) and Stay Woke: How to Make All Black Lives Matter (NYU Press, Forthcoming), and is the co-editor of Black Politics in Transition: Immigration, Suburbanization, and Gentrification (Routledge, 2018). She is working on a book length project currently entitled Racial Stasis: The Millennial Generation and the Stagnation of Racial Attitudes in American Politics.  Her research has been published or is forthcoming in the Journal of Politics, Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, National Political Science Review, Politics Groups and Identities, and the Journal of Black Studies. Her measure of racial resentment has been adopted by the Cooperative Congressional Campaign Survey (CCES). She received the 2013 Best Dissertation Award from the APSA section on Race, Ethnic, and Politics, and she was awarded the 2018 MPSA Best Paper by an Emerging Scholar Award as well as the 2018 Meier award for Best Paper in Bureaucratic Politics, Public Administration, or Public Policy from APSA.

Welcome the 2019 class of Pi Sigma Alpha induction members

Political Science students inducted into Penn State’s Pi Sigma Alpha

The Penn State 2019 class of Pi Sigma Alpha members were inducted into the society on February 25, 2019. The ceremony inducted the students into the society and awarded them for their academic achievements.  Penn State Pi Sigma Alpha is the only Penn State chapter of honor society for college students majoring in political science and government in the United States. Pi Sigma Alpha’s mission is to promote excellence in the study of political science through a variety of programs that provide awards, scholarships, lecture funding, and other benefits for members, chapters and political scientists. Congratulations class of 2019 for all your hard work and effort!

Two Political Science Professors were named chairs

Erin Heidt-Forsythe and Bruce Desmarais named chairs

Congratulations to both, Bruce Desmarais, Penn State Associate Professor of Political Science, has been named the inaugural William and Monica DeGrandis-McCourtney Early Career Professor of Political Science by the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts. The DeGrandis-McCourtney Early Career Professorship supports a faculty member who teaches and does research in American institutions and politics. While, Erin Heidt-Forsythe, Penn State Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Political Science, has been name the Sherwin Early Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute. Early career professorships and career development professorships are given to promising untenured and recently tenured faculty. They include support for the faculty member's research and teaching program and are awarded for a term. Thank you for the hard work and dedication that these professors consistently exhibit.

Sona Golder, Penn State professor of political science, discusses Brexit’s history

Sona Golder, Penn State professor of political science, discusses Brexit’s history and what its future might look like on this week’s episode of the Democracy Works podcast

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The March 29 deadline for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union is quickly approaching, but there are still many details left to be decided about how Brexit will end, and what it means for the U.K.’s citizens.
Sona Golder, Penn State professor of political science, discusses Brexit’s history and what its future might look like on this week’s episode of the Democracy Works podcast, produced by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy and WPSU Penn State. Full Story