Once again it’s the time of year for long goodbyes and moving on to new adventures. We congratulate our class of 2019, many of whom participated in our departmental graduation ceremony in Woodburn 100. Meeting everyone – proud parents, grandparents, and extended families -- was a joy. We echo the pride we saw in your eyes. Your graduates are off on grand new endeavors. You had a grand send off by the faculty, who all wish you well, and student speaker Kathrine Hitchcock who had the honor of delivering the graduation speech. Congrats to you all. Keep in touch and come back and visit!
A note from the chair
We are also saying good bye in-house this year to some old friends and stalwart supporters of the department. Our longtime and extremely valued colleague Marjorie Hershey is retiring after forty –five years at IU. Margie has been the heart and soul of our undergraduate program, having served multiple terms as our Director of Undergraduate Studies and also as Associate Chair. Her environmental policy class was a department favorite. Many of you know her well. Read about the important recognition Margie has received as an outstanding teacher.
In addition our esteemed colleague Michael McGinnis is retiring after thirty-four years at IU. Mike has served as Department Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, Senior Research Fellow in the Ostrom Workshop and most recent Associate Dean for Social & Historical Sciences and Graduate Education in the College of Arts and Sciences.
We are also losing three wonderful staff members. Steve Flinn, our own IT guru, has seen us from punch cards to cloud computing. His retirement is well deserved but we will miss him. Joelene Bergonzi, one of our principle advisors, is well known to many of you as the person who saw you through four challenging years of schedule planning. She retired in April for a new career. Sharon Hughes is the sweet voice and serene presence you met at the front desk every time you came into the main office. Sharon is calmly going off to retirement leaving us all a little bit more frenzied.
But this year saw new hires as well. We added three junior colleagues, Jason Wu who specializes in Chinese politics and Ore Koren who teaching international relations. Both also help in our research methods/statistics training. In addition we are fortunate to have hired Vanessa Cruz-Nichols whose research focuses on the politics of race and ethnicity.
Jess Coulter is a new face in the main office staff; her cheerful presence is a great addition.
Upcoming change in administration brings us a new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and after three years my term as chair is over. Leading this department has been a rewarding challenge and a good send off into partial retirement – I will still teach every fall but spend the springs doing research in warmer climes. I turn the privilege of guiding the department and the infinite joys of dealing with colleagues over to the capable hands of Lauren MacLean, our Bentley Chair in Political Science. Tim Hellwig is stepping down as Director of Graduate studies as well as director of our popular Model UN program. He will be assuming direction of IU's Gateway Center in Berlin for the next three years. With Margie leaving her post as Undergrad director, Professor MacLean will be installing new department administrators when she takes over in July and I am sure you will hear all about them in the next newsletter. In the meantime, major thanks to Tim and Margie who, along with department administrator Jan Peterson, were a strong and supportive departmental admin team.
Over the last few years we have accomplished some long-term goals. We streamlined the graduate curriculum and also dug deep into undergraduate reform and are in the process of developing some new career pathways that will prepare students for the opportunities that await them. We anticipate that our political analytics track run by Professor Bill Bianco will be the precursor to a B.S. in Political Science. And this year, in conjunction with the Walter Center for Career Achievement, we piloted IU POLS DC – a new DC internship program you will read more about below. Nine happy interns have just completed the pilot and we are sending 24 next spring!
I leave my years as chair confident that these reforms will blossom and our undergrad program will be rejuvenated, that our new faculty are making a wonderful contribution. I wait with delighted anticipation to see where Lauren will take us.
Thanks to you all. See you later.