Political Science Newsletter- September 2016





Rev. Charles Brock, a Penn State Behrend political science faculty member and an Emeritus Fellow and former Director of Ministerial Education at Mansfield College, Oxford University, in England, has made a donation to the University to establish a Brock Public Policy Fund, whose first goal will be the creation of a Public Policy Center at Behrend.

The Public Policy Center will coordinate, encourage, and publicize Behrend faculty research related to public policy (especially on issues of importance to the Erie region), will place students in internships related to public policy in the Erie community, and will coordinate community public policy forums on campus. 

The intention is to expand the Center in the future to support integrative learning and interdisciplinary public policy courses at Behrend.

There will be more news about the creation of the Public Policy Center in the months ahead.

The political science program thanks Rev. Brock for his generosity to the college and for his commitment to the interdisciplinary study of public policy intended to help the Erie region and policy advocates and policymakers everywhere.


On Monday, October 3, and Tuesday, October 4, two former members of Congress—Lincoln Davis (D-TN) and Tom Petri (R-WI)—will be visiting the Penn State Behrend campus for two days of classroom visits; meetings with students; meals with students, faculty, and staff members; and a community speaking event.

The community speaking event on "Civility in Politics and the 2016 Election," will be at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 3, tentatively in Reed 117.

Watch for emails and campus advertising over the next week for announcements of other receptions and meetings with the two former members of Congress.

Lincoln Davis represented Tennessee as a Democrat in Congress between 2003-2010. While in Congress, Davis chaired the National Prayer Breakfast and was a leader in the weekly bi-partisan Prayer Group. He founded the Kurdish-American Caucus to provide advocacy for the Iraq Kurds, many of whom live in Middle Tennessee. 

As a member of the Congressional Blue Dog Caucus, he worked for strong National Defense and Fiscal Responsibility. 

Tom Petri represented Wisconsin as a Republican in Congress between 1979-2014. During his final term, he served as Chairman of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he served in the Peace Corps in Somalia in the 1960s. In addition to his legislative work, Rep. Petri at various times in his career served as the Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives-British Parliament exchange, the House French and German Caucuses and was an active participant in U.S. House-Japanese Diet discussions.

The Congress to Campus event is being funded by the Janet Neff Sample Center for Manners and Civility at Penn State Behrend.


This year's three presidential debates and vice presidential debate will be shown on a large television screen on the stage at Bruno's. The presentations, sponsored by the political science and communication programs at Behrend, will be introduced by faculty from those programs, as well as H&SS School Director Eric Corty.

All debates begin at 9:00 p.m. and last for 90 minutes.

Here is the schedule:

Monday September 26, 2016: Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York
opening remarks from Kilic Kanat, closing remarks from Eric Corty

Tuesday October 4, 2016: Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia
opening remarks from Rod Troester, closing remarks from Bill McLean

Sunday October 9, 2016: Presidential Debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
opening remarks from Colleen Kelley, closing remarks from Rod Troester 

Wednesday October 19, 2016: Presidential Debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas 
opening remarks from​ Naaborle Sackeyfio, closing remarks from Bill McLean


Here is a list of Political Science and Sociology courses that will be offered at Penn State Behrend in Spring 2017.

Remember that all political science majors must take PL SC 001, PL SC 003, PL SC 014, and PL SC 017, as well as 24 other credits (usually eight other courses) in PL SC. Of those other 24 credits, at least 12 (four courses) must be at the 400 level, and at least 3 credits (one course) must be taken in each of the subfield requirements (American Government, Comparative Politics, International Politics, Government in Theory and Practice). Some courses can be used to fulfill either of two subfield requirements, but you cannot use the same course on your degree audit to meet both of those subfield requirements.

If you need help with scheduling or understanding the requirements of the major, please make an appointment to see your adviser.

Politics and Government minors must take PL SC 001, PL SC 003, and 12 other credits (four courses), including 6 credits at the 400-level.

Sociology minors must take SOC 001 and 15 other credits in SOC, including at least 6 credits at the 400-level.

Spring 2017 Courses

  • PL SC 001 - Introduction to American National Government (GS)
  • PL SC 003 - Introduction to Comparative Politics (GS, IL)
  • PL SC 014 - International Relations (GS, IL)
  • PL SC 017 - Introduction to Political Theory (GS)
  • PL SC 111 - Debating the Purpose of Government (GH, Theory and Practice)
  • PL SC 111H - Debating the Purpose of Government (GH, Theory and Practice)
  • PL SC 123 - Ethnic and Racial Politics (GS, US, IL, American, Comparative)
  • PL SC 177 - Politics and Government in Washington, D.C. (GS, American, International)
  • PL SC 419 - The Bureaucratic State (American, Theory and Practice)
  • PL SC 428 - Gender and Politics (US, IL, Theory and Practice)
  • PL SC 430W - Selected Works in the History of Political Theory (Theory and Practice)
  • PL SC 442 - American Foreign Policy (American, International)
  • AFR 110 - Introduction to Contemporary Africa (GS, IL, Other Cultures, Comparative)
  • SOC 001 - Introductory Sociology (GS)
  • SOC 013 - Juvenile Delinquency (GS)
  • SOC 412 - Crime, Social Control, and the Legal System


PL SC 419 The Bureaucratic State: Was there a time in American history when heroin was legal and alcohol was illegal? How were drug laws created and enforced before there was a DEA? Did the FBI or the CIA come first? Do you know the story of how their first powerful leaders shaped the agencies? How were veterans treated before the Veterans Administration (VA) was established? What famous American military hero ordered veterans who were storming the U.S. Capitol building to be shot? The answers to these and many other interesting questions are answered and discussed in “The Bureaucratic State” (PL SC 419). By focusing on agencies like the L.C.B. (Liquor Control Board), the class seeks to familiarize students with the modern American bureaucratic state, its history, and how it was developed. In tracking the unprecedented growth of the federal government in the twentieth century, and role of modern regulatory agencies, the course seeks to enable students to understand key concepts of public policy, and to provide an understanding of how public policy is shaped by, and implemented in, the bureaucratic state. Whether discussing large federal bureaucracies like the Department of State, or small, local agencies like the Erie County Board of Health, the course examines the various actors in the policy process, and the influence they have in the evaluation, development, and implementation of public policy.

PL SC 428: Gender and Politics: Are you a man or are you a woman, really? You see, advertising provides us with gender imperatives. Does it have to be one way or the other, masculine or feminine? Wear make-up when you want, or shop in the men's department, where the clothes are cheaper and more durable. Who, exactly, determines what it means to be a man or a woman? It would be good if we chose for ourselves. No matter what the politicians say, politics is theater, for better or for worse. So, what will your life say on the stage? Traditional? Progressive? Anarchist rebel? Sign up for Gender and Politics and take a look inside.

PL SC 430W - Selected Works in Political Theory: The Enlightenment is first of all an educational revolution. In the new sciences of understanding, developed by John Locke, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant, the opinion and belief obtainable by the ordinary person cease to qualify as much more than delusion. In the correlative Enlightenment philosophies of politics, despite the proclamations as to the universal rights of all human beings, only philosophers are really certified to possess anything remotely resembling truth. We will examine Locke’s Letters on Education along with his Conduct of the Human Understanding; Hume’s Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding, and Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. This is a writing intensive class. Students will compose papers for each thinker in addition to the examination.

PL SC 442: American Foreign Policy is about the principles of American foreign policy; processes of policy formulation; roles of the President, Congress, the State Department, and other government agencies.

SOC 412: Crime, Social Control, and the Legal System will discuss public opinion on crime; criminal justice and correctional processes; legal sanctions; control strategies.


The political science program will be sponsoring a student trip to Washington, D.C. over Spring Break 2017 (March 4-12). The trip is a required portion of the course POLSC 177 (GS). The class is taught by Dr. Robert Speel, associate professor of political science at Penn State Behrend.

The exact itinerary will not be determined until February 2017, but on past such trips, the group has met with all of our local members of Congress, with officials at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Organization of American States, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the embassies of Australia, Romania, Botswana, India, Ireland, Canada, Jamaica, Estonia, Bulgaria, and Indonesia. In 2015, the group met with the Latvian ambassador to the United States at the Latvian Embassy. We have toured the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the C-SPAN studios. We have participated in seminars held in the Supreme Court chambers, Ford's Theatre, and the Federal Reserve Board room. Among the highlights of the trip will be meetings or tours with Penn State Behrend alumni who work on Capitol Hill, for federal government agencies, as policy analysts, or as political consultants in Washington.

We always visit Arlington National Cemetery and all the most famous monuments and memorials. Free time is provided to visit museums such as the Newseum, the International Spy Museum, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the various Smithsonian Museums, as well as the National Zoo. Students have also attended major sports and entertainment events in Washington, D.C. during the evening. Students should be aware that most of the places we visit during the week are only available to student groups in Washington and not to individual tourists. Some of the places we visit may provide the only opportunity some will have in their lives to tour certain government buildings or meet with certain officials in Washington.

The trip is associated with the political science course POLSC 177 (GS), and students will be required to sign up for either a three credit or one credit version of the course in order to take the trip. The three credit version of the course will involve weekly class meetings before and after the trip, to be held on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 4:35 p.m. We will meet twice a week in February and then end early in April. Most of the time in Washington is also considered class time. In addition, the three credit version of the class will involve assigned readings, quizzes, some research, and short papers appropriate for a three credit course.

The one credit version of the course will include participation in the trip and a 10-page paper to be written after the trip. It is intended for students who would like to participate in the trip to Washington, but who don't necessarily need a three credit political science course. 

The three credits or one credit can be used for both the political science major and minor in the subfields of American government or international politics. The course can also be used to fulfill the "Crime and Public Policy" area requirement for the Crime, Psychology, and Public Policy certificate. And students in all majors can use the course to fulfill GS general education requirements. Some majors will allow the course to fulfill other specific requirements. The course and trip are open to students in all majors. There is no prerequisite.

Dr. Nicole Shoenberger, assistant professor of sociology, will be joining us on the trip. 

Full details about our hotel in Washington and full trip cost will be publicized in October in this newsletter and in brochures and advertising on campus.


There are 439 living POLSC alumni since the first major graduated in 1977.

In a study completed in August 2016, we were able to determine the current jobs of 347 (79%) of those alumni.

Of those 347 alumni, the most common career paths are:

Business professionals            (n=89, 26%)
Law                                          (n=73, 21%)
Government service                (n=72, 21%)
Education                                (n=53, 15%)
Public policy                            (n=19, 5%)
Health care                             (n=19, 5%)
Non-profit professionals         (n=12, 3%)
Political activism                     (n=6, 2%)

Note that 12 government attorneys are double counted in both the law and government service fields, and that three policy researchers, who work for government agencies, are also double counted.

Among the 73 alumni who work in the legal field are:

60 attorneys
7 in law school or who just finished this year
6 paralegals or legal assistants

Some of the attorneys are partners in large law firms; some of our alumni have opened up their own law firms; some work for the government; and some work as corporate counsels or for non-profit agencies.

The government attorneys work for:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
New York City Department of Education
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Justice
Erie County District Attorney (our alumnus is an assistant district attorney)
Potter County District Attorney (our alumnus is the elected district attorney)
Warren County District Attorney (our alumnus is an assistant district attorney)
Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Prosecutor's Office
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Michigan Attorney General

Some of the corporate and non-profit counsels work for:

The Nature Conservancy
American Eagle Outfitters
AmeriHealth Caritas

Among the law schools attended by our alumni since 2000 are:

Cornell University
Syracuse University
New York University
Duquesne University
University of Pittsburgh
The George Washington University
University of Maryland
University of Illinois
Case Western Reserve University
Michigan State University
The Ohio State University
Vermont Law School
University of Michigan
Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Ave Maria School of Law
Widener University
Cleveland Marshall College of Law
Penn State Dickinson School of Law
University of Buffalo
Willamette University
Ohio Northern University
Catholic University of Washington. D.C.
Boston College

Future newsletters will contain more details about the careers of other Penn State Behrend political science alumni.


Monday, October 3, is Explore H&SS Night on the lower level of the Kochel Center from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Faculty members from the various Humanities and Social Sciences programs will be present to answer questions. There will be free pizza, doughnuts, cider, and games, with live music from BVZ Radio. Stop by to see Dr. Gamble and Dr. Sackeyfio at the political science table.


College Republicans will be meeting on Monday, September 26, at 7:00 p.m., in Burke 101. Present will be local State Senate candidate Dan Laughlin, the western Pennsylvania director for the Trump campaign, a Republican Field Representative, and a Field Representative from the Pat Toomey for U.S. Senate campaign. Free pizza and pop will be available. For more information, contact President Justin Gallagher at [email protected].

College Democrats will be meeting on Monday, September 26, at 8:00 p.m., in Reed 113. The meeting will be followed in the same room by a Debate Watch party with pizza. For more information, contact President Domonic Mathews at [email protected].

The Political Science Society will be meeting on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. in Kochel 055. The group is planning a Political Fair in the Reed Building near Bruno's, tentatively for mid-day on October 6. Advertising should appear on campus soon. For more information, contact President Colleen Lorei at [email protected] or Vice President Gretchen Berry Haislip at [email protected].

Model African Union and Model United Nations are organizing for the year. To get information about either group, contact Dr. Naaborle Sackeyfio at [email protected].


Dr. John Gamble, Distinguished Professor of Political Science & International Law, attended the 77th Biennial Conference of the International Law Association (ILA), 8–11 August 2016, Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. He chairs the ILA’s Interest Group on the Teaching of International Law. He organized a conference session and prepared and delivered a paper: “Teaching International Law Better and to More People: Goals and Prospects.” Dr. Gamble arrived just as results of municipal elections were reported. This was a huge defeat for the African National Congress (the party of Nelson Mandela) although they still received the most votes. The main opposition, the Democratic Alliance, did the best ever. Dr. Gamble reports that South Africa is a superb example of one of the major obstacles to democratic government: can genuine competition between at least two political parties be achieved? Most of Dr. Gamble’s activities relate to his year-long sabbatical leave where he is researching and writing about “The Visualization of International Law.”

Dr. Kilic Kanat, Assistant Professor of Political Science, hosted and moderated A Conversation with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City earlier this month, in an event organized by the SETA Foundation. A photo of the event can be found on the Behrend Political Science Facebook page. Last month, Dr. Kanat moderated a forum hosted by the SETA Foundation in Washington, D.C. about the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016. Dr. Kanat also continues to publish columns for Daily Sabah, an English-language newspaper in Turkey. 

His most recent is titled "American Decline and American Elections," with his other work also found as part of that archive.

Dr. Molly Monahan Lang, Lecturer in Sociology, has co-edited a book, with her husband Brandon Lang, that is titled Contemporary Social Problems in the United States, from Cognella Publishers. The book includes an article authored by Dr. Monahan Lang. The preliminary edition of the book has been released with the first edition scheduled for publication next year.

Dr. Nicole Shoenberger, Assistant Professor of Sociology, published two articles: "'Death Always Seems to be Around Me': Loss Privilege and Loss in Abundance in Contemporary America," and "Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Criminal Justice System." Dr. Nicole Rosen, Lecturer in Sociology, published an article entitled "Understanding Bullying: Insight from a Sociology of Bullying Perspective." 

Dr. Robert Speel published an article titled "Five Key Debate Moments that Altered the Course of a Presidential Race," on the news website The Conversation. Dr. Speel has also been interviewed in the past month for articles about this year's election campaigns in the Erie Times-News and Sunbury Daily Item.


Penn State Behrend Political Science Alumnus Christopher Mong was appointed this month as the Director of Economic and Community Development for the City of Erie. Mong also serves on the Penn State Behrend Political Science Advisory Board.

Among recent alumni, Nicholas Loukides graduated from University of Michigan Law School in May 2016 with a focus in corporate law and has joined a law firm in New York City. Ashley Solo began law school this semester at Michigan State University, while Vedad Tabich began law school this semester at New York University. Lillie Gabreski began graduate school at Cornell University, where Mauricio Cortes continues as a graduate student while working as an intern this semester for the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. Michael Long continues as a graduate student at Cambridge University in England, while Taylor Pokrant continues working toward a Ph.D. at the University of Virginia.


October 11 is the voter registration deadline in Pennsylvania for this November's election. If you do not register to vote by that date, you will not be able to vote in this year's presidential election. Pennsylvania now allows online voter registration at www.votespa.com.


All students and alumni are invited to like the Penn State Behrend political science Facebook page and get updated news and find out about events.