May 8, 2017 Newsletter

With classes concluded and final coursework and exams under way, the Department of Political Science has much to celebrate already.  We can end the semester and the academic year with good news and more to anticipate in 2017-18.
Congratulations to the Wellman Hill Public Service Internship winners.  The Wellman Hill Public Service Internship Grant Program is concluding its tenth year as the signature program of the Department.  This year’s committee, chaired by Professor Elliot Posner, awarded five internship grants to the following POSC majors:

  • Kirsten Costedio, interning with the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus (CCPC);
  • Koko Etokebe, who will intern in the Office of the Maryland Attorney General, Mediation Unit;
  • Kelsey Holmberg, who will work in Congressman Tim Walberg’s 7th District Office in Jackson, Michigan;
  • Liana Kabins, who will be an intern at the United Nations High Commission on Refugees Representation in Malaysia; and
  • Jacob Sandstrom, interning with the Chautauqua County District Attorney, New York.

In addition, Wellman Hill Finalist Hannah Pommerantz has pursued her interest in public service and will intern in New Zealand this summer with the New Zealand Labour Party, funded by the Baker Nord Center through Humanities@Work and the Career Center.
In addition to Chair Elliot Posner, members of the Wellman Hill Committee are Professors Karen Beckwith and Kelly McMann, Professor Yuri Linetsky (School of Law, University of Alabama), and Andrew Lucker, Associate Director of the Center for Policy Studies and Adjunct Assistant Professor, CWRU.  On behalf of the Department and of the scores of students who have benefited from the Wellman Hill Program, I thank our generous benefactor Elizabeth Hill (POSC BA, MA, 1997) for creating this opportunity for our students.  For her support for our Department and the College of Arts and Science, Ms. Hill was awarded the Distinguished Service Alumna Prize in 2015.  Ms. Hill continues her own public service commitments as a Superior Court Judge in San Mateo, California.  You can learn more about Ms. Hill here, and about the Wellman Hill Public Service Internship Program here.
Congratulations to senior POSC major Jacob Shields, who has been named the University Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week.  Jacob “earned his school-record setting 24th-career victory during the Spartans’ win over John Carroll.  He pitched seven innings in the game, allowing two earned runs and three total on six hits and two walks, while striking out five batters….  This marked the second time this season that Shields has been named the UAA Pitcher of the Week, and the third time over his career.”
Welcome to Professor Juscelino Colares.  Professor Colares joins the Department of Political Science as a Secondary Faculty member.  He is the Schott-van den Eynden Professor of Business Law and Associate Director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at the CWRU School of Law, and holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  Professor Colares offers courses in the Law School on international trade law, among others, and is the incoming Chair of the CWRU Faculty Senate.  You can learn more about Professor Colares here
Additional Courses for 2017-2018.  The Department of Political Science is in the process of adding three Visiting Assistant Professors to our program, with the goal of offering additional courses in the Fall 2017 semester.  We are searching for candidates for positions in East Asian politics, in Comparative Politics and/or International Relations, and in US Politics.  Full position descriptions can be found here.  As we succeed in hiring, new courses will be listed in SIS, and the Department will advertise these through special Newsletters throughout the late spring and early summer.  Stay tuned!
For Rising Seniors:  Even as we conclude our collective capstone work this semester, and as all of us are concluding our coursework for the academic year, many students are already anticipating and planning for their capstone work in the 2016-17 academic year.  It’s a good idea to start thinking of senior capstone work now.  The two most important choices a student can make in regard to the capstone project are:  1) selection of the topic, and 2) choosing the capstone director.  These choices are, of course, related:  students will want to choose a capstone supervisor who has interest and expertise in the area of their capstone topic.
I strongly encourage students who are thinking about capstone work next year to talk first with their academic advisor about which semester is appropriate for fitting POSC396 into their schedule and into their academic work.  Capstone work (POSC396) can be undertaken in the fall or spring semesters.  Students who plan on taking the LSAT in the fall semester might, for example, choose to undertake capstone work in the spring semester.  A student returning from a spring semester abroad, excited about the experience and committed to a topic that derives from it, may want to jump straight into capstone work in the fall term.  Talking with one’s academic advisor can be helpful with this decision.
Second, I recommend that students talk to a range of professors in our department as they develop their capstone interests.  Talking with several of us will help students to focus their research interests and to identify the most appropriate and most likely capstone supervisor.  Professors in our department vary in terms of what we expect from our capstone advisees.  All of us expect significant writing, but we vary in terms of how we structure work expectations across the semester.  Some of us require biweekly meetings; others require completion of written work at specific dates. Depending on the capstone topic, some professors will require students to collect and analyze primary data; other professors will accept critical reviews of the scholarly literature.  [For students interested in working with me, for example, please see here.]  In short, within the SAGES requirements for capstone work, professors vary in terms of their direction of capstone work, and it is important that both professor and student agree on the nature and structure of the proposed capstone.
Although our POSC curriculum does not require any particular list of courses or subfield concentrations, the strongest and most successful capstones are likely to have some basis in students’ coursework.  Students’ coursework in POSC, across their undergraduate career, is meaningful and can culminate in a highly successful capstone project.  Conversely, in a single semester, starting a topic de novo, with no prior coursework, is challenging.  Because students should consider with which professor(s) they will be able to do their best work, a good starting point is to reflect on success in courses the student has already taken.  Some professors in our department are reluctant to supervise capstone work for students they have not had in class.  Note that not every professor will be the best supervisor for every student, and not every student will work well with every professor.  Reflections on one’s best course experiences and most successful course performance will help a student identify a good capstone supervisor – and, again, consulting with several POSC professors will help students find the best fit for their capstone work.
Two final points about capstone supervision:  1) students must present a capstone prospectus to their supervising professor (and the student and the professor must agree on  — and sign off on – the prospectus); and 2) POSC professors are limited to directing no more than five capstone projects in a single semester, and hence a preferred supervisor may not be available if he or she has already committed to multiple capstone supervisions.  For further information, see  Thinking in advance about these choices – and discussing them with one’s academic advisor and with a range of professors in the department – will provide the basis for the best capstone, and best capstone experience, possible.  We had the pleasure of seeing those best capstone results presented two weeks ago.


Karen Beckwith, Flora Stone Mather Professor
Chair, Department of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University


General Announcements


  • As you register for fall semester courses, take a look at the Political Science courses offered by our department.
  • Stay up to date with the department by following our Twitter feed! Check it for day to day opportunities and information!
  • Like us on Facebook! Our department will be regularly posting events, opportunities, and general information to our page!



Lom Nava Love
May 6, 1:30-4:30p.m., East Cleveland Public Library
This documentary follows the work of Baltimore-based public housing community organizer Shirley Foulks and the residents of Baltimore, Maryland and East Cleveland, Ohio

Hidden Figures Special Screening
May 7, 4:00p.m., Great Lakes Science Center
This screening of the Oscar-nominated film will feature opening remarks by NASA Glenn’s own Modern Figures, women working in science, technology, engineering and math.

Democracy Day Public Hearing
May 8, 5:00p.m., Cleveland City Hall
The national Move to Amend campaign is pushing for a constitutional amendment that says money is not speech and corporations are not people, to set the table for reform of campaign financing that can’t be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The First 100 Days of President Trump
May 12, 12:00p.m., The City Club
How does President Trump’s first 100 days compare with previous Presidents? What can we distill from his actions in these first 100 days? And can – and should – we judge any President by what is or isn’t accomplished during this time? Join historians, political scientists, and members of the national media in discussing President Trump’s first 100 days in office. Tickets are $35.

Britain, Brexit, and the U.S.
May 16, 5:30-7:15p.m., The Union Club
Ambassador Charles Ries, Vice President, International at the RAND Corporation, will join CCWA to discuss the future and stability of the European Union and the status of the vital transatlantic relationship between the United Kingdom and the U.S. Student tickets are $5. Registration is recommended.

Employment Opportunities


Impact – Community Organizer
This job entails organizing campaigns, canvassing, and educating communities on various political and environmental issues.

Campaign Manager for Cleveland City Council Candidate Daniel Graves
Check out this opportunity to manage a campaign with a young, progressive candidate and through the campaign build a neighborhood movement that will be sustainable after the

PhD/Research Associate with the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) Project in Germany
In close interaction with an international team at multiple sites, the successful candidate will spend 25% of their time pursuing a PhD using the CSES data, either in a comparative Political Science topic or in a methodological, data quality-related topic. The remaining work time is taken up as a member of the CSES Secretariat ( Applications are due May 23.

Internship and Fellowship Opportunities


Cleveland City Council Ward 3 Summer Internship
Ward 3 Cleveland City Councilperson Kerry McCormack is accepting applications for a summer intern. This position is a great opportunity to be a part of the comprehensive work of a Cleveland City Councilperson.

Previously posted opportunities can be found on the department webpage. Please make sure to check regularly as to not miss approaching deadlines!


A Little Extra…


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