January 28, 2019 Newsletter

     Opportunities and Announcements

     for the Week of January 28, 2019


Today is the last day for adding a course to one’s schedule for spring semester. As students confirm their schedules and commit to their courses, I encourage them to consider undergraduate research opportunities. The Department of Political Science continues to have funding available for undergraduate POSC majors who hope to work with faculty on research projects. The Department is developing a link on the POSC homepage that will provide information about how to connect with faculty who might have a need for research assistance or who might be willing to direct research that a student would like to pursue outside of his or her coursework.

There are several outlets for publication of undergraduate research. The Political Science Honorary Society, Pi Sigma Alpha, offers publication opportunities through the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics; there are several political science undergraduate scholarly journals (see, e.g., here and here). The Lamb Prize, established to honor Berton Lee Lamb and Phyllis Jeanne Schultz Lamb, recognizes excellent political science writing at the undergraduate level. Senior capstone work might be especially appropriate for publication and for submission for the Lamb Prize. I encourage our students to investigate these opportunities outside our department.

Senior Capstone Projects. For many senior Political Science majors, this is the time to continue discussions with your academic advisor and relevant POSC professors concerning POSC 396 Senior Capstone Projects. The final add date for POSC 396 is today, Friday, January 25. POSC 396 enrollment requires permission of the instructor, and capstone directors are listed in SIS as individual faculty for each POSC 396 course.

Letters of Recommendation.  At this time of year, students are applying to law school and graduate, for internships and fellowships, and for employment; some students will be considering transferring to other institutions. In all these instances, letters of recommendation are generally required. Here are some suggestions for students seeking letters of recommendation from faculty in the Department of Political Science.

  • Students should think about the purpose of the specific letter they are requesting and who, among the faculty, might be the most appropriate person to write that specific letter.  Generally, the best person will be one’s academic advisor or a faculty member with whom the student has had one or more courses and where the student has been successful in the course.  Many recommendation forms require the referee (the person writing the letter) to explain how, and how well, he or she knows the student.
  • Requests that a faculty member write a letter of recommendation should be made in person, face-to-face, rather than as an email message.  A discussion about a letter of recommendation can be very helpful to the faculty member who agrees to write the letter.  It helps a faculty member to understand how to craft the letter and how best to leverage the student’s strengths for a positive (and ultimately helpful) letter.
  • Faculty members are free to decline requests to write letters of recommendation.  We do not decline on the basis of disinterest, but primarily on the basis that, as individuals, we may not be the most appropriate person to write the letter.  A tepid or under-informed letter of recommendation is not helpful.  A face-to-face discussion with a faculty member will help to clarify who might be a better alternative referee for a student seeking a letter of recommendation.
  • Faculty members are busy persons.  Beyond our regular teaching responsibilities, we have papers and exams to grade, other letters of recommendation to write, manuscripts to review for journals and presses, meetings to attend, reports to write, articles to submit or to revise for resubmission to scholarly journals – all of these tasks (and more) are routine, perpetual, and have serious deadlines.  So:  students should anticipate well in advance the need for a letter of recommendation and the deadline for such letters.  Provide our faculty with at least two weeks’ notice of the need for a letter.  This is not only a professional courtesy; it increases the likelihood that the faculty member will be able to write a letter of recommendation and will be willing to do so.
  • As a condition of writing a letter of recommendation, some faculty ask for substantial information about each application for which a student is requesting a letter.  This information may include 1) the student’s application (or personal) statement, 2) the requirements of the position or school, 3) a copy of the student’s résumé, and 4) the student’s unofficial transcript.  This kind of information supports faculty members in writing the strongest possible letter of recommendation.  The strongest letters are those that “sing in harmony” with the student’s application (for a job, for admission to graduate or law school, for an internship).  General “all-purpose” letters of recommendation are, generally, not helpful, and certainly not as powerful as the kind of carefully crafted, targeted letters that our faculty can write when we have full information well in advance of a deadline.   Providing such information to a faculty member from whom a student is requesting a letter of recommendation is also, again, a professional courtesy.

Two final points.  
Let the referee know the outcome.  Students should be sure to let those who have written letters of recommendation for them what the outcome of the letters were. If a student had won the scholarship, or was turned down by a law school, or was accepted by the Peace Corps, the student should share the information with the referee.  

Thank the referee.  Students should always thank the faculty members who have supported them by writing letters of recommendation for them. A simple written note of thanks, or a face-to-face conversation will suffice. Although students may wish to express their gratitude to a faculty member by a token gift, it is my personal preference that students not do so (although I understand the impetus of generosity that a student might feel).

Wellman Hill Public Service Internships Competition.  Please note the deadline for submitting an application for this year’s Wellman Hill grants: candidates must submit a hard copy of their application to Professor Karen Beckwith by Friday, February 8, 2019 by 5:00 pm. Information about the Wellman Hill grants can be found on the POSC webpage.


Karen Beckwith
Flora Stone Mather Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science

General Announcements

  • The Constitutional Discussion Club invites you to join in our biweekly meetings to discuss our chosen topic, voting rights, and assist in planning our annual forum. The next meeting will be Tuesday, February 5th at 7 pm in Clark Hall Room 210, contact David McGrath or Amanda Spangler for more information if interested.

Friday Lunch: The Problem of Philanthropy in an Age of Rising Inequality
January 25, 12:30-1:30pm, KSL Dampeer Room
Old issues of power, purpose and control are made even more familiar as government’s ability to lift up less fortunate citizens is weakened by conservative politics. What is new, what is old, what is to be done? Join us as Professor Hammack, one of the nation’s leading historians of the nonprofit sector, shares his questions and perspectives.

THIRTY: Exploring Artistically the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Exhibit Opening and Reception
January 25, 4:30-6pm Kelvin Smith Library
The students of Facing History New Tech High School worked with artist Jason Labovitz to create this powerful collection of digital compositions exploring the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Free and open to the public. RSVP to socialjustice@case.edu.

Draw the Circle Wide: Celebrating Transgender and Gender Expansive Students in Music Learning Environments
January 29, 11:30-12:45, Crawford Hall Room A13
A critical conversation about creating equal access to ethically and pedagogically sound education for trans and gender expansive students with Matthew Garrett, associate professor of music. Bring a lunch; drinks and dessert provided. RSVP to socialjustice@case.edu.

Friday Lunch: Midterm Grades for President Trump
February 1, 12:30-1:30pm, KSL Dampeer Room
Join University of Akron Political Science Professor David Cohen, a leading scholar of White House organization, for a discussion on how successful President Trump has been separate from what we may think of his goals.

Diversity 360 Lunch & Learn: “Intersectionality”
February 1, 12:30-2pm, TVUC Senior Classroom
Join Shemariah Arki, facilitator for the Women of Color Seriesat the CWRU Flora Stone Mather Center for Women & founder of the Ellipsis Institute for Women of Color in the Academy, for a lively discussion on how we can all improve our work/research/service through the application of an intersectional analysis. Event is free. Register here.

Check out our Political Science Events page for additional events happening on and around campus!

Internship and Fellowship Opportunities
Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship
The Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship is a 12-month, full-time, paid opportunity that places fellows in a selected public service agency in Cleveland. Interested students can contact Olivia Ortega (BA POSC ’16 and 2016-17 Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellow) with questions. Applications are due February 4, 2019.
Previously posted opportunities can be found on the department webpage. Please make sure to check regularly as to not miss approaching deadlines!

Summer Opportunities
Ohio Citizen Action
These paid part-time or full-time internships allows students to work with neighborhoods and communities to organize and increase public awareness of local, state and national issues. To apply for an informational interview, call 216-861-5200.
Ohio Citizen Action will be at the CWRU Career Fair on February 11th.

Center for Strategic & International Studies Internships
Paid part-time and full-time internships are offered in the fall, spring, and summer. Applications for available internships are accepted on a rolling basis.

International Economic Development Council Internships
IEDC offers internships in four different categories: economic development technical, public policy, member services, and communications/marketing. Applications for Summer Internships are due February 15. 

National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Summer Internship
This internship program offers undergraduate and graduate students a ten-week professional, academic, and career opportunity internship in the nation’s capital. There is a $25 application fee. Applications are due February 22, 2019. 

Organization of American States
Summer internships are available in Washington, DC and country offices. Applications open January 26 and close February 24, 2019.

Volunteer Opportunities
Cleveland Spring High School Model UN Conference
March 6-7, 8am-2pm both days
The CWRU Model United Nations is hosting their third annual Cleveland Spring High School MUN Conference. Volunteers will mainly be helping with registration and running the conference behind the scenes. No MUN experience is required. Sign up to volunteer here.

Employment Opportunities
Part-time Book Researcher Needed
Susan Page, the Washington Bureau chief of USA TODAY, is hiring a part-time researcher for a biography she is writing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Twelve Books. This job, based in D.C., will involve Internet research and archival research at the Library of Congress and elsewhere. Experience in research, especially archival research, a plus. Flexible work schedule. Pay is $25 an hour. Please contact Susan at spage@usatoday.com.

Funding Opportunities
Ohio Chapter of the American Public Works Association Graduate Scholarship
Individuals who are seeking a Graduate Degree in Civil Engineering or Public Administration (or a closely related degree) are eligible to apply for a $1,000 scholarship for the 2019-2020 school year. Applications are due February 28, 2019.

Apply for a SOURCE-AHSS grant for up to $3500 toward a 10-week summer internship, research experience, or creative endeavor. The application is due Friday, March 8, 2019.

A Little Extra…

  • Professor Kathryn Lavelle was selected to be part of Provost Ben Vincent III’s Thinkers group. Learn more about the Provost’s Think Big initiative and the role of the Thinkers groups here.
  • Listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967 Speech at Glenville High School.
  • Adjunct Professor of Political Science Jonathan Entinweighed in on the Trump Administration’s proposal to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which has been barred by a federal judge and is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court in February. Listen here.


Please note that the Department of Political Science alerts our students to a range of opportunities, including internships, fellowships, and jobs.  We do not endorse or sponsor these, and leave it to the judgment of our students what is most useful and appropriate to them.

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