Meet Our Newest Faculty Members


Darin Haerle

Assistant Professor in Criminal Justice, Dr. Doris Schartmueller

In 2004, Professor Doris Schartmueller received a master’s degree in Political Science with minors in Finnish and Swedish languages at the University of Vienna (Austria). During her studies, she lived in Finland and Sweden for a year each as an exchange student. After graduation, Professor Schartmueller earned a postgraduate degree in Diplomatic Studies at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and worked several years at the Swedish Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna. A lot of work at the embassy went into the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which sparked an interest in criminal justice-related issues in her. In 2009, Professor Schartmueller moved to the United States to pursue a doctoral degree in Political Science with an emphasis in criminal justice policy at Northern Arizona University. While working on her Ph.D., she also earned a master’s degree in Applied Criminology and worked part-time at the campus Family Violence Institute and National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative.

Professor Schartmueller’s primary research interest is long-term imprisonment and parole. Her scholarly emphasis is reflected in her dissertation. Her study titled “Life Imprisonment in Scandinavia” compares and contrasts life sentences, conditions of confinement for life-imprisoned offenders, and lifer release in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. In future research, she wants to focus more in depth on prison release mechanisms for long-term offenders both in Europe and the U.S. context. 

Outside of the academic world, Professor Schartmueller enjoys listening to music, going to concerts, ice hockey and baseball games, traveling, and the outdoors. Being originally from Austria, she is particularly drawn to the mountains and cannot wait to explore the mountainous regions in California.  


Adam Irish photo

Assistant Professor in International Relations, Dr. Adam Irish

Professor Adam Irish earned his B.A. in Political Science at the University of Michigan. After graduation, Professor Irish moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he served for two years as a Teach For America (TFA) teacher.  During his TFA service, Professor Irish developed dual passions for teaching and community service. He carried both passions with him to graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science.  At Illinois, Professor Irish received a number of teaching accolades, culminating in the 2011 Campus Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. He was also the first graduate student ever appointed as a Senior Graduate Affiliate to Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Illinois. In that role, he mentored dozens of graduate student teachers and developed support and training programs still in use today.

Professor Irish arrives at Chico State fresh from two years of teaching as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Wheaton College (MA).  Prior to that fellowship, Professor Irish taught a variety of advanced international law courses at Georgetown University. 

Over the past three years, Professor Irish chaired three undergraduate honors thesis committees and mentored a number of independent research projects. His students have gone on intern at the White House, as well as work for the European Union, the State Department, and the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City. With Professor Irish’s support, one student received a Fulbright Scholarship to extend her thesis research by studying abroad in Panama City, Panama. And much to his delight, Professor Irish’s international law students have published their work in a variety of venues, including the cover story of the Spring 2013 issue of Columbia University Undergraduate Law Review. In the coming years, Professor Irish looks forward to working with the students at Chico State on their research projects.

As an expert in international law, international organizations, and international relations theory, Professor Irish’s research focuses on the obstacles that countries face when trying to cooperate. Professor Irish is a process guy; so he is concerned with the role that government structures and party politics play in the making and use of international laws. His current research examines why states wait to join treaties, especially international maritime agreements. Professor Irish also writes and is actively engaged in pedagogical research on several teaching techniques.

Outside of teaching and research, Professor Irish is known for his Cribbage Challenge – a contest of cribbage games played on Friday afternoons between Professor Irish and his students where the stakes include pizza and everlasting glory! Professor Irish is also an avid trail runner, board gamer, UFC fan, and coffee enthusiast. 


Sarah Smith photo

Visiting Assistant Professor in Criminal Justice, Dr. Sarah Smith

Assistant Professor Sarah M. Smith received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the College of William and Mary and subsequently worked for a research corporation in Rockville, Maryland. Realizing her interests in inequality and the criminal justice system, she returned to school for graduate study in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology at George Washington University. She became intrigued in the possibilities of alternative justice processes through her Master’s study of a restorative justice program in Manassas, Virginia, and decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. There, she completed her dissertation, a study of imprisoned women’s perceptions of justice regarding their interactions with criminal justice processes. This study focused specifically on the internal prison grievance system, the legal avenue prisoners must use to contest their conditions of confinement. Inmates must be denied at all levels of the prison system before bringing a case to court.

Professor Smith is also involved in a collaborative group called the Sociolegal Justice Project, which conducts research on a number of justice-oriented issues. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and traveling, preferring the most scenic or unusual routes.

Political Statements is the official newsletter of the Political Science Department at California State University, Chico.

With around 1,000 total majors, Political Science is one of the largest departments at Chico State. Students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact in each of the following majors of study: general political science, legal studies, criminal justice, international relations, and public administration. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Political Science.

Contact Us
Political Science Department
400 W. 1st Street
Chico, CA 95929-0455
Butte Hall, Room 741
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, CHICO
P: 530-898-5301
F: 530-898-6910
politicalscience@csuchico.edu