Political Science and Criminal Justice

Please Meet Our Newest Faculty Member

Jennifer WilkingLast fall, we welcomed our newest tenuretrack faculty member, Jennifer Wilking. Wilking received her PhD in comparative politics from UC Davis in 2010 and had been an instructor in the department for several years. Wilking primarily teaches international relations courses, including a GE course on the Politics of the Developing World, as well as upper division courses on Political Development, the Politics of China, and the Politics of Post-Industrial Society. Between all of these courses, Wilking jokes, “I pretty much have the world covered.” 

Wilking’s interest in comparative politics developed out of her experiences teaching English in rural China as a Wellesley-Yenching teaching fellow. Prior to 2001, the fellows primarily were posted to urban centers in China, but when the director of the program learned Wilking was from Wyoming, he recognized he had found his “guinea pig” to expand the program to rural western China. While in Sichuan Province, Wilking taught English, studied Mandarin and Tibetan, and backpacked around the Chinese countryside—visiting Buddhist monasteries and navigating the occasional yak herd. 

Writing a PhD dissertation at UC Davis provided an ideal opportunity to explore rural Chinese politics in more depth. Wilking’s doctoral research compares the importance individuals place on fair election procedures across the United States and China, using experiments set in the context of village elections in China and city council elections in the United States. Despite the emphasis on outcomes, such as economic growth in China, Wilking has found that respondents across the United States and China value fair election procedures as much or more than outcomes. Wilking is beginning a new research agenda to explore the sources of perceptions of democracy across regime types. Wilking has been published in Political Behavior, Political Research Quarterly, and the Journal of Chinese Political Science. 

Wilking is thoroughly enjoying working at Chico State and taking advantage of all that Northern California has to offer with her family. Wilking is married to a fellow Chico State professor and has two young daughters. When she’s not working, you may find Wilking jogging in Bidwell Park with her large but squeamish black lab or playing at parks or in creeks with her family.

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

With over 1,000 total majors, the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice 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: U.S. politics, 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.

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