Political Science and Criminal Justice


BSS Dean Eddie Vela and Professor Ellie Ertle

Ellie Ertle, a long-time lecturer in Political Science, won both the BSS and University Outstanding Lecturer awards this fall.  In announcing the BSS recognition, BSS Dean Eddie Vela wrote the following:

“It is my privilege to announce that Ellie Ertle has been selected by her peers as the 2016 – 2017 BSS Outstanding Lecturer!  Please join me in congratulating Ellie for this well-deserved recognition!  Some brief highlights of Ellie’s career at CSU, Chico:

1.      An alumna of POLS at CSU, Chico and has been teaching in POLS since 1999;

2.      Two peer-reviewed publications;

3.      Co-developed four new courses, including two new U-courses;

4.      A member of the First-Year Experience Task Force, and

5.      The Faculty Coordinator for the nationally recognized Town Hall Meeting.

One of Ellie’s student employees, Jess Candela, wrote of her, “A phenomenal mentor, Ellie taught me the basics of the Office of Civic Engagement and then allowed me to create and grow my own program: voter registration and education. I can say with confidence that she is an integral part of why I have thrived at Chico State.  In short, she is one of my heroes.  I look up to her immensely.”

Political Science Professor Diana Dwyre, a former professor of Ellie’s, spoke glowingly of her colleague. Diana wrote, “Ellie is an outstanding teacher as shown not only by her excellent student evaluations and extremely positive peer reviews, but also by the many pedagogical innovations she has introduced into her teaching . . . Ellie has made civic engagement a priority on our campus with her innovative and visionary leadership of programs such as the U-Course and Town Hall Meeting . . . She is a true leader, but unlike many who lead, she is also a great team member.”

Ellie was surprised with the awards in two of her classes by Dean Vela, President Hutchinson, and several POLS and CJ faculty members. She was also officially recognized at the BSS Faculty Colloquium on Monday, November 28. Congratulations, Ellie! The department is very fortunate to have you as a member.

 Professor Ellie Ertle

President Gayle Hutchinson and Professor Matt Thomas

Matt Thomas also received a university award for Outstanding Service. President Hutchinson and POLS/CJ faculty members surprised Matt with the award in his class on November 28. In her announcement of this recognition, President Hutchinson highlighted just a few of Matt’s contributions to the university, including his leadership on the Campus Climate Survey, the organization of the campus moonlight safety walks, and his enormous service to the department. In speaking of Matt’s departmental service, department chair, Mahalley Allen wrote, “As you are all aware, Matt’s service to our department, college, university, and community is extraordinary. He has made my life as department chair demonstrably better, and I know we can all agree he is an awesome colleague who we are so lucky to have in our department.” 

In February of 2016, Professor Lori Weber and co-authors Zach Justus and Millie Mattor published an article regarding the Great Debate program at Chico State. The article, “Student Voice in a Campus Civic Engagement Program: A Description and Assessment”(opens in new window) appears in Communication Teacher.  

This summer, Professor Adam Irish and former graduate students, Georgia Nilsson, Lucas Alward, Jaydeep Bhatia, and Sean Stephens, authored an essay regarding the panel presented last spring on the Refugee Crisis. The essay, “Collaborating with Graduate Students to Enhance Civic Engagement: Lessons from Organizing an Interdisciplinary Panel Discussion” appears in Political Science Educator,the Newsletter of APSA’s Political Science Education Section. 

Not surprisingly, our faculty have been busy commenting on the campaign and election this fall. In September, Professor Diana Dwyre re-appeared on Morning Edition to discuss the role of big donor contributions to the field operations of presidential candidates. Listen to the full story(opens in new window). After the election,  Professor Andy Potter  was featured in a Chico Enterprise-Record article(opens in new window), exploring the implications of a potential repeal of Obamacare in Butte County.

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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