Political Science and Criminal Justice

The Department Turns 50

In the fall of 2017, the department marked its 50th anniversary since receiving official department status in 1967. Alumni, past and present faculty, and current students gathered on October 7th to celebrate. The day began with a department history panel, featuring Edward Bronson, Jim Gregg, Rick Ostrom, Charles Price, Irv Schiffman, and Michelle Shover. After the panel, friends of the department gathered at the newly renovated Warrens Reception center (previously “the President’s Mansion”) to enjoy a lunch on a beautiful sunny and warm fall day.

If you were not able to make the event, please check out the video of the Department History Panel(opens in new window) available at this link, as well as the speech presented by Professor Allen, and pictures of the event below.

Speech at Department Anniversary Celebration by Mahalley Allen (current Department Chair)

Today the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice celebrates a milestone in its history. Thanks to all of you for joining us today to help celebrate our department’s excellent 50 year history.

I thought it might be fun to recount the evolution of our department.

In 1960, Political Science became a minor in the Division of Social Sciences.

The next year, in 1961, Political Science became a major in the Division of Social Sciences, offering courses like POLS 55 American Government, Comparative Government, Constitutional Law, and Introduction to Public Administration.

In 1967, Political Science became its own academic department in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, offering a Bachelor of Arts and a minor in Political Science.

Jim Gregg was the first department chair and there were nine additional faculty members at that time, including Royce Delmatier, Chuck Price, and Don Gerth. Jim, Don, and Chuck are all with us here today. The department was very busy for the next several decades adding degree programs, courses, and faculty members.

In 1968, Professor Rick Ostrom joined the faculty. Rick is here with us today. Since Rick joined the faculty and took over our Model UN program, the Model UN team has become one of the world’s most award-winning teams, first under the direction of Rick and now expertly led by John Crosby.

Also in 1968, the department added the BA degree in Public Administration, as well as the Master of Arts in Political Science.

The following year, in 1969, professors Ed Bronson, Bob Ross, Michele Shover, and George Wright joined the department. Ed and Michele are all here with us today. We also added the Master of Public Administration program in 1969.

The following year, in 1970, the department added the BA in International Relations, and Ed Bronson established our Community Legal Information Center. CLIC has been providing legal information to students and North State community members now for 47 years.

In 1971, a Pre-Law pattern of study was added to the catalog, along with the hiring of professors Bob Jackson and Irv Schiffman. Bob and Irv are here with us today.

By 1973, Job Ebeling was also an assistant professor and had become the coordinator of the public administration program. Jon is here today.

We added the paralegal certificate to our department in 1977. By 1983, Paul Persons had joined the department, followed soon after by both Teddy DeLorenzo and Dane Cameron and then a few years after that by Bob Stanley, all of them teaching in the area of legal studies. Teddy, Dane, and Bob are all here with us today and still teaching. This is the last year of Dane’s early retirement program, and we have Bob and Teddy for a few more years. 

Criminal Justice joined our family in 1989, starting first as a minor and as an option in the public administration program. The next significant change happened in 1995 when the BA in Political Science split into two options: the option in general political science and the option in legal studies. In 2003, we added the BA in Criminal Justice, which today has grown into our largest major. The university’s Town Hall Meeting program moved to our department in 2009.

And, finally, in spring 2016, we changed our name to better reflect our department’s present-day focus and breadth. Today, the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is home to five undergraduate majors, two graduate programs, a certificate program, many high impact educational practices, 24 tenure-line faculty members, 20 lecturer faculty members, and three staff members. Our tenure-line faculty are now 62% female and we have over 1,000 students majoring in our programs. We’ve had ten department chairs leading us over the past 50 years: Jim Gregg, Royce Delmatier, Michele Shover, Irv Schiffman, Bob Ross, Byron Jackson, Diana Dwyre Charley Turner, Ryan Patten, and now myself.

We have grown into one of the largest departments ~ and dare I say, the best department ~ on campus. Our faculty members continue to promote academic excellence in our own innovative research and the education of our students. Our department’s work has added to the rich fabric of this campus and the North State and beyond. 

So, in conclusion, a big congratulations to all of us for our 50 years of excellence! Please enjoy our food, music, and each other’s company.

A reminder that a tour of the Community Legal Information Center will be leaving from here at 2 pm if you are interested in seeing CLIC’s current home.

Thank you again for joining our celebration today. 

50th Anniversary Cake Photo

guess siting at the 50th Anniversary

faculty member looking at photos

staff chatting at the ceremony

guess by the presidents mansion

Pols faculty panel

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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