Loyola University Chicago

Department of Political Science


Meet our newest Professor Eric Hansen

Eric Hansen, pictured here with some of the students from his fall 2017 “State Politics” class (PLSC 389), is an Assistant Professor of Political Science. He specializes in American politics, with a focus on issues of representation, class, and diversity. Much of his work examines state-level government and institutions. Professor Hansen’s work has appeared in the American Political Science Review and the Journal of Politics. Professor Hansen joined the Department of Political Science in fall 2017 after completing his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He teaches courses on American politics, state government, and political institutions. ​


Meet Our Newest Professor Tofigh Maboudi

Meet our newest professor tofigh maboudi

Tofigh Maboudi, pictured here with students from his Middle East politics class, is an Assistant Professor of Political Science with a joint appointment in the Global and International Studies program. He specializes in comparative politics, with a focus on democratization, social movements, comparative constitution-making processes, and citizen participation in transitional states. His regional area of specialization is the Middle East, having conducted fieldwork in Iran, Morocco, and Tunisia. Professor Maboudi’s work has appeared in The American Political Science Review and Political Research Quarterly. He is the co-author of a forthcoming (2017) book with Cambridge University Press, entitled Constituents before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of Constitutions, which examines constitutional reform processes around the world and their impact on democratization since 1974. Professor Maboudi joined the Department of Political Science in fall 2016 after completing his Ph.D. in Political Science at American University. He teaches courses on Middle East politics, authoritarianism, and international studies. 

Meet Our Newest Professor: Olivier Henripin

Meet Our Newest Professor: Olivier Henripin

Olivier Henripin is the Helen Houlahan Rigali Endowed Assistant Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago. He specializes in international relations, with a special focus on China’s foreign relations and international security issues. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Professor Henripin joined Loyola’s Department of Political Science in fall 2015 after completing his Ph.D. at Northwestern University. He is teaching courses this semester on Chinese foreign relations and the globalization of international relations.

Professor Henripin’s current book project, entitled Manufacturing Homelands, examines the strategic social construction of indivisibility in territorial disputes and the conditions under which indivisibility fosters dispute intractability or facilitates peaceful dispute resolution.  His broader research interests include game-theoretic methods and the strategic linkages between domestic politics and international bargaining and conflict.  Prior to joining Loyola, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University (2013–15) and a visiting scholar in the Department of Diplomacy and Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan (2010–1).

Political Science alumna receives prestigious Ronna Jaffe Award


Loyola alumna Mara Naselli recently won the 2014 Ronna Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. The former graduate student is one of six recipients of the prestigious national literary award, which includes a $30,000 grant.

The Ronna Jaffe Foundation supports emerging women writers. Founded in 1995 by best-selling author Rona Jaffe, the organization recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.  As the only national literary award program exclusively for women, they has given out over $2 million in grants intended to help female writers cover travel, child care, and others costs to complete their writing.

Naselli graduated from Loyola in 1999 with a Masters in Political Science. She has been an editor for almost 20 years, and her work has been featured in numerous publications. Her most recent project, Bodies in Motion, is a collection of essays exploring power and its inversions.

Naselli’s nomination spoke to her exceptional writing abilities: “Mara wire-walks between divergent roles—philosopher, critic, journalist—and in having aspired to specialty in none of these she distills the best of each and becomes, in the end, a unique form of authority, capable of roaming freely between a dispassionate intelligence capable of concise analysis, and a passionate subjective presence reminding us at every turn that what matters in the end is what art and writing make us feel.”

Naselli will use the grant to help her finish this project and begin new ones, including another collection of essays and a biography of writer William Maxwell.

Lifetime Loyolans

Lane and Ward Story

Marty Lane (BS '65) and Bob Ward (BS '65), both celebrating their 50th reunion and induction into Loyola's Half-Century Club, stroll through Chicago's Jane M. Byrne Plaza (formerly known as Historic Water Tower Park), along Michigan Avenue.

Marty Lane (BS ’65) and Bob Ward (BS ’65) both worked at Loyola University Chicago, were classmates in college, and are celebrating their 50th reunion this year. In the interview below, they reflect on their time at Loyola as students, staff members, and alumni.

Tell us about yourselves, where you’re from, and how you came to be at Loyola.

Marty: I’m from Chicago, from St. Gertrude Parish, at Granville and Broadway. My major was political science, which I loved. I grew up in a political family—my father was a Democratic Org committee member under the first Mayor Daley. I was on the Lake Shore Campus, and Bob was at the Water Tower Campus, so I really didn’t know him in college.

Bob: I grew up on the South Side of Chicago around 79th and Halsted. I was also a political science major, and my family was politically active. When I first came to Loyola, it took me a while to find myself. But as time went on, I got active in a few things, my grades improved, and I met my wife, Jean, in the Marquette Center in my last semester. We call that “just in the nick of time.”

You two didn’t have classes together?

Bob: One that we know of—Western European Governments.

What did you do after graduation?

Marty: I went through Army ROTC, so I had an obligation of two years. I was a lieutenant, so I spent a year in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968. I was very lucky and blessed with that experience, where God was good to me and saved me. Two out of my class of 20 were killed. I came back and thought of how much I enjoyed Loyola. Fr. Baumhart was becoming the president, and he hired me for credit and collection. That led to the development office then to the director of Alumni Relations in 1971.

Bob: I went to law school at Northwestern, graduated in 1968, and practiced law for 26 years. I joined Loyola as a gift officer in 1996 and spent 10 years here. I eventually became director of Gift Planning and was director of Alumni Relations for a period of time. I moved on to do some other things, and then I came back in 2013 as alumni ambassador until retiring in June 2015.

Marty, why did you choose to spend your career at Loyola?

Marty: My undergraduate experience was so positive, I just wanted to come back here. I enjoyed the people, the work, and talking with alumni. My daughter Melissa went to school at Loyola and earned two higher degrees in psychology here. I liked Fr. Baumhart a lot, and he was the president for 23 years. We’re still friends now; he’s 91.

Do you have a favorite Loyola memory?

Marty: One of my favorite Loyola memories was in 1977, when I worked on the 25-year reunion. We made a major effort to get Bob Newhart to come back, and he did. I was the point person with him, on the phone with him, coordinating with him. What a happy experience it was for my wife, Carol, to meet Bob Newhart and his wife. They couldn’t have been nicer to us.

Bob: I remember how much fun we had going to the old Chicago Stadium to watch Loyola play basketball. My friends and I from Loyola and old friends from the South Side would go to all those games. We were in awe of the city of Chicago. We thought it was the biggest, greatest, and most powerful place on the face of the earth.

What do you do in your free time?

Marty: Quite a bit of the time is babysitting our grandchildren. On Thursdays, we go to the local Y in Irving Park where they have free swim. I’m also pretty active with my church, St. Edward, on the Northwest Side.

Bob: We bought a house on a small parcel of land up in Wisconsin a couple of years ago, and we spend a lot of time up there now. I try to read, and I write some, including about Loyola. I’m a lifelong and passionate basketball fan. I have a very strong appreciation of what Loyola has meant in our lives and what I think Loyola has meant to the city of Chicago.



This article appeared in Loyola Magazine. Read the entire issue →

Faculty Highlights: John Allen Williams receives Morris Janowitz Career Achievement Award

Faculty Highlights: John Allen Williams receives Morris Janowitz Career Achievement Award

When entering professor John (“Jay”) Williams’s office, one encounters memorabilia, both serious and humorous, that reflects his nuanced experience with teaching, research, and hands-on experience in the field of political science for the past 30 years. But these visual icons also reflect on the deeper level of work and scholarship dedication to the study of foreign policy, especially military studies: Williams is often in the thick of issues, controversies, and solutions. As Loyola's resident expert in this area, in the fall of 2013, he was awarded the distinguished Morris Janowitz Career Achievement Award by the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society (IUS).  Named after Morris Janowitz, one of the founders of military sociology and the contemporary study of civil-military relations, this award underscores Williams’s teaching and professional contributions to the study of U.S. national security and civil-military relations. Williams is the immediate past chair and president of the IUS, and is on the Board of Directors of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library located in Chicago. Williams is a retired Captain in the U.S.  Navy Reserve, with 30 years of commissioned service. For more information on his career, please visit his Faculty Profile webpage. We congratulate Professor Williams on this distinguished and well-deserved career award.

Graduate Student Investigates Disappearances in Turkey

Grad Student Jessica Mecellem

Graduate Student Jessica Mecellem in front of the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey

Jessica Mecellem’s research has taken her all the way from Loyola to Turkey. The political science graduate student is conducting her Ph.D. dissertation research abroad to investigate mass human rights violations in the country and the mechanisms to prosecute government officials who commit them.

Her research focuses on a string of “enforced disappearances” that took place in Turkey during the 1990s, which saw countless individuals abducted and sometimes killed by current and former military officials. The government is currently trying military officials accused of these crimes. Mecellem is interviewing relatives of the disappeared, human rights workers in the area, and the legal professionals working with them to evaluate the methods that are being used to prosecute officials.

“I hope that my research can help to speak to whether the emphasis on legal methods of justice within the literature is in line with the needs of relatives of the disappeared,” she said.

Mecellem said she has been interested in the Middle East since high school and knew she wanted to carry out her field research in the region. According to her, her interest in social justice and human rights research began with her senior thesis on the court case Boumediene vs. Bush, a trial in which foreigners had been abducted by the C.I.A for possible links to terrorism.

“The idea of these men just being picked up and not heard from again really struck me and that was the first time I learned about what is considered enforced disappearance,” Mecellem said. “Since then I've learned about how it is actually a practice in many countries. I was drawn to learn more about it and ultimately hope that my research can help by introducing more people to the reality of this terrible crime.”

Mecellem has been in Turkey for three months and will return to the U.S. in February. She says she would like to return to the country in the future, as her current research has introduced her to new issues in Turkey and surrounding countries that she could pursue.

Mecellem worked with her dissertation chair, Dr. Gunes Murat Tezcur, to file grant applications and obtain funding for her research.

“The other members of my committee, Dr. Peter Schraeder, Dr. Alexandru Grigorescu and Dr. Kathleen Adams, have also each provided invaluable advice and guidance throughout the process and have really supported my research idea from the beginning,” she said.

Professor Molly Melin Goes Beyond Lectures to Engage and Intrigue Students

Molly Melin Award

Political Science Professor Molly Melin does more than just lecture. From board games to Facebook groups, she’s finding new and creative ways to engage her students in politics and international relations.  In fact, Dr. Melin has recently been awarded with the Provost’s Award for Teaching Freshmen. The award seeks to highlight instructors who teach 100 level classes and demonstrate a high level of commitment to building community among freshmen students.

As a professor, Dr. Melin says she aims to create a dynamic learning environment for students in the classroom. “While lectures enable the dissemination of information to many students at once, they create passivity among students and exceed their ability to focus,” she said. Even faced with large class sizes, Dr. Melin encourages class participation and uses varying methods of teaching and testing techniques.

She also knows how to think outside of the box to more fully engage her students in the subject matter. One activity she uses is Diplomacy, a strategy based board game set in pre WWI Europe. Students in her classes also get the opportunity to join a class Facebook group to share current events and relevant articles, which she hopes will help “more reserved students” voice their opinions and encourage active thinking.

In addition to creating a dynamic classroom, Dr. Melin has also taken great steps to make academic research more appealing to freshmen students. Seeing no dividing line between research and teaching, she integrates political science research into her classes by discussing research journals, grants, and some of her current projects with her students. She also encourages students to go beyond the classroom by offering extra credit for students who attend research talks on campus. “A good teacher should demystify the process of social research,” she said, “showing that social science is not a collection of hard facts but rather is alive with puzzles and new areas of research.”

For sophomore Aaron Macchietto, Dr. Melin’s creative approach to teaching has made all the difference. As a freshman last year, Macchietto took Dr. Melin’s PLSC 102 class – International Relations in an Age of Globalization. His fondest memory was a group presentation at the end of the semester that allowed him and his classmates to step into the shoes of policymakers.

“She had us present strategies to negotiate a hostage situation,” he said. “It really forced us to apply our textbook knowledge in a real world situation.”

In fact, Macchietto found himself so interested in the world of government and diplomatic officials that he soon decided to become a political science major. He says Dr. Melin’s class played a huge role in his decision.

Macchietto is only one of the many students Melin has shown great cura personalis – care of the whole person – towards. She regularly mentors graduate and undergraduate students, giving them both academic and professional advice. She has remained in contact with many of her former students who have since graduated.

“As a faculty member, it is often easy to allow students to drift in and out of our classroom with very little personal connection,” Dr. Melin said. “I strive to make that personal connection, as students are only likely to gain passion for the materials we teach if we exude passion for both the material and our students.”

Political Science Student Brings Women Together for Change


Aubrey Dvorak is igniting change on campus by putting women’s issues in the spotlight. The political science student started The Women’s Project at Loyola this semester as a way of uniting women to discuss and create solutions to pressing social issues.

The Women’s Project just finished its first semester, in which 12 members held weekly 2 hour meetings to discuss different topics such as women in politics or religion, or social issues such as the street harassment of women. Dvorak and fellow founders Nicole Klepke and Taylor Tefft served as “scholars” who facilitated the conversation.

But while the first semester of the project was based on discussion, the second semester will give members a chance to apply what they’ve learned by creating initiatives.

This semester, the group is running the We for She Campaign, which seeks to dispel myths about feminism and encourage all students to join the movement.

According to Dvorak, the group will also distribute “Cards against Harassment.”  The cards are part of a viral trend in which women give street harassers business cards explaining why harassment is wrong.

“They’ve given a lot of women the courage to stand up to street harassment,” Dvorak said of the cards.

Dvorak began brainstorming the idea for the organization last spring with Klepke and Tefft.  The three were inspired by the LUC Men’s Project, an initiative from the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs that seeks to bring men together to redefine masculinity.

“There were really no strong women’s organizations at the time,” Dvorak said. “We wanted to bring women together in a similar way as the Men’s Project did.”

The group is sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies program and consists of 12 members chosen from applications. Dvorak said the application process was enacted to ensure the group had a consistent membership, and a cohesive “community of change.”

“Our main focus was to find women with enthusiasm for the task at hand; we ended up with a very diverse group of people,” Dvorak said, adding that the women chosen were well informed and brought interesting perspectives, coming from a variety of majors and ethnic backgrounds.

Dvorak herself has the unique experience of having visited Tunisia this previous summer as part of a summer course with political science professor Peter Schraeder.

“It was an enlightening experience,” Dvorak said. “It was so interesting talking to intelligent Tunisian women who chosen to wear hijabs. It helped me figure out my own view of Middle Eastern women and spread it to others.”