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Political Science

Political Science is the study of power and how it is used in all public contexts—to prevent epidemics and refugee crises, to conduct or prevent war, and—for ordinary people—to influence the dozens of decisions that affect their lives.

Political Science Department

Service. The members of our department remain deeply engaged in service to the university and the community. Our involvement in the community includes the following: Kevin Buterbaugh and Patricia Olney both served on the New Haven Equal Opportunity Commission until January 2015. Dr. Buterbaugh delivers periodic “Learning in Retirement” lectures in Stamford. In addition, Prof. Olney serves numerous organizations engaged in support of cancer research. Tess Marchant-Shapiro serves of the Board of Directors of the Hamden Library; and Arthur Paulson serves as Vice Chair of the Milford Historic District # 2 (South of the Green) and is a member of the Democratic Town Committee. Dr. Wharton has been actively engaged in building relationships with the community, particularly involving public leaders from greater New Haven in holding classes at Southern On the Green, much to the benefit of our academic program in particular and the interests of the university in particular. Wharton attends New Haven Board of Alders meetings, Hill South community meetings, and is a member of the New Haven Republican Town Committee. Our academic program is well connected with the community through our internships, coordinated by Dr. Wharton. Dr. Marchant-Shapiro has been engaged in building our graduate program at Southern on the Green and in cooperative relationships to hold classes at the Yale Police Department.  

Achievements of the Department: Curriculum Change and Student Success. The Department of Political Science responded to changing realities through fundamental curriculum revision, both in its undergraduate and graduate programs, while maintaining its tradition of student success.

We introduced curriculum revisions in 2013-2014, in both our undergraduate major and graduate program. The BA and BS major programs in Political Science were both revised significantly, and are now completing their second year. In the next year, we should expect majors in Political Science who began their programs in 2013 to be registering for upper division courses. The new graduate concentration in Public Policy/Urban Affairs is also completing its second year. We are very excited about the prospects for the development of these academic programs over the next few years, particularly their potential not only to increase enrollments, but to serve as a vehicle for building professional relationships across greater New Haven. Dr. Theresa Marchant-Shapiro directs our graduate program.

Dr. Jonathan Wharton is completing his first year on our faculty, and has already proven to be very effective in building connections between our program and the community. Dr. Wharton has also filed a proposal for a new course, PSC 220, Urban Politics, which will serve the LEP.

The Department of Political Science is designing pathways between our undergraduate program and our graduate program, with particular focus on the graduate concentration in urban affairs. Last year, Dr. Marchant-Shapiro, in cooperation with Greg Adams of the Sociology Department, prepared a grant proposal which designs a Liberal Studies major in Law Enforcement. Finally, Dr. Buterbaugh as chair, Dr. Marchant-Shapiro, and Dr. Wharton are starting work to design an interdisciplinary major which would cover American Studies and Leadership Studies. This program has the potential to draw more undergraduate students and at the same time contribute to pathways to our graduate program.

Also with the retirement of Dr. Paulson, we hope to maintain our teaching capacity in law and American Politics by hiring Frank Cannatelli as a special appointment. Mr. Cannatelli, an attorney, has been teaching as an adjunct at Southern for longer than any current member of the department has been in service here. With Jonathan O’Hara on sabbatical in the Fall, Mr. Cannatelli will assume Pre-Law advising responsibilities. He will also replace Kevin Doyle, an adjunct who is now a state Judge, as the coach of our Mock Trial team.

Our internship program, serving both undergraduate and graduate students remains, a cornerstone of our curriculum. Our internship program, which has been operating for more than three decades, serves the state legislature, courts, city and state executive offices and public agencies, research settings, corporations (both profit and non-profit) and the Washington Center. This past year, 20 students served as interns through the Department of Political Science. Dr. Kevin Buterbaugh has directed the internship program since the retirement of David Walsh. Now that Dr. Buterbaugh is becoming chair of the department, Dr. Wharton will be assuming most internships in Connecticut, while Dr. Patricia Olney will be our contact with the Washington Center.

In 2014-2015, we also continued to develop our Mock Trial team, coached by Kevin Doyle, a state’s attorney. The Mock Trial team is assembled through our Pre-Law Society, and offered for credit as an internship. It’s greatest value is not only the academic experience it offers, but also the professional and leadership experience that our students get. Competing at Yale and in tournaments across New England, the team has improved steadily over the past four years. This year, we anticipate adding Frank

Cannatelli, an attorney, to our full time faculty as a special appointment. He will be assuming the coaching duties for the Mock Trial team.

The Pre-Law Society remains our most effective tool for Pre-Law advising. It recruits students, offers Pre-Law professional Pre-Law advice (both from our faculty and from admissions representatives from law schools), sponsors trips to Law School Forums in New York and Boston sponsored by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), and in years when budgets and time permit, sponsors trips to visit law schools in other cities. In the past, we have visited law schools in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. Arthur Paulson was the university Pre-Law Advisor from 1990 until he assumed the chair of the department in 2009. Jonathan O’Hara has been the Pre-Law Advisor since 2009. In 2013-2014, the last cycle for which LSAC data is available, 11 out of 13 seniors and 17 out of 20 total graduates from Southern who applied to law school were admitted. This admission rate of 85 percent compares favorably with a national average of about two-thirds. We encourage each of our students to apply for a variety of law schools, which accounts for much of our success in gaining admission. Over the past couple of years, our students have been admitted, for example, to the University of Connecticut (we are one of their best feeders), Boston University, CUNY Law, Drexel, DePaul, Georgetown, Howard University, University of Miami, University of Kansas, New England Law, Northeastern, Pace, Quinnipiac, Rutgers-Newark, Southern Illinois, Pace, Suffolk University, Western New England, and Roger Williams. See Student Success, below.

The Department of Political Science makes a point of recognizing student success. At each Honors Convocation we give awards to our department valedictorian, as well as to the student who most excelled in each of the fields of study in Political Science, to the student who produces the best capstone paper, and to the student who has rendered the greatest service to the department and university. We also run a chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national Political Science Honor Society, which added ten members this year, bringing its total to 37. Dr. Patricia Olney is the Faculty Advisor to Pi Sigma Alpha. See Student Success, below.

Professional Contributions. Our commitment to our work, well revealed in our students, is evidenced as well in the continuing scholarship produced by the members of the Department of Political Science. This past year, our members continued to produce books, journal articles, chapters in books, and conference papers. In the Fall, Arthur Paulson teamed with Richard Gerber of the History Department to offer a lecture as the main event of the university’s recognition of Constitution Day.

This past fall, Kevin Buterbaugh participated in a campus panel commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, along with Dean Steven Breese, Troy Paddock of History, Cynthia Simoneau of Journalism, Eileen Kane of Connecticut College, and Nicholas Burns, who served in the State Department and on the National Security Council under three Presidents. According to John Iatrides, Professor Emeritus who was the founding father of the Department of Political Science (who ought to know), it was the best panel discussion on Southern’s campus in his time, which traces back a half century. That’s pretty good!

Also, this past fall, the Department of Political Science co-sponsored a panel on the then upcoming Congressional elections. The panel included Jennifer Dineen of the UConn/Hartford Courant poll, Arthur Paulson, then chair of the Department of Political Science, Scott MacLean of Quinnipiac University, and Gary Rose of Sacred Heart. Both of these panels were open to the campus community, and were attended by high school classes from greater New Haven.

Kevin Buterbaugh participated in a panel discussion on the resurgence of Russia as part of the Academy of International Business’ (US Northeast Chapter (AIBNE)) 2015 Annual Symposium focusing on the Middle East and Russia held at Quinnipiac University, April 2, 2015. The symposium included a wide range of scholars representing not only regional institutions but national and international as well. It was very well attended.

Tess Marchant-Shapiro, with the close assistance of Jonathan Wharton, led the way as Southern was the official host of the New England Political Science Association conference in New Haven. The conference was very well attended, featured several excellent panels, and involved Mayor Toni Harp and other New Haven officials. To top it off, Marchant-Shapiro and Wharton hosted a reception at Southern on the Green sponsored by the Dean of Arts & Sciences, which was very well attended and enjoyed by all.

The Political Science faculty remains active in its own research, writing and publication. Tess Marchant-Shapiro has produced two books over the last two years, one a text book on statistics for Political Science, the other a product of her own research on the Presidency. She, Kevin Buterbaugh and Costel Calin have recently had a journal article accepted. Tess Marchant-Shapiro and Sousan Arafeh have submitted an article and are awaiting review results. Patricia Olney has submitted a book on democracy and local politics in Mexico for publication. Arthur Paulson had a chapter in a book on the party system published. Jonathan O’Hara had a journal article on American Republicanism accepted for publication and was awarded a sabbatical for the Fall 2015 semester.

Finally, Tess Marchant-Shapiro has collaborated with Greg Adams of Sociology to help save the university’s membership in the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), a good thing since it is impossible for a self-respecting institution of higher education not to be a member of ICPSR. 

Faculty Bibliography

  • Beginning work on a proposed interdisciplinary major in American Studies and Leadership (Buterbaugh, Marchant-Shapiro, and Wharton, contributors from other departments to be invited).
  • Proposing an IDS major in Law Enforcement (Marchant-Shapiro and Adams of Sociology).
  • Internship program (20 students). See Student Success, below, for list of employers.
  • Hired Costel Calin, tenure track, to teach Comparative Politics. Dr. Calin begins to close the gap created by the retirement of several members in Comparative Politics over the last decade or so. The tenure track opening is created by the retirement of Arthur Paulson, and represents the investment in Comparative Politics that the department has been hoping to make.
  • Selected Frank Cannatelli for a special appointment in American Politics. Mr. Cannatelli will teach courses in American Politics and Constitutional Law previously taught by Dr. Paulson, as well as a course in the American Legal System previously taught by him as an adjunct, and coach the Mock Trial team, previously coached by Kevin Doyle as an adjunct.
  • Pre-Law Program/Pre-Law Society. Jonathan O’Hara, Pre-Law Advisor. Arthur Paulson, Department Chair, registered Pre-Law Advisor with LSAC. See selected list of admissions in Student Success, below.
  • Constitution Day lecture, Arthur Paulson with Richard Gerber (History), “Interpreting the Constitution,” September 24, 2014.
  • Panel discussion on the Berlin Wall. Kevin Buterbaugh with Steven Breese, Troy Paddock, Eileen Kane, Cynthia Simoneau, and Nicholas Burns. November 10, 2014.
  • Panel discussion on the Resurgence of Russia. Kevin Buterbaugh. April 2, 2015

Internships in Political Science: Where Our Students Served

  • Vail Resorts, Colorado
  • Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Public Defender, New Haven
  • Connecticut General Assembly
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), DC office
  • Kowalski Group (Lobbying firm in Hartford)
  • Carswell Law Offices, Bridgeport
  • Law Office of Juda Epstein, Bridgeport (paid)
  • Refugee Resettlement, New Haven
  • Republican House publicity office, Connecticut State Legislature
  • New Haven Department of Economic Development
  • Action for Boston Community Development (hired)
  • Student Research

Honors Theses

Chelsea, Sousa, “A Study Examining the Impact of Gender on the Legal Profession”

Masters Theses

Christopher Anderson, “Shiite Fundamentalism and the Iranian Nuclear Program”

Julie Jones, “Preparing for Greatness”

Conference Papers

Ashley Hartle's , “Green With Envy: How Environmental Friendliness Impacts a State's Roads,” SCSU Undergraduate Research Conference and Creativity Conference, March 28, 2015. (The paper was also reported on by the Hartford Business Journal's Connecticut Green Guide Summer 2015 Edition.)

Josh Pasay and Wharton, Jonathan and Joshua Pasay. 2015. “Baseball’s Rising Star? Assessing Hartford’s Ballpark and Downtown North Project.” Paper presented at the New England Political Science Association conference, New Haven, April 22-23, 2015

Conference Participation

The following students attended the New England Political Science Association Meeting held in New Haven on April 22 and 23, 2015.

Undergraduates: Kathleen Adams, Jasmine Agosta, Jasmine Bolinao, Qualina Cooper, Yvonne Elung, Corey Evans, Andrew Frentress, Abdul Ismail, Chante Lewis, Gabriel Muniz, Steven Oliveira, Jason Riddle, Arzoo Rohbar, Sawda Salami, Iesha Stroud

Graduates: Nick Amendola, Robert Durant, Charles Elbert, Josh Pasay

Student Admissions to Law School and Graduate School

  • Bernardo Falcon, Western New England School of Law
  • Brian Fappiano, University of Kansas School of Law
  • Chelsea Sousa, Suffolk University School of Law