MARCH 2014 POLITICAL SCIENCE NEWSLETTER
PENN STATE ERIE, THE BEHREND COLLEGE
THIS MONTH'S HEADLINES:
The annual political science dinner will be held at The Olive Garden on Peach Street on Thursday, May 1, at 6:30 PM. Graduating political science majors are the guests of honor, but all are invited to attend, and all political science faculty members should be there as well. Friends and significant others are also welcome. We use the regular menu, and people pay for their own meals. Dressing up is not necessary. To attend, RSVP to Dr. Speel no later than Tuesday, April 29.
John Gamble Jr., Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Law at Penn State Behrend, and Martin Trethewey, Arthur L. Glenn Professor of Engineering Education in the College of Engineering at University Park, are recipients of the 2014 Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching at Penn State University.
The award recognizes excellence in teaching and student support among tenured faculty who have been employed full time for at least five years with undergraduate teaching as a major portion of their duties. Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served as president of Penn State from 1950 to 1956.
Although Dr. Gamble has taught political science at Behrend since 1976, one nominator said, “Dr. Gamble’s classes evolve each semester. His limitless curiosity and dedication to improvement make this possible.” A student described the professor’s approach as “outside the traditional ‘teaching’ box,” an approach that “is inspiring, stimulates debate, and always produces a further learning opportunity.”
As director of honors programs at Behrend, Dr. Gamble is in charge of recruiting students and arranging honors sections and supplementary programming; last fall, the campus had 36 Schreyer Scholars and 400 in the Behrend Honors Program.
Due to a donation from Penn State Behrend political science alumna Barbara Welton, an Erie attorney who serves on the Political Science Advisory Board, and due to funds donated by the Black School of Business for business majors, spaces and grant assistance remain available for more students to take the North American Politics course in Toronto between May 18 - June 14, 2014.
The course takes place on the Ryerson University campus in downtown Toronto, where students share a classroom with Canadian students and compare politics and policies of Canada and the United States and discuss Canadian-American relations.
Details about this Penn State study abroad course were sent in previous political science newsletters and are also available on brochures in the Kochel Center stairwell. Application forms are available at the H&SS School Office or at the Learning Resource Center in Lilley Library. Students can also email Dr. Speel for more information.
Judge Guy Reschenthaler presides over District Court 5-2-16 in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Reschenthaler attended The Behrend College where he received the Most Outstanding First Year Student Award in 2002 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science in 2004. In 2007, Reschenthaler graduated from Duquesne University School of Law and immediately entered service in the US Navy JAG Corps. As a naval officer, Reschenthaler deployed to Baghdad, Iraq where he prosecuted nearly 100 terrorists and insurgents, receiving 92 convictions. In 2010, Reschenthaler defended a Navy SEAL falsely accused of abusing an Iraqi terrorist. His efforts throughout the jury trial led to a full acquittal for his client and are memorialized in Honor & Betrayal, a book by best-selling author Patrick Robinson. In his last naval assignment, Reschenthaler served as Officer-in-Charge of the Texas-Oklahoma Area of Operations. After overseeing scores of military defense cases and litigating numerous trials to verdict, the South Texas Federal Bar Association awarded him the Michael Taylor Shelby Award for Ethics, Dedication and Professionalism in the practice of law. In the spring of 2012, Reschenthaler returned to his hometown to enter private practice. Reschenthaler exclusively practices real estate law, where he represents land developers and home investors.
Brief biographies of other current Political Science Advisory Board members can be found here:
The Advisory Board will be meeting in April at Logan House to discuss future events and ideas for the political science program.
Along with the introductory courses of PL SC 001 (American National Government), PL SC 003 (Comparative Politics), PL SC 014 (International Relations), and PL SC 017W (Political Theory), the following PL SC courses will be taught at Penn State Behrend during the Fall 2014 semester.
PL SC 007 GS - Contemporary Political Ideologies: All the political -isms in one course. Why leftists think Reagan was a fascist, reactionaries think Obama is a socialist, communists think liberalism is too conservative, why Leninism isn't the real Marxism, why religious fundamentalists think liberalism is godless communism, nationalists think everyone else is just inferior, and multiculturalism wishes it could use the word "scientism" and make it stick. All are welcome. This course has no prerequisites. PL SC 007 will be taught by Dr. Celise Schneider-Rickrode.
PL SC 130 GS US - American Political Campaigns and Elections: With a focus on this year's elections, this course will look at the American electoral system, the electoral college, controversies in past elections, voting methods, influences on voting behavior, and campaign advertising strategies. It is recommended that students have taken PL SC 001 before taking PL SC 130. PL SC 130 will be taught by Dr. Robert Speel.
PL SC 431 - Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Political Theories: Come to this class and find out why 1) it's Socrates' fault you have to take gen ed courses, 2) why nobody dresses up like monks at the Medieval Faire, and 3) why Machiavelli would not have given multiple choice tests. Togas optional. Prerequisite: PL SC 007 or PL SC 017. PL SC 431 will be taught by Dr. Celise Schneider-Rickrode.
PL SC 439 - The Politics of Terrorism: This upper level course examines the persistence of terrorism as a catalyst and a substitute for other forms of political change. The course places particular emphasis on the origins of recent terrorist activity, its scope and means of expression, and the moral claims of its adherents. While affirming the absolute evil of terrorist violence against victims, the course seeks to ask why many people condone terrorism against governments and innocent citizens. The course distinguishes modern terrorist movements from other forms of mass political violence such as war, genocide and similar crimes against humanity. Examples of terrorist movements to be considered will include 19th century movements, such as the Serbian “Black Hand” and violent anarchism; modern religiously motivated movements, such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban; and also those ethnically rooted such as the Irish Republican Army(IRA) and Basque separatism (ETA). We will also consider the political significance of what constitutes defining “terrorism ” in the context of its political goals. Prerequisite: PL SC 014 or permission of instructor. This class will be taught by Dr. Zachary Irwin.
PL SC 472 - The American Legal Process: Students will be exposed to our nation's bifurcated court system, including a thorough look at both the Pennsylvania court system as well as our federal court system. This would encompass analysis of the minor judiciary through courts of original jurisdiction, and of course, appellate review. Students will be taught important legal terminology including the meaning of jurisdiction, burdens of proof, stare decisis, etc.. Exploration of our adversarial system will cover areas in both civil and criminal law and important differences between these two areas of law. Civil law subjects of torts and contracts will be explained. By contrast, a study of criminal law and the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments will be undertaken. Understanding the differences between the two areas of law, the differing presumptions, standards of proof, consequences and so on will be imperative. Fundamental Constitutional principles embraced by our founders and carried on today will be studied, including a review of our Bill of Rights. Areas of family law and juvenile delinquency and dependency may also be considered. Students will be expected to leave the course with awareness of differences between civil and criminal law, why our system of justice, although not perfect, works, and to be able to articulate and be familiar with legal terms and concepts associated with our American Legal Process. Prerequisite: PL SC 001. PL SC 472 will be taught by Judge John Trucilla of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Trucilla, who has served in his position since 2002, is a former Erie County Assistant District Attorney, and during the 1990s, he served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania in the US Department of Justice.
PL SC 489 - Public Administration: This is an ideal course for students who wish to learn more about the management of government agencies or are seeking a career in public service. Some of the administrative decision case studies that will be discussed in the course involve a 50-year coal mine fire in Pennsylvania, the decision to go to war in Iraq, the space shuttle Columbia disaster, and a Philadelphia mayor dropping a bomb in a residential neighborhood. Prerequisite: PL SC 001. PL SC 489 will be taught by Sheila Sterrett. Ms. Sterrett is the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Manager for US Senator Pat Toomey. She is the former Director of Government Affairs for the Northwest Pennsylvania Manufacturer and Business Association, and is a former legislative assistant for Pennsylvania State Representative Karl Boyes.
Remember that the former Behrend political science minor has now been re-named as Politics and Government. When enrolling in a minor on ELion, be sure to find the Behrend Politics and Government (POGO) minor instead of the University Park-based political science (PL SC) minor. All Penn State minors can now be completed university-wide, but the University Park PL SC minor requires that students complete classes from a list of courses approved by the UP political science department, and students will need to contact the University Park department to find out what courses are on the list. The Politics and Government minor can be completed with courses available at Behrend.
And because the Politics and Government minor can be completed university-wide, Behrend students who transfer to University Park after two years are still eligible to complete the Behrend POGO minor at the University Park campus. The POGO minor requires that students complete PL SC 001, PL SC 003, and 12 additional credits of PL SC courses, including 6 credits at the 400-level.
Two Behrend political science professors presented papers or participated in panels at the International Studies Association annual convention held in Toronto this past weekend.
Dr. John Gamble chaired a panel titled "International Law and Security" and chaired and participated in discussions at a roundtable titled "IGOs: Systemizing Our Approach for the 21st Century." Penn State Behrend Political Science Major Mauricio Cortes also served as a participant at the IGO roundtable.
Dr. Kilic Kanat presented a paper at the ISA, titled "Foreign Policy of the Justice and Development Party in Perspective: Understanding Evolution of JDP Foreign Policy in the Past Ten Years," for a panel titled "Ethnicity, Immigration, and Citizenship in Turkish Politics."
Dr. Kanat also co-edited a recently published book, titled Change and Adaptation in Turkish Foreign Policy, which can be found on Amazon.com. He has published two articles, one titled "Theorizing the Transformation of Turkish Foreign Policy" in Insight Turkey, and one titled "Diversionary Foreign Policy in Authoritarian States: The Use of Multiple Diversionary Strategies by Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War" in the Journal of Strategic Security, and found here: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1293&context=jss
In addition, Dr. Kanat has co-authored two reports for the SETA Foundation about "Turkish Foreign Policy in 2013" and "Turkey's Local Elections," and he participated in two SETA-organized panels, one about "Turkish-Japanese Perspectives on Energy, Security and Development in the Middle East and Africa" in Ankara, co-organized by The Sasakawa Peace Foundation, and one about "Syrian Diplomacy: Can Diplomacy Succeed?" in Washington, DC, which can be seen here: http://setadc.org/syrian-crisis-can-diplomacy-succeed/events/2249.
Dr. Kanat has begun to write a column twice a week for Daily Sabah, an English-language newspaper in Turkey. The columns are available here: http://www.dailysabah.com/columns/kilic-bugra-kanat/archive.
Dr. Zachary Irwin has published a book chapter titled “Bosnia-Herzegovina and the European Union,” in Bosnia-Herzegovina Since Dayton: Civic and Uncivic Values, edited by Ola Listhaug and Sabrina P. Ramet, published by Longo Editore (Ravenna, Italy).
All three student political groups are in the process of choosing new leaders for next academic year. If you are interested, contact one of the club presidents below, or contact Dr. Speel.
Behrend College Democrats hosted a successful Pennsylvania College Democrats Western Regional Conference on campus earlier this month. A local news clip from the conference can be found here:
For more information about College Democrats, contact President Lillie Gabreski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
College Republicans are planning an informal sporting competition with the Political Science Society for April. The College Republicans will also be producing t-shirts in April. The group will meet on Wednesday, April 2, at 6 PM in the back of Bruno's to elect officers for next year. For details, contact President Taylor Pokrant at email@example.com.
The Political Science Society recently co-sponsored a law school dinner at Logan House with 2004 alumnus Guy Reschenthaler, who is now a district judge in the Pittsburgh area. Students discussed preparation for law school, applications, and LSATs with Judge Reschenthaler. PSS meets on Wednesdays at 5 PM and is currently looking for new officers for next year. For details, contact president Ryan Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org.