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of the economy affect voters’ choices. The result of elections reflects not just the attributes of the winner or his or her political party, but the United States society at that moment in time. “It’s a big, complicated country,” says Burden, “And that can be revealed on election day.” Students like Garrett Kurzweil, now a senior, seek Burden out for his expertise and style of teaching. “This is a chance to learn from someone who has devoted his life to this subject,” says Kurzweil, who has taken three of Burden’s courses and is doublemajoring in political science and real estate. Kurzweil plans to go to law school. Burden holds the Lyons Family Chair in Electoral Politics at UW-Madison. The professorship is named for Jeffrey and Susanne Lyons, who are financial and intellectual supporters of the

Elections Research Center. Lyons, who is a member of the board of visitors in the political science department and former president of Charles Schwab’s asset management business, graduated in 1978 from UW-Madison, intending to work on political polling. Life took his career in other directions, but he still describes himself as an “election junkie.”


“The Elections Research Center enables us to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty and graduate students, and to build a brand within the university,” Lyons says. “We want to shine a light on the great research being done.” By establishing a permanent center focused on U.S. elections, the department will maintain its reputation over the long term.

Start by following these UW-Madison political science experts and resources on Twitter::

— Story by Shannon Henry Kleiber

How do you cut through the campaign noise and find voices worth listening to?

Prof. Barry Burden: @BCBurden Prof. Rikhil Bhavnani: @RikhilB Prof. Katherine Cramer: @KathyJCramer Prof. Eleanor Neff Powell: @EllieNeffPowell

THE PASSIONS OF POLITICS The Elections Research Center isn’t the only new contribution to political thought on campus. This fall, Michelle Schwarze becomes the Jack Miller Center Assistant Professor of Political Science, thanks to a gift from the Jack Miller Center, a nonprofit based near Philadelphia that supports student access to American political thought and history. The center has supported other UW-Madison political science programs, including the American Democracy Forum and the Benjamin Franklin Initiative, where Schwarze has been a postdoctoral fellow since 2013. As a political theorist, Schwarze is interested in the history of political thought and focuses on the Scottish Enlightenment and other 18th century

texts, particularly the work of Adam Smith. She is also interested in the motivation for justice and the role of passions in political life.

Prof. Nils Ringe: @NilsRinge UW Political Science: @UWPoliSci Elections Research Center: @ElectionsCenter

Schwarze says the gift will be invaluable to the next steps in her career. “It provides me the time and support to develop my first book manuscript; to integrate my research into my courses and develop dynamic and engaging ways to reach both undergraduate and graduate students; and the opportunity to benefit from continuing conversations with visiting speakers to the American Democracy Forum on issues central to the principles and practice of American Democracy.”


L&S Annual Review, 2015-16  

The Annual Review for the College of Letters & Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

L&S Annual Review, 2015-16  

The Annual Review for the College of Letters & Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.