Jason Ross Arnold, Ph.D.
Associate professor and chair
Alexandra Reckendorf, Ph.D.
Assistant professor and associate chair
Political science is the systematic study of institutions, behavior and ideas in order to further the understanding and explanation of government and politics at the local, state, national and international levels. The discipline has a rich history that bridges the present with the past and future, is pluralistic in its modes of inquiry and adopts a critical approach that makes use of qualitative and quantitative analytic methods.
VCU’s political science department uses its unique position on an urban campus — located in the state capital and just a short distance from Washington, D.C. — to provide students with transformative learning experiences promoting active and engaged citizenship, both domestically and globally. Faculty integrate their teaching with cutting-edge scholarship that advances the boundaries of the discipline and meaningfully impacts public debate and policy.
The department values diversity of thought and identity, inclusive pedagogy, informal mentorships, active citizenship and the free expression of ideas through innovative scholarship, teaching and community engagement. Faculty are dedicated to developing programs and a curriculum that prepare graduates to be informed and inquisitive citizens who are positioned to make a difference as professionals and lifelong learners.
Faculty members have expertise in a wide range of subjects, including global health, with a particular focus on Russia, Ukraine and other parts of Eurasia; program assessment/evaluation, especially in the areas of human development and public sector management international health; presidential decision-making, East Asian international relations, international security; feminist political theory; women and politics, law, and public policy; the politics of reproductive and genetic technologies; international relations; local economic development in the U.S.; political theory; European politics and history; international political economy; public administration; constitutional law; information technology and politics; foreign influence operations; counterintelligence; A.I. governance; comparative politics; American politics; public opinion and political behavior in the U.S.; democracy and development in Africa; political corruption; non-governmental organizations; global environmental politics; climate change; politics of developing countries; state-building and democratization; public administration; international water rights; comparative public policy; immigration; labor politics; Latin American politics; political representation; legislative behavior; partisan gerrymandering; campaign finance; political communication; political behavior; political leadership; black women in politics; state legislatures; political violence; human rights; women in politics; party system development in transitional states; and domestic politics and international relations of Iran and the former Soviet Union.