Provost's Lecture Series

Provost's Lecture Series

The campus-wide lecture series have now ended.

 Access presentations and audio recordings of each lecture


The Provost’s Office will host a campus-wide lecture series on pre-and post-presidential election-related topics.  Faculty will give a 30-minute lecture or group panel discussion, followed by a 30-minute opportunity for discussion, on the complexities of how government works and its implications in an area of their scholarly expertise. 

Lectures will be held on Thursdays, from 2:00-3:00 p.m., in Hoffmann Hall and open to PSU students, faculty and staff.

Ways to participate:

  • Attend lectures
  • Encourage students to attend lectures
  • Incorporate lectures into class assignments where relevant


February 23 - Alex Sager: The Trump Presidency and the Ethics of Resistance

  •  2017 US Presidential election is unusual in that it has been accompanied by nation-wide protests for civil disobedience to resist proposed policies and nomination of controversial candidates for cabinet positions. Lecture will address tools for thinking ethically about resistance in this context.

March 2 - Kimberly Pendell: Navigating Information Sources in a Time of Fake News and "Alternative Facts"

  • Lecture will focus on recent examples of fake news, and provide tools for evaluating the credibility of information. Analyzing what we see and hear is vital to a functioning and healthy citizenry in our current climate.

March 9 - Marc Rodriquez: Latinos and the Future of American Politics: Some Reflections from History 

  • Present a discussion on Latino politics in the past 50 years with an emphasis on Latinos and Latinas as an increasingly important "swing" vote population.

March 16 - Randall Bluffstone: When Academics Take Policy Positions

  •  Major political changes are underway in the United States and people are reacting in a variety of ways, including speaking out in a variety of in-person and on-line forums, yet academics may be reluctant to voice opinions even if their views are rooted in strong theory and evidence.

April 6 - James Russell: The Future of Social Security and Medicare in the Age of Trump

  •  This lecture will provide critical background information for understanding the unfolding politics of Social Security and Medicare during the Trump administration.

April 13 - Chia Yin Hsu and Cassio de Oliveira: Russian Involvement in the Elections: Kompromat, Ideology, and the Role of the State

  • The run-up to and aftermath of the election has been marked by accusations of Russian meddling and interference in the electoral process. Our lectures aim to explain the Russian perspective in connection to the U.S. elections.

 April 20 - Jason Jurjevich: Who Votes for Mayor? Voter Turnout for Mayoral Elections in America's Largest Cities

  • Lecture highlights research about younger voters' lack of participation, older residents having more "electoral clout", and certain neighborhoods having dramatically higher turnout than others, yielding an uneven distribution of voting oases and deserts across cities.

Selection committee

An ad-hoc advisory committee assisted with selecting the lectures. Members of the committee were Professor Winston Grady-Willis (School of Gender, Race and Nations), Dean Laura Nissen (School of Social Work), Professor Jose Padin (Sociology), Jose Rojas Fallas (ASPSU), and Professor Jason Podrabsky (Research & Strategic Partnerships).