Political Science Department


Choosing an academic advisor and building a relationship with them is an important and essential component of your successful university experience.

When choosing your advisor, you should consider the fields you are interested in studying and working, as well as any common professional interests you may share. Good choices often include professors you have enjoyed and experienced success with in previous semesters and professors with teaching and research interests that are similar to yours.

Below you will find a brief biography for each of the Department of Political Science’s faculty members. Read through them and contact those you feel may share your interests to arrange an appointment and begin your advising relationship.

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Faculty Research and Background

David R. Elkins - PSC Advisor is Associate Professor of Political Science at Cleveland State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. His research interests include public policy in urban communities, urban economic development, conflicts and coalition building, taxation policy. He has taught American Government, Intro to Data Analysis, while supervising various administrative and international relations internships in the Political Science Department.

Charles Hersch - Pre-Law Advisor (Department Chair and Professor) received his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, in 1987 and has taught at Cleveland State since 1991.  His interests include political theory, focusing on a political analysis of the arts, and public law, with an emphasis on American constitutional theory. In addition to articles on political theory and public law, he has written two books: Democratic Artworks: Politics and the Arts from Trilling to Dylan (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998) and Subversive Sounds: Race and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

Jeffrey Lewis - IR Advisor is a Professor of Political Science at Cleveland State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and was an undergraduate at Bradley University. His main areas of research interest are European politics and international relations, with a specialization in the European Union. While conducting his dissertation research he lived in Florence, Italy and Cologne, Germany but mostly spent his time in Brussels, Belgium conducting interviews with EU officials. His teaching covers courses on Europe, International Relations, and International Political Economy.

Joel Lieske's - PSC Advisor research has appeared in all of the leading journals in political science and has addressed an intellectually broad and challenging agenda. His papers and publications range from research on contending theories of civil violence and the causes of the 1960s and 1970s black urban riots, to some of the statistical and methodological pitfalls of analyzing aggregate and individual-level data, to evaluations of U. S. employment and training programs and the development of national labor policies, to the factors and political dynamics that condition urban voting behavior, to studies of urban recovery and metropolitan differences in the quality of life, to the development of research methodologies to measure differences in American political culture and subculture and assess their impact on the performance of state and sub-state governments.

Lately, Dr. Lieske's research interests have come to focus on the racial-ethnic and religious forces that shape American voting behavior and the factors that condition ethnic conflicts in nation states and the American states. He began his career as a comparative American scholar with special teaching and research interests in urban and state politics and political methodology. But now his interests have also come to include broader national and international issues of ethnic-racial diversity, social identity, ethnic competition, social inequality, and political conflict. He has also moved beyond simple class-based and pluralist theories of human behavior to embrace broader historical-cultural, evolutionary, and bio-political perspectives.  His latest article, "The Changing Regional Subcultures of the American States and the Utility of a New Cultural Measure," is scheduled for publication in Political Research Quarterly.
His primary fields of expertise include:  American political culture, American federalism, public opinion and voting behavior, political parties and interest groups, American government and politics, public policy, state and local government, political methodology, urban politics, and political violence.

Dr. Qingshan Tan - IR & Asian Studies Advisor is a Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of Asian Studies Program at Cleveland State University. Tan is senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute of National University of Singapore and adjunct professor and guest research fellow of Southwestern University of Politics and Law, Zhejiang University, Huazhong Normal University, and Beijing Foreign Studies University. He served as adviser on the Carter Center China Project on China's village elections from 1996-1998. Dr. Tan received his Ph. D. from Emory University in 1989, M.A. from Beijing Institute of International Relations in 1984, B. A. From Beijing University of Foreign Studies in 1982.

Tan's teaching and research areas include comparative politics, international relations, political economy of Asian development, Chinese and East Asian politics, Sino-US relations, developmental studies, and democratic transition.

Tan has published more than 30 academic articles in English and Chinese. He is the author of two books entitled The Making of US-China Policy: From Normalization to the Post-Cold War Era (1992); Village Elections in China: Democratizing the Countryside (2006).

Tan appeared on local, national, and international media programs, such as Reuters, Voice of America, BBC, Christian Science Monitor, Strait Times, Channel News Asia , NewMedia Corp. Singapore, Lianhe Zaobao, South China Morning Post , China Daily, Beijing TV, Nanchang TV, China Today, Ming Bao, Plain Dealer, ABC Channel 5, WVIZ/PBS,  as contributor or speaker to discuss various issues concerning US-China relations, Cross-Strait relations, Taiwan political development, Chinese political economy, village elections, China's local-state relations, and East Asian securities.   

Neda A. Zawahri - IR Advisor & MAGI Program Director is a Associate Professor of Political Science at Cleveland State University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Her interests include conflict and cooperation between adversaries, international institutions, environmental security, the political economy of developing nations, Middle East politics, and South Asian politics with focus on India and Pakistan. She has taught International Politics, Politics in the Middle East, Political Economy in the Middle East and North Africa, and US Foreign Policy.