Political Scientist Tapped to Head University of Idaho’s Graduate Studies College

Thursday, March 31 2011

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho has appointed political scientist Jie Chen as dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Chen is currently the Louis I. Jaffe Professor of Political Science and department chair at Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.); he also holds the Changjiang Scholar Professorship from the Ministry of Education State Council in the People’s Republic of China. He takes up the Idaho post on June 10.

“Jie Chen’s commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research supports the University of Idaho’s vision to connect academic study to complex world issues,” said M. Duane Nellis, university president. “His work in the international arena, ranging from political and policy analysis to developing relationships with government and non-government organizations is superb. He models global citizenship and civic involvement; inquiry, analysis and discovery; and linking research and academics across disciplines.”

As department chair at Old Dominion, Chen counts among his successes the development of a master of arts degree program in political science; increasing the number of program majors; enhancing faculty research productivity and quality; and improving teaching effectiveness. Prior to serving as department chair, Chen served as director of the graduate program in international studies, a master’s and doctoral degree-granting interdisciplinary program. In that role, he coordinated grant proposal writing and strengthened program’s interdisciplinary ties.

“Jie Chen is a global relationship-builder and skilled administrator,” said Doug Baker, provost and executive vice president. “He has established himself as a cross-disciplinary champion who is supportive of institutional goals, research and teaching needs, and student success. He will enrich the quality of our graduate program.”

“I look forward to leading the College of Graduate Studies to new heights in support of the University of Idaho’s focus on interdisciplinary and global studies,” Chen said. “There are many exciting opportunities, though some challenges, for the growth of graduate studies at the University of Idaho. I feel greatly honored to work with wonderful colleagues across campus, exploring the opportunities and meeting the challenges.”

A native of Beijing, China, Chen also currently holds the Zhiyuan Chair Professor of Public Opinion Studies in the College of International and Public Affairs at Shanghai Jiaotong University. He has been on the political science faculty at Old Dominion since 1997, and has served as department chair since 2006. Prior to Old Dominion, he was assistant professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a visiting assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado-Denver. Chen earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the Institute of International Politics in Beijing; a master of arts degree in international policy studies from the Monterey (Calif.) Institute of International Policy; and a doctorate in political science from Washington State University.

His research focuses on Chinese public opinion, popular political support, democratization, mass political participation, and the role of the middle class and private entrepreneurs in political change. He is the author of five books, including “Popular Political Support in Urban Cities” (Stanford University Press, 2004) and “Allies of the State: Private Entrepreneurs and Democratic Changes in China” (Harvard University Press, 2010). Another book is forthcoming: “Contingent Democratic Supporters: The Middle Class and Prospects for Democratic Change in China” (2011, New York: Oxford University Press).

In addition, Chen’s research and articles have been published in numerous journals and scholarly publications, including the Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Political Research Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly and the China Quarterly. He is a member of the American Political Science Association, the Association of Chinese Political Studies and the Association of Asian Studies.

He is the recipient of several grants, most recently from the National Science Foundation to support survey studies of the middle class and of private entrepreneurs in China. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and a Fulbright scholar.

Chen succeeds interim dean Nilsa Bosque-Perez and previous dean Margrit von Braun who stepped down to focus on international research opportunities.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit www.uidaho.edu.