Category Archives: Faculty

Professor Chris Vasillopulos publishes a novel on Colonial North America

Last month Professor Chris Vasillopulos published his novel “Heirs to Freedom”. This novel depicts the tribulations of a family in South Carolina in the decades that preceded the American Revolution. His ink, loaded with prose on political constants such as justice, equality and freedom, provides a creative insight in the mindset of representative actors of the period, with emphasis on the values that lead to the emancipation of this emerging nation. The landscape is filled with many of the challenges of that historical period in North America, such as issues of race relations, generational strife, slavery and religion. Additional information can be found at the publisher site, Dog Ear Publishing and the book is also available on Amazon.com.

Professor Vasillopulos holding a copy of his new publication

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Pizza and Politics – Does voting matters?

Does Voting Matter?

A discussion with Professors Chris Vasillopulos and Bill Salka

Student Debate

Moderator: Quanece Williams

Yes your vote matters!     Lauren Grenier, Dale Thompson, Cam Wilcox

No it doesn’t…   Sarah Howard, Lindsay Spitz, Pam Leizon


Pizza and Politics Night
Tuesday 10/21/14
at 6:30 p.m.
Webb Hall 358

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ECSU Communication Professor Cesar Beltran brings students to Poland and Hungary to learn on the Holocaust

As part of a Global Field course, Communication Professor Cesar Beltran, who also collaborates regularly to the activities of the Department of Political Science, took several students to Poland and Hungary last May. “History, the Media and the Holocaust” served as the overriding theme for an intense two-week Global Field Course (GFC) to Poland and Hungary, May 15-30, 2014. Given the political and military crises unfolding in neighboring Ukraine at the time, the sub-theme “The Nazi Aftermath in Central Europe” also served as a focus for fact-filled meetings and discussions for the eight students participating in the GFC. Six of those students were from our own Eastern Connecticut State University (the trip organizer), one was from the University of Connecticut, and one from Yale University. Professor Beltran led the GFC, assisted by a Program Coordinator provided by the academic travel contractor CISabroad.

Global Field Course participants at Szabadsag Ter (Freedom Square) Fountain, in front of an unfinished and controversial Holocaust memorial located near the U.S. Embassy.

            In Poland the trip participants were able to tour scenes of the Warsaw Ghetto and Old Town, both of which were completely destroyed in inner city fighting during World War II, as well as the historic Polish Royal Capital of Krakow, which successfully avoided serious wartime damage. Krakow also served as a base for excursions to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and ancient Jagiellonian University. In both Polish cities and in Hungary’s capital of Budapest the GFC travelers met with noted European academics, European student peers, U.S. Embassy officials, and recognized experts on the Holocaust and Judaic Studies.

            In a 12-page trip report one student summed up her GFC experience this way:

“Although I came on this trip to learn about the Holocaust, history, media and the Nazi aftermath, I learned much more. I was finally able to experience cultures other than my own, and I was able to use my information and knowledge bank collected over the years (the most recent from Eastern) to good use on the trip.” 

Click here for a photo montage of the trip.

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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivers a message of international responsibility at ECSU

Former Secretary Madeleine Albright and Professor Mendoza-Botelho during the Q&A

Last March former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited ECSU as part of the Arts and Lecture series. During her talk ““Economy and Security in the 21st Century” she emphasized the pivotal role that the U.S. plays in an always changing global political scenario. As the first female Secretary of State in the US, and at that time the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government, she also commented on the many challenges that she faced as woman diplomat in a global political world still dominated by men. One of her powerful arguments was related to the importance of continuing building democratic institutions around the globe and the respect for international norms. In the Q&A section that followed moderated by Professor Mendoza-Botelho, former Secretary Albright provided a unique insight to the world of high politics, splashed by anecdotes of her interaction with global figures such as Nelson Mandela, Henry Kissinger and Sadam Hussein during her tenure as Secretary of State. At the end of the event Ms. Albright  received a gift on behalf of ECSU from the hands of honor student Erin Drouin (Class of 2016).

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Political Science on the Road

By Nicole Krassas

On April 2nd, while waiting to board a plane to Chicago to attend the Annual Meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), I ran into a former student, Bruce Desmarais ’05, now on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Bruce was also traveling to the APSA with two of his graduate students to present work on the communication patterns of local governments that has been funded by the National Science Foundation.  On Thursday, the 3rd, my co-author from SUNY Brockport, Dena Levy, delivered our paper on spending and school performance to an enthusiastic audience ready to talk about the implications of school choice policies.  This paper was also co-authored with Erin Daily ’14, who unfortunately could not attend the conference as she is completing student teaching this semester to begin her career as an elementary school teacher after graduation.  The conference was well attended by more than 5000 people from the U.S. and around the world and had numerous excellent panels on pretty much every area of political science.  The other Eastern connection at the conference was Brian DiSarro ’01 who is now a faculty member at California State University, Sacramento.  Brian was at the conference presenting work on the implications of using the court case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, to teach key concepts in law and judicial process.  It was great to see two such successful graduates, to recharge my creative juices and to catch up with recent advances in the fields I teach and do research in.

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Professor William Newell retires soon

By Hope Fitz

Professor William Newell is leaving us for a new phase of his life. We will miss him but we wish him well in his future endeavors and the many books which he plans to write.

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Upcoming talk with UConn Professor Luis van Isschot on the evolution of Human Rights using the case of Oil in Colombia

3-4pm, Monday, April 14, 2014
Faculty Lounge, Room 358 Webb Hall
Refreshments will be provided


Luis van Isschot is Assistant Professor of History and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. For more than a decade he worked internationally supporting human rights advocates in Latin America and elsewhere, mainly with the NGO Peace Brigades International. Dr. Isschot’s research seeks to explain the emergence of human rights as a new paradigm of social protest during the Cold War. In 2008 he was full-time Coordinator of the Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations oral history project. His current book project, The Social Origins of Human Rights: Protesting Political Violence in Colombia’s Oil Capital, 1919-2010, examines why, how, and with what impact, people living in conflcit areas organize collectively to assert human rights. Established by Standard Oil in 1919, the oil enclave of Barrancabermeja has long been a critical battleground in Colombia’s armed conflict. Drawing on interviews, as well as social movement and legal archives, he situates the experiences of frontline activists within broader debates on the history of the international movement for human rights.

For more details contact Dr. Roland Clark (clarkrol@easternct.edu) or Dr. Bradley C. Davis (davisbrad@easternct.edu).

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Pizza and Politics Night – ECSU Professor of Communication and former U.S. diplomat César Beltrán talks on the legacy of Madeleine Albright

 By César Beltrán

During the course of our separate careers Madeleine Albright and I have often crossed paths. My first encounter with her was in the mid-1980s, when I was serving as the U.S. Information Agency Desk Officer for Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I had just completed a tumultuous three-year tour in Krakow, Poland, witnessed the rise and fall of the Solidarnosc trade union movement, and received an unprecedented two promotions in the Foreign Service, thanks to what I had just experienced and reported on in Central Europe. At this time, Professor Albright was carrying out research on Solidarnosc, pestering me for a speaker’s grant (AmPart Program) to get into Central Europe, and tutoring two political aspirants, Bill and Hillary Clinton, in matters of international relations at her Georgetown home. For her efforts, Madeleine Albright subsequently would be named by President Clinton as Ambassador to the United Nations and then as Secretary of State, a position she held from 1997 to 2001. Overall, Madeleine Albright’s approach to foreign policy—while not perfect—was well-informed, clearly intelligent, and based on a deep and wide understanding of politics and history, particularly in Europe.

Cesar D. Beltran
Career Counselor (Retired)
Senior Foreign Service
U.S. State Department

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Professor Hope Fitz heads to Romania for a philosophical discussion on Human Knowledge

Hope Fitz will  deliver a paper at the 10th Congress of the International Society of Universal Dialogue, ISUD, in Craiova, Romania, July 4-9, 2014.  The theme of the Congress is “The Human Being: Its Nature and Functions”.  This is a theme that focuses on the human as a species. Hope wrote the theme.  The paper which she will present is entitled: “Human Knowledge from a Human Perspective”.  This paper focuses on the fact that the philosophical belief that humans could have certain knowledge of reality has lost its credence over the centuries.  Also she will argue that what one must consider in seeking understanding, which is necessary for knowledge, are the means to knowledge and the methods of knowing. She will trace the line of means and methods from the Greeks through Kant, and then consider Martin Heidegger’s objection to all mind-dependent theories which he said started with Aristotle and culminated in the philosophy of Kant. Finally, Hope will adumbrate the post deconstructionist thought of Michele Foucault, and introduce the epistemology of discourse.

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Debate on the Merits of ObamaCare – Pizza and Politics Night

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