Renee Van Vechten

Assoc Professor, Government

Degrees: Ph.D. Political Science, University of California, Irvine, 2002; M.A. Political Science, University of California, Irvine, 1996; Graduate Work, San Diego State University (1991-93); B.A., Political Science, cum laude, Honors University of San Diego, 1991.

Office: Political Science, Hall of Letters #316

Office Hours: Mon, Weds 1-2pm, some Thursdays

Phone: 909/748-8601



Current Research

  • The scholarship of teaching
  • California Politics and the politics of reform, with special emphasis on term limits
  • Legislative processes, including “gatekeeping” measures that party leaders take to control the flow of legislation

Professional Background

Renée Van Vechten (Ph.D., UCI) teaches California Politics and courses in American institutions. In 2008 she received two awards: the Rowman and Littlefield Award for Innovative Teaching in Political Science for a simulation she developed to teach Congressional processes, and the U of R Innovative Teaching award. She is author of California Politics: A Primer (CQ Press, 2010), based on a more comprehensive, forthcoming textbook (The Logic of California Politics (CQ Press, 2010). She has also developed a collaborative website for students of American Politics, designed to virtually extend classrooms for the purposes of exploring and discussing political concepts and issues, a project that has yielded conference papers for the American Political Science’s Teaching and Learning Conference. Prior to joining the faculty in 2003 she held the position of teaching fellow at USD, and before that was a Kevin Starr Fellow in California Studies. She is the founding faculty advisor for the campus’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national Political Science honor society, and in 2009 was a nominee for Mortar Board Professor of the Year.

Courses Offered at Redlands

  • Introduction to American Politics
  • California Politics (regular and travel course)
  • Research Methods (Study of Politics)
  • U.S. Congress
  • Environmental Politics
  • Parties & Elections
  • American Presidency
  • Politics & Art (First Year Seminar and May Term travel course)

Previous Teaching Experience

  • Lecturer, University of California, Irvine (2005)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, University of San Diego, Department of Political Science (Sept. 2003-May 2004)
  • Lecturer, University of San Diego, Department of Political Science (2000, 2004, 2005)
  • Director/Instructor, Public Affairs Internship Program, University of California, Irvine, Department of Political Science (1996-2000)
  • Teaching Assistant, University of California, Irvine, School of Social Sciences (1993-1999)
  • Instructor, Freshman Studies Program, San Diego State University (1992)

Professional Experience

  • Research Assistant / Consultant: Consultant to State Attorney General Daniel Lungren in the matter of California Democratic Party v. California. Project Director: Professor Mark P. Petracca (1995)
  • Interviewer, Telephone Survey Research Project: Project Director: Professor Richard Hofstetter, San Diego State University (1992)

Awards, Honors and Grants

  • Rowman & Littlefield Innovative Award for Innovative Teaching in Political Science, awarded through the American Political Science Association, 2008
  • Most Innovative Teaching Award, May 2008, University of Redlands
  • Nominee, Mortar Board Professor of the Year 2009 (U of R)
  • Internal Research Grant, University of Redlands (2006-07, 2007-08)
  • Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of San Diego, 2003-2004
  • Kevin Starr Fellow in California Studies, 2002-2003, Postdoctoral Fellow in Residence, Humanities Research Institute, University of California.
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, UCI School of Social Sciences, May 2000

Publications, Presentations and Panels

California Politics: A Primer (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press 2010)

The Logic of California Politics. Co-author: Mark Petracca (CQ Press: Projected publication date: 2010)

“Core Curriculum and General Education: 2009 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Track Summary.” Co-authors: Miguel Centellas, Jonathan Eastvold, Tyson King-Meadows. PS: Political Science & Politics, Vol. 42, No. 3 (July 2009): pp. 575-587

“From MySpace to Our Space: Collaborative Websites for Teaching Political Science.” Co-presented with Wendy Johnston. APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, Baltimore, MD (February 2009).

“What do you expect? How experience matters (or doesn't) in the making of an American President.” Election Series Featured Lecture, University of Redlands, October 27, 2008.

“Collaborative Learning in a Course Simulation: Congress and American Politics.” APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, San Jose, CA (February 2008).

“Primed for the Primaries.” Workshop on the Presidential Primary Elections, University of Redlands (January 2008).

“Term Limits.” In Social Issues: An Encyclopedia of Controversies, History, and Debates, Ed. James Ciment (M.E. Sharpe, Publisher), March 2006.

“What’s So Special About the Special Election?” University of Redlands ,Workshop for Alumni & Parents, Homecoming Weekend (Nov. 2005).

“Campaign Finance in Municipal Elections: Evidence from Three Cities.” Co-authored with Brian Adams, PhD. Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (September 2004).

“The Problem of Last-Term Shirking.” Life With Term Limits Conference, in conjunction with State Politics and Policy Conference, Akron, Ohio (April 2004).

“Keeping Lame Duck Legislators in Line: Shirking, Accountability, and Reputation.” Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association, Denver, CO (March 2003).

“When Push Comes to Shove: Competition Between Partisans in Term-Limited State Legislatures.” Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA (August 2001).

“The Psychological Foundations of Identity Politics: A Review of the Literature. ”Co-authors: Kristin Monroe, James Hankin. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 3, June 2000.

“Amateurs or Professionals? California Legislators in a Term-Limited Era.” Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association, San Jose, CA (March 2000).

Professional Affiliations

  • Pi Sigma Alpha
  • American Political Science Association
  • Western Political Science Association

Renée Bukovchik Van Vechten is the Faculty Advisor for Pi Sigma Alpha (a Political Science honors society).


The Sustainable University of Redlands Farm (SURF) is a natural farm in its beginning stages, but already grows and sells fresh vegetables to Bon Appetit, the food management company on campus.

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