Renée Van Vechten

Professor
Department of Political Science

Photo of Renée Van Vechten

Current Research & Area Interests

  • California politics; the politics of reform (focus on term limits)
  • The scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL), including high-impact practices
  • Legislative processes, including "gatekeeping" measures that party leaders take to control the flow of legislation

Education

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 Program, University of San Diego, 1991

For the Media

Contact :
Jennifer Dobbs
909.748.8857 

Contact

Hall of Letters
316
P: 909.748.8601
E: renee_vanvechten@redlands.edu

Renée Bukovchik Van Vechten, Ph.D., specializes in California and legislative politics and teaches courses in U.S. national institutions and public policy. She infuses her courses—such as Cal Politics, U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Presidency—with active learning elements. She the author of California Politics: A Primer, now in its 5th edition (Sage/CQ Press). Current projects involve developing a Food Politics textbook and an edited volume on internships in the discipline. 

Dr. Van Vechten is the recipient of multiple grants and awards for teaching, and is deeply engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning. She organizes teaching and learning events for WPSA and co-convened the first “Teaching & Learning Conference within a Conference” at APSA in 2018. She also serves on the Rogers Smith Presidential Task Force (2018-2020), and is a Council member of APSA, the American Political Science Association (for which she chairs the Teaching & Learning Policy Committee and sits on the Executive Board, 2017-19). She is an executive board member of Pi Sigma Alpha honor society, and frequently contributes to local and national political reports. Click the tabs below for more information.

Courses Offered

Professor Van Vechten specializes in California and legislative politics and teaches courses in U.S. national institutions and public policy. She infuses her courses—including American Politics, Cal Politics, U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Presidency—with active learning elements, such as debates, simulations, and in-class discussions. She revels in taking students to Sacramento during May Term, where they interact with alumni and changemakers, or to Salzburg, Austria where students discover the intersections of politics and art.

She also offers courses that fulfill both Political Science and the Public Policy degree requirements.  

AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS COURSES:

* Introduction to American Politics

* California Politics (regular and travel course; includes travel to Sacramento during May Term)

* U.S. Congress: includes semester-length simulation in which students assume the role of a Congress member and practice committee hearings, caucuses, and floor sessions.

* U.S. Presidency: students form debate teams and deliberate over the constitution of the presidency and its powers (writing intensive)

POLICY COURSES

* The Politics of Reform (seminar course exploring electoral and institutional reforms; independent research project required)

* Environmental Politics & Policy (lower division or seminar course)

* Food Politics & Policy (seminar course in which independent research is required)

* Immigration Politics & Policy (contains a Community Service Learning requirement)

GENERAL INTEREST

* Politics & Art (May Term travel course in Salzburg, Austria)

Experience

Previous Teaching Experience:

Lecturer, University of California, Irvine (2005)

Teaching Fellow/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)

Publications & Conference Papers

California Politics: A Primer, 5th Ed.(Washington, D.C.: SAGE/CQ Press 2019) Fourth Edition, 2017; Third Edition, two printings, 2015; Second Edition, 2011; First Edition, 2009.

Magruder’s American Government, California Edition Contributing Author/California Specialist (6 chapters; Topic 13 on California). Pearson Prentice-Hall (2019).

The Logic of California Politics (SAGE/CQ Press: Projected publication date: 2021).

“Program Learning Outcomes and Curricular Structure,” Co-author: Maureen Feeley. Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C. (August 2019).

“By the Numbers: The Inaugural 2018 TLC at APSA Survey Results, ”Co-author: Alison Rios Millett McCartney, PS: Political Science and Politics, 52(2), 391-395 (2019).

“Teaching and Learning Conference-within-a-Conference Launched at APSA Annual Meeting in Boston," Co-author: Alison Rios Millett McCartney, PS: Political Science and Politics, 52(1), 157058 (2019).

“The What and How of Political Science Internships: Best Practices in the Discipline,” Co-author: Bobbi Gentry, Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, MA (August 2018).

“Learning by Doing: A bill passage simulation for Intro to American Politics students,” The Political Science Educator, Summer/Fall, Vol. 22, Issue 2 (2018).

“Will the next Democratic Candidate for President Come from California?” Newsweek, September 24, 2017, http://www.newsweek.com/will-next-democratic-candidate-come-california-669737; REPRINT of: “How California could be the launching pad for the Democrats, 2020,” London School of Economics U.S. Politics Blog (LSEUSA Blog), September 20, 2017, URL: http://bit.ly/2wwBiAq.

“Learning from Each Other: Dialogical Argumentation in an Online Environment," Co-author: Anita Chadha, International Journal of Learning, Teaching, and Educational Research 16(8) (August 2017): 1-17.

“Integrating Technology Into the Classroom: 2015 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Track Summary," Co-authors: Christine Sylvester, Monti Datta, PS: Political Science & Politics, Vol. 48, No. 3 (July 2015): pp. 507-509.

“Internships Across the Discipline: Community Colleges and Four-Year Colleges and Universities," Co-author: Bobbi Gentry, Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA (August 2017).

“Best Practices in Internships within the Discipline,” Co-authors: Bobbi Gentry, Shamira Gelbman, Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA (August 2015). 

“Scripting in an Online Environment,” Co-author: Tyson King-Meadows, Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA (August 2015).

“Replacing a U.S. Senator Won’t be Simple in the Golden State," London School of Economics U.S. Politics Blog (LSEUSA Blog), February 2, 2015, URL: http://bit.ly/1HKjuB8.

“He Said/She Said: Tracking Gender Differences in Online Academic Discussions,” APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, Long Beach, CA  (February 2013).

“Learning from Each Other: Dialogic Argumentation in an Online Academic Environment,” Co-author: Anita Chadha, Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (August 2013).

“How Students Talk to Each Others: An Academic Social Networking Project” (Chapter 11), Co-author: Anita Chadha, Chapter in Elizabeth Bennion, Alison McCartney, and Dick Simpson, Eds. Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen. American Political Science Association, Washington, D. C. (2013).

“Assessing the Longer-Term Effectiveness of Undergraduate Research Methods Courses,” APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 17-19, 2012; Revised June 11, 2012.

“Civic Engagement II Track: 2011 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Track Summary," Co-author: Elizabeth Bennion, PS: Political Science & Politics, (July 2011).

“How Students Talk to Each Other: Findings from an Academic Social Networking Project," Co-author: Anita Chadha, APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, Albuquerque, NM (February 2011).

“Civic Identity in the Virtual Square: Findings from a Cyber Collaboration,” Co-author: Tyson King-Meadows, APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, Philadelphia, PA  (February 2010).

 “Are causes of California’s budget gridlock structural? An examination of California’s budget rules, political parties, and ideological polarization since 1990.” Co-authors: Greg Thorson, Brien Webster, Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C. (August 2010).

“Budget Rules, Parties, or Polarization? A Test of Competing Explanations for California's Budget Gridlock,” Co-authors: Greg Thorson, Brien Webster, Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA   (April 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 and 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 and 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).

Awards, Honors, Grants

AWARDS, HONORS, & FELLOWSHIPS

Career Faculty Fellow, Inaugural Class, 2019-2020 (University of Redlands)

Nominee, Most Innovative Teaching Award (University of Redlands), 2016

Rowman and Littlefield Innovative Award for Innovative Teaching in Political Science, awarded through the American Political Science Association, 2008

Nominee, Mortar Board Professor of the Year 2009 (U of R)

Most Innovative Teaching Award, May 2008, University of Redlands

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 (UCSD)

 

GRANTS 

Ken and Lynn Hall Public Policy Network Course Development Grant (2017-18)

Instructional Technology Development Grant, “Flipping the American Politics Classroom: Take 2” (2016-17)

Instructional Technology Development Grant, “Flipping the American Politics Classroom” (2015-16)

Public Policy Advisory Board, Course Development Grant (2014)

Internal Research Grant, University of Redlands (2006– 07; 2007– 08)

Internal Research Grant, University of Redlands (2006-07, 2007-08)

Professional Affiliations & Recent Service Activities

  • Faculty Advisor for Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science honors society)
  • Council Member, American Political Science Association (elected August 2016, three-year tenure)
  • Member, President’s Taskforce on New Partnerships (Fall 2017 – Present)
  • Executive Board Member and Chair, APSA Council Teaching and Learning Committee (August 2016 – August 2019)
  • Convener, Workshop Series on Professional Development & Instruction, Western Political Science Association, San Diego, CA (March 2019)
  • Executive Council Member, Pi Sigma Alpha (elected August 2018)
  • Member, APSA President’s Ad Hoc Committee on Technology (August 2015 – August 2017)
  • Committee Chair, Best Paper Presented about State Politics and Policy in 2018 (March 2019)
  • Co-Chair, Inaugural Teaching and Learning Conference at APSA (Boston, Sept. 1, 2018)
  • Past President (Board Member Ex Officio), Political Science Education (Sept. 2015 – 2016; President, Political Science Education (Sept. 2013 – 2015)
  • Track Moderator, “The Inclusive Classroom”: Portland, OR (February 2016)
  • Co-convener, Mini-conference on Teaching & Learning, Western Political Science Association, San Diego, CA (March 2016)
  • Member, Scholia Club of San Diego (“Town & Gown,” inducted January 2016)