University of Southern Indiana

News and Events

Matthew J. Hanka - Foreword By Sue Ellspermann - Contributions By Trent Engbers; Ramona Harvey; Mohammed Khayum; Helen Rosenberg; Anne Statham And John I. Gilderbloom

Communities are not static or stationary organisms. They are fluid and dynamic and change over time. The role of community development in the change and transformation of a community is critical to improving and enhancing the quality of life of the community and its residents. This book examines how community development changes a community and why that change matters, while also examining the relationship between community development and social capital. When a community improves its social capital, change can happen because people can leverage their networks to produce better results for themselves.

Rotary selects USI’s Davidson as 2021-22 Global Scholar

USI political science and Spanish double major graduating senior Cameron Davidson was selected by the Rotary’s Southern Indiana District for its 2021-22 Global Grant Scholarship. The $40,000 award will help fund Cameron’s pursuit of a master’s degree in Global and International Studies from the University of Salamanca in Spain, where he will focus on nationalism and conflict management.

We are pleased to announce the first recipient of the Statham Community Engagement Award, Anna Ardelean, a junior majoring in political science. The award comes with a $1,000 prize that recognizes Anna’s commitment to community work.

Anna has made a difference on the USI campus with her community involvement. She has been working to bring a voting location to USI since her freshman year. She recognized the need to increase youth voter turnout and has been fighting to make voting more accessible for her peers ever since. After surveying students and faculty, collecting petitions, talking with administrators, researching election law, meeting with public officials, and jumping over numerous barriers, Anna is still preparing to present her proposal to the Vanderburgh County Elections Board in 2021.  This month, Anna will be hosting a postcard campaign to display public support for this new polling location, where she hopes to collect 500 postcards to send to the elections board. If you are interested in helping with this effort, Anna will be tabling with the postcards on campus during the week of April 19. Stop by, fill out a card, and leave it with her. This new polling site will be helpful in generating student participation in elections and also provide local residents an alternative site to cast their votes.

Anna is the inaugural recipient of the Anne and Bettye Statham Community Engagement Award. This annual award is open to all College of Liberal Arts majors who are in good academic standing. The award was established in honor of a mother/daughter who have made contributions to our local community. Anne Statham is Professor Emerita of Sociology at USI; she launched the Service Learning Program during her tenure as a faculty member and has done many community projects of her own. Her mother also has a BA in sociology, and spent much of her adult life working as a volunteer and paid staff member for the Girls Scouts of Southwest Indiana. In that capacity, she contributed significantly to the lives of many young women, and also to efforts to advanced diversity and social justice in the local community.

Indiana Court of Appeals Oral Argument - 10 a.m. (CST)
The Court will hear State of Indiana v. Andrew M. Royer, 20A-PC-955, a post-conviction relief case out of Elkhart County. A moderated Q & A with the Judges will follow the Oral Argument on Zoom. 

Careers in the Legal Field - 2 p.m. (CST)
Join us for a moderated panel with area legal professionals.

Law Day Keynote Presentation - 6 p.m. (CST)
Tune in for a fascinating conversation with Harvard Law Professor and Deputy Prosecutor for the Hague Penitentiary Institution, Alex Whiting. 

Exploring Graduate Studies in Liberal Arts on February 2-3

Virtual Event
Zoom ID: 963-8310-0161

There will be events for everyone. Some will be geared toward freshmen & sophomores and others toward juniors & seniors. Ask your instructors for extra credit!

Join the POLS faculty to learn about graduate school  and the Master of Public Administration Program on:

Feb 2: 2-4 PM Graduate Studies at USI with Dr. Trent Engbers

Feb 3: 10-11:30 AM Graduate School 101 with Dr. Matt Hanka

Check out the full program at

October 26, 2020 at 7PM

USI faculty, students and alumni join forces to perform benefit reading of The Vagina Monologues

The University of Southern Indiana will present a two-night-only benefit reading of Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26, and 7 p.m. on Friday, February 28 in Forum II of the Wright Administration Building on the USI campus. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The event costs $8 at the door. All proceeds go to Willow Tree of Posey County, working to help women and girls coping with sexual assault and domestic violence. Read more...

USI students and faculty at Homeless Connect 2019

Over 700 people registered for Homeless Connect of Southwest Indiana this year to receive services such as legal advice, tax preparation, job applications, haircuts, lunch, and much more. Students and faculty from USI helped with the event that took place at the OLD National Events Plaza on March 21, 2019. Dr. Matt Hanka, director of the Commission on Homelessness for Evansville and Vanderburgh County, oversees Homeless Connect. Read more...

USI to celebrate 21st anniversary of The Vagina Monologues & the founding of V-Day

The University of Southern Indiana will present a two-night-only benefit reading of Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20 and 7 p.m. on Friday, February 22 in Forum 3 of the Wright Administration Building on the USI campus. Doors will open at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20, and at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, February 22. The event costs $8 at the door. Ninety percent of proceeds go to Willow Tree of Posey County, working to help women and girls coping with sexual assault and domestic violence. Ten percent of proceeds go to the V-Day Action Fund for women who have been incarcerated. Read more...

Dr. Hanka at TEDx Evansville 2018

In his talk "How Housing First Puts Us on a Path to End Homelessness," Dr. Matt Hanka discussed homelessness at TEDx Evansville on Friday, October 26, 2018 at USI's Performance Center. He shared new approaches to addressing homelessness by providing shelter first so that chronic homelessness is prevented.  Helping the homeless overcome the difficulties that put them on the streets in the first place is a long term process that should not be a precondition of housing. 

Berger Lecture - The Majority Minority: Why Women are Underrepresented in American Politics and What Difference Does it Make?

Dr. Marjorie Hershey, Professor at Indiana University discussed women underrepresentation in American politics.

Date: September 20th, 2018. Time: 5:00 PM Carter Hall

Dr. Hanka on President Trump's visit to Evansville

Dr. Matt Hanka discussed President Trump's visit to Evansville on Eyewitness News on August 30, 2018.

Political Science and Public Administration Alumni-in-residence

Chad Horrell '04

Chad Horrell ’04, a director with the Washington D.C.-based DCI Group, presented ‘See’ of Opportunities: Navigate with Purpose. Chad’s talk included topics such as the valuable application and use of a USI degree in Indiana and across the nation, as well as the importance of identifying goals and striving every day to achieve those goals. The Alumni in Residence program is a pragmatic, engaging conversation with USI students about opportunities offered to them. As part of Chad’s conversation, he also discussed how his own USI education prepared him for a career in the nation’s capital. An Evansville native, Chad graduated from USI in 2004 with a degree in political science.

Wednesday, April 11,2018, 10 a.m.

Liberal Arts Center’s Kleymeyer Hall

Indiana Political Science Association Conference

March 16, 2018

USI hosted the Indiana Political Science association Conference in Carter Hall on March 16, 2018. Next year the conference will be at the University of Indianapolis.

Dr. Matt Hanka was named administrator of the Commission on Homelessness

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke named Dr. Matthew Hanka as Administrator of the Commission on Homelessness for Evansville and Vanderburgh County at the organization’s February 2018 meeting.  In this volunteer role, Dr. Hanka will provide leadership for the Commission, a group of local government representatives and community leaders working together to prevent and end homelessness in the region. 

Day at the State House

Political Science students visited the Indiana Legislature in Indianapolis during Day at the State House on February 13, 2018.

We will miss you, Mark!

Mark Rietman retired in December 2017, after 17 years of teaching in the pre-law program at USI. Mark Taught courses such as POLS 208 (Law, Courts, and Justice), POLS 404 (Indiana Constitutional Law), POLS 405 (Constitutional Law), and POLS 406 (Constitutional Rights). In his "regular" job, he worked as a lawyer for the law firm Berger & Berger of Evansville. He will be missed by students and faculty alike!

MPA Alumni Reception

MPA alumni, students, and faculty participated at the annual MPA reception on November 13 in the McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries at USI.

Freshmen Connection

Political Science reception following the Indiana Supreme Court arguments on October 30 brought together students, faculty, and high school students from the Shepard Leadership and Law Academy.

The Knowledge for Life Series

Political Science students with journalist Jamelle Bouie on September 27, 2017. Jamelle Bouie is the chief political correspondent for Slate magazine, a frequent media commentator, and regularly contributes to the CBS News "Face The Nation."

USI MPA Program hosts presentation on economic development in Indiana

The first MPA Speaker Series program of the semester will take place on Thursday, September 28 at 5 p.m. in Kleymeyer Hall. The speaker is Drew Klacik, Senior Policy Analyst for the IU Public Policy Institute, who will discuss the Thriving Communities, Thriving State” report and its findings that were unveiled in Spring 2016. 

The upcoming MPA Speaker Series programs for Fall 2017 are:

  • Monday, October 16: Maura Robinson, MPA, will speak on diversity in public administration
  • Tuesday, November 7: Chaze Patrick, MPA student, Reflections on a summer Washington, DC internship
  • Monday, November 27: Alumni-in-residence program featuring MPA alumni Patrick Seib, Elliot Howard, and Nick Wildeman 

Each MPA Speaker Series program begins at 5 p.m. in Kleymeyer Hall.  Refreshments will be served. 

Dr. Engbers at TEDxEvansville 2017

TEDxEvansville is pleased to announce its lineup of speakers for TEDxEvansville 2017. Among them will be University of Southern Indiana, Assistant Professor, Trent A. Engbers.  Dr. Engbers is a leading researcher on the connection between relationships and economic growth.  His talk will explore how cities can tap into their social networks to achieve an economic advantage.  He is among 11 speakers who were selected for their thought-provoking ideas and ability to convey their ideas in a moving way. This year’s event is centered around the theme – Grow. Speakers will present their talks – each less than 18 minutes in length – at TEDxEvansville from noon to 5 p.m., Friday, October 27, 2017, at the University of Southern Indiana’s Performance Center. Information about the speakers can be found at and tickets can be purchased at

Dr. Engbers placed in the Tenth Annual E-PARCC Teaching Case and Simulation Competition 

with his case study, “Pioneer Scouts of Rose Ravine”

USI's 7th annual Law Day

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Oral arguments at 1 pm in Carter Hall

Keynote speech by Dr. Stephen L. Wasby: "After Scalia, Now What?" at 7 pm in Carter Hall

Stephen L. Wasby received his B.A. from Antioch College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. He was on the faculty at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale before moving to the University at Albany - SUNY; he is now professor emeritus of political science. Professor Wasby’s research interests focus primarily on the federal courts, and he continues a long-term project on decision-making in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is the author of a number of books, as well as articles in social science journals and law reviews. He has served as Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Eastham, Mass., and as Director of the National Railway Historical Society’s Heritage Grants Program.

Synopsis: Melvin Wolf v. State of Indiana

Wolf went to the race track to watch his son’s race. Another driver, Kevin Blue, beat Wolf’s son. The two racers’ cars collided on the track. After the race, Wolf approached Blue in the “weigh-in” area. Both men ended up on the ground, scuffling. Later, Wolf was arrested and charged with battery. During the bench trial, Wolf claimed self-defense but was found guilty. Wolf argues the State did not refute his self-defense claim. He claims the trial court erred in finding the fact he called Blue names constituted provocation. Wolf asserts he had a constitutional right to do so. Additionally, Wolf was not in a place he was not allowed to be and he only struck Blue in self-defense after Blue grabbed Wolf’s shirt.

Indiana Political Science Association Annual Conference

Friday, March 24, 2017

8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Carter Hall


Dr. Linda Bennett will present opening remarks at 8:30 a.m.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Kristina Horn Sheeler will speak at during the conference luncheon 12-1:15 p.m.: “Campaign 2016: A New Era of Lowered Expectations”

For more information contact Dr. Matt Hanka,

Non-Profit Career Panel Presentation


Local professionals who work for non-profit organizations met on campus on March 22, 2017 to speak about career options in their field.  Panelists included: Amy Canterbury  (United Way),  Deidre Conner  (ARC of Evansville),  Rudy Montejano  (HOLA), Ashley Murray  (SW Indiana Chamber), Candice Perry  (Welborn Foundation),  Lu Porter  (Evansville African American Museum), and Matt Rowe (Reitz Home Museum).

Moderated by Dr. Trent Engbers, USI Assistant Professor of Political Science.

Presented by USI Career Services and Internships.

University Academic Award Recognition Event Spring 2017

(From left to right) Taysia Fulkerson, Virgilio Paulino, Dr. Trent Engbers, Dr. Oana Armeanu, and Dr. Paul Raymond.

USI Teaching & Learning Symposium

Trent Engbers shares teaching strategies that he uses in teaching research methods courses at USI's Teaching & Learning Symposium on January 26, 2017.

Presidential inauguration 2017

On the National Mall in Washington DC right after the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. — Matt Hanka, Kathy Oeth, Leigh Anne Howard, Sara Webster Goad, Evan Eagleson, Brandy Small, Đường Gỉ Lộc, Tania Machonisse, Caitlin Hildenbrand, Kate Grudzinski, Theresa Ohning, Rachel Eileen Johnson, Almira Havic and Kelsi Wallace.

Careers in public service

USI’s Political Science & Public Administration faculty and students had a panel discussion with Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana students on October 26, 2016 about careers in public service.

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate

USI hosted Indiana Gubernatorial debate on 25 October, 2016.

Dr. Hanka selected Rotarian of the year

Dr. Hanka

Dr. Nicholas LaRowe presents his research on Supreme Court

Dr. LaRowe

New MPA student welcoming reception

The Graduate Studies and the MPA program welcome the new MPA students (September 2016).

Honors Day 2016

(From left to right) Back row: Dr. Nick LaRowe, Dr. Paul Raymond, Dr. Trent Engbers, Evan Eagleson, Dr. Matt Hanka, Virgilio Paulino, Justin Pelkey, Dr. Michael Dixon. Front Row: Ashlee Morris, Rachel Johnson, Kate Grudzinski, Taysia Fulkerson, and Dr. Oana Armeanu.

Contact Dr. Oana Armeanu


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