Meet Christopher Mooney
- B.A. English: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- M.A. Political Science, Master’s in Public Administration: University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Ph.D. Political Science: University of Wisconsin-Madison
- I’ve always been interested in politics. After getting out of service, I worked as a prison guard in maximum security prison for the criminally insane (so I like to think of that as good preparation for handling students in the classroom). It was a good job, but I didn’t really like it all that much, and I was interested in something more intellectually challenging. So I took advantage of the state of Wisconsin program where you could take a leave from your job and go back to college. I pursued a master’s in public administration and after taking political science classes, I worked it out to get my Ph.D. and teach. I found out that was what I was supposed to be doing all along.
- I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean when I was 16, and I play the bass fiddle.
- I like to have a lot of interaction with my students. At UIS, we have small classes and there’s a lot of discussion and I like to get students out into world. In one class, I have them go to capital, to state agencies or to the Supreme Court and we do a field trip. The students are expected to observe and write papers on what they see with respect to what we’ve been talking about in class. There is not a lot of lecturing.
Major project underway:
- I’m currently studying how and why state legislative leadership power varies among the states and how legislators think about cause and effect in policymaking. I’m also the co-author of a leading undergraduate textbook in state and local politics.
Advice to prospective students:
- Work hard, come to class, follow the syllabus and get involved in the campus and the community.
Best thing about UIS:
- Its public affairs focus, small classes, and students who are REALLY interested in state government. UIS has unique advantage compared to almost any other place you could go to study political science in that we have a laboratory of politics a few miles down the road. Our students take advantage of it and get jobs working with lobbyists, staffers, working on campaigns and working in state government. That’s sort of experience you can’t get anywhere else. I like getting to know the students, seeing them grow and getting to see them after college when they’re working in state government or working in Washington, and we can talk about what they’ve done.