Louis DeSipio, Chicano/Latino studies and political science professor, is the new director of the UC Irvine Center for the Study of Democracy. Appointed to a five-year term, he plans to continue the center’s focus on democratic participation in governance through research, public events and potential new degree programs.

“Research on participation in democracies is what the center has done since its inception and should continue to do,” DeSipio says. “We’ll continue this through collaborative research and new venues to inform the campus community and the public at large about new and provocative findings on mass political participation.”

His goal is not just an academic-style focus, but also interactions with practitioners of politics.

“I also want to explore possible new degree programs in democracy studies,” he says, a thrust which will likely build from the center’s established and highly successful democracy fellows program.  

“We’re honored that professor DeSipio was interested in taking on this role,” says Bill Maurer, dean of social sciences where the center is administratively housed. “Given his expertise, he is the perfect choice to serve as director.”

DeSipio has been a member of the UCI faculty since 2002 after spending seven years as a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 2006-11, he served as chair of the UC Irvine Department of Chicano/Latino Studies. He is widely recognized for his expertise in Latino political behavior and immigrant incorporation, and his findings and expert perspective are regularly featured in national media. His work has been funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, Emma Lazarus Fund of the Open Society Institute, Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Established in 1990, the Center for the Study of Democracy became one of UC Irvine’s Organized Research Units in 2001 in recognition of scholastic excellence. Public lectures sponsored by the center have brought to campus prominent public figures including Janet Yellen, the likely new chair of the Federal Reserve System; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico; and Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States.

Preceding DeSipio as director was Bernard Grofman, Jack W. Peltason Endowed Chair in Political Science, appointed in 2007.

Learn more about the Center for the Study of Democracy at www.democracy.uci.edu.


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