Laura Stephenson named as Faculty Scholar

March 19, 2019

Laura Stephenson, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Laura Stephenson, Professor in the Department of Political Science, has been named as one of Western University’s 2019 Faculty Scholars.

Stephenson has been at the forefront in pushing the field on comparative political behaviour and institutions in new and substantial directions. Her research investigates how individuals behave politically in response to the institutional structures in their lives.

“Being named Faculty Scholar is a real honour. I truly appreciate that my research efforts are being recognized and supported by my colleagues. I have always strived to represent Western well in all of my research activities so being named Faculty Scholar seems like a recognition of that effort,” said Stephenson. “It also cements for me the importance of the new project that I’m embarking on, the 2019 Canadian Election Study, and how it marks an important turning point in my career.”

The Faculty Scholar award recognized significant scholarly achievements in teaching and research.
Stephenson has had a major positive impact on the curriculum in the Department of Political Science. She has taught numerous courses at Western that cover a range of topics from Canadian politics to American politics to institutions, in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, in lecture and seminar formats. Stephenson has twice been named to the teaching honour roll at Western.

“Balancing teaching and research is a fundamental part of our jobs. I find teaching energizing, so it’s not so much about balance as about making sure that I get to take on both roles regularly,” said Stephenson. “I know that I’m a better researcher when I am working with students, whether it’s helping them to learn about my research area (in which case I get to think things through in new ways) or listening to their research ideas (which often inspires new ideas in me).”

Stephenson has shaped the literature on strategic voting in a number of nuanced ways
Stephenson's contributions at the local level are particularly notable because of the lack of existing literature on this topic. As such, her work in this area is at the cutting edge and will have a powerful effect on how future scholars study voting behaviour at this level of analysis.

Established in 2005, the Faculty Scholars Award recognizes significant recent scholarly achievements in teaching or research. Nominated by faculty deans and selected by the Faculty Selection committee chaired by the Provost, the recipients have an international presence in their discipline and are considered all-round scholars. Winners hold the title “Faculty Scholar” for two years and receive $7,000 each year for scholarly activities, as well as receiving a citation.