Undergraduate

Pi Sigma Alpha (Rho Tau Chapter)

Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, is the only honor society for college students of political science and government in the United States. It is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS). It is one of the oldest and most distinguished of national honor societies. It was formed in 1920 and now has nearly 700 chapters in colleges and universities across the nation.

UB’s chapter, the Rho Tau Chapter, recognizes student achievement in political science scholarship. Membership in the chapter is based on four requirements. First, a student must have completed 12 credit hours of course work in political science. Second, the potential member must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in his or her political science courses. Third, the student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 in his or her courses. Finally, the initiate must pay a one-time initiation fee of $40. Of this fee, $35 is paid to the national association and $5 is kept with the local chapter. Members receive a membership certificate, an attractive Pi Sigma Alpha pin, the right to participate in local chapter activities and governance, and the right to wear a Pi Sigma Alpha honor cord and/or medallion to the graduation ceremonies. The Rho Tau chapter has a President, a Vice-President, and a Secretary/Treasurer.

At the initiative of the chapter’s officers, the Rho Tau Chapter normally sponsors several events throughout the academic year. A regular event of the chapter is the Spring initiation ceremony and research presentation. A number of highly distinguished political scientists have made research presentations to the Department’s faculty, graduate students, and Pi Sigma Alpha initiates at these Spring initiation ceremonies. These distinguished scholars include:

  • Prof. Kenneth Meier of Texas A&M University (2001),
  • Prof. Paul Diehl of the University of Illinois (2002),
  • Prof. James Stimson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2003),
  • Prof. Helmut Norpoth of SUNY at Stony Brook (2004),
  • Prof. Forrest Maltzman of George Washington University (2005),
  • Prof. Doug Lemke of Pennsylvania State University (2006),
  • Prof. Robert Bates of Harvard University (2007),
  • Prof. Michael Lewis-Beck of the University of Iowa (2008),
  • Prof. Harvey Starr of the University of South Carolina (2009),
  • Prof. Paul Wahlbeck of George Washington University (2010),
  • Prof. Todd Donovan of Western Washington University (2011), and
  • Prof. Arthur “Skip” Lupia of the University of Michigan (2012).

The Faculty Advisor to UB’s Rho Tau Chapter is Professor James Battista.

Professor James Campbell is a Past President of Pi Sigma Alpha (2008-10) and serves on Pi Sigma Alpha’s Council.

Professor Harvey Starr Gives the 2009 Pi Sigma Alpha Talk

Through the sponsorship of a chapter activity grant from Pi Sigma Alpha, Professor Harvey Starr of the University of South Carolina gave a presentation at the annual initiation ceremony for new members of Pi Sigma Alpha in March.

Professor Starr is the Dag Hammarskjöld Professor in International Affairs in the Department of Political Science at the University of  South Carolina. He is the author or co-author of 14 books and monographs, and over eighty journal articles, book chapters, and notes. He is also an alumnus of UB and received the Department’s first Distinguished Alumnus Award (see story below). The title of Professor Starr’s talk was “Opportunity, Willingness and Geopolitics.” Professor Starr was photographed above with Professor Frank Zagare and below with Professor Claude Welch.

 

Professor Michael S. Lewis-Beck Gives 2008 Pi Sigma Alpha Talk

Through the sponsorship of a chapter activity grant from Pi Sigma Alpha, Professor Michael S. Lewis-Beck of the University of Iowa gave a presentation at the annual initiation ceremony for new members of Pi Sigma Alpha in April. The title of Professor Lewis-Beck’s talk was “The American Voter: 50 Years Later.” It was based on his new and much anticipated book,  The American Voter Revisited (University of Michigan Press, 2008) co-authored with Helmut Norpoth, William Jacoby, and Herbert Weisberg.

Photo of Franco Mattei, Michael Lewis-Beck, Hongxing Yin, and Jim Campbell

Franco Mattei, Michael Lewis-Beck, Hongxing Yin,

and Jim Campbell

Photo of Franco Mattei, Michael Lewis-Beck, and Michelle Benson

Franco Mattei, Michael Lewis-Beck, and Michelle

Benson

More information about Pi Sigma Alpha may be obtained from its national website.