Political Science Department Awards

Each year the Department of Political Sciences hands out various prizes and awards to recognize the excellent teaching and research being doing within the Department by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students.

Kathleen Burkholder Prize

The Kathleen Burkholder Prize is awarded each year in honor of Kathleen (Kathy) Burkholder. Kathy was a University of Illinois alumna and Political Science graduate student when she tragically passed away from a brain hemorrahage in 1981. Her parents and other donors established a fund in her memory, the Kathleen L. Burkholder Graduate Student Award. The Department of Political Science uses this fund to award a prize for the best dissertation defended in the previous two calendar years.

William Bernhard Award

Named in honor of Dr. William Bernhard, former Head of the Department of Political Science, this award recognizes the best doctoral dissertation prospectus defended in the prior two calendar years. (The 2017 and 2018 awards were awarded for best prospectus from the prior calendar year.)

Rita and Leonard Ogren Prizes for Academic Achievement

The Rita and Leonard Ogren Prizes recognize the best academic performance by PhD student(s).

Clarence A. Berdahl Award

The Clarence A. Berdhal Award recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching by a faculty member. The award is chosen each year by the members of Pi Sigma Alpha.

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by a Graduate Student

Since 1986, Political Science has acknowledged a graduate student for excellence in undergraduate instruction. Starting in 1998, the department has recognized excellent teaching of undergraduates by a graduate student acting as an Independent Instructor with the Marvin G. Weinbaum Award, and excellence by a graduate Teaching Assistant with the A. Belden Fields Award, in alternating years.

Excellence in Graduate Education, Teaching, Mentoring, and Service

An award for Excellence in Graduate Education, Teaching, Mentoring and Service is given each year to a faculty member within the Department of Political Science. Starting in 2019, the department has recognized excellent teaching of graduates by a faculty member with the Dina Zinnes Graduate Teaching Award, and excellent mentoring of graduates by a faculty member with the Jim Kuklinski Graduate Mentoring Award, in alternating years. The awards are chosen by the PhD students. 

Undergraduate Thesis Awards

Each year a student in the Political Science Honors Program is selected for the best research poster and best thesis. A committee of faculty vote on these awards.