Penn State Harrisburg

Matthew C. Woessner, Ph.D.

· Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy; Public Affairs

Biography

Matthew C. Woessner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Penn State Harrisburg, pursues teaching and research interests in political psychology and public opinion.  He graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1995 and received a doctorate of philosophy in Political Science from The Ohio State University in 2001.

Woessner specializes in the study of politics in academia and higher education governance.  He co-authored the book, The Still Divided Academy: How Competing Visions of Power, Politics, and Diversity Complicate the Mission of Higher Education with April Kelly-Woessner and the late Stanley Rothman. The book explores the conflicting views of students, faculty, and college administrators concerning politics, diversity, and the purpose of higher education. As part of an American Enterprise Institute conference on politics in higher education, Woessner and Kelly-Woessner authored “Left Pipeline: Why Conservatives Don’t Get Doctorates.” The research appeared in the book The Politically Correct University: Problems, Scope, and Reforms.

Beyond his research on higher education, Woessner writes about innovations in teaching politics and policy. In his 2015 article “Teaching with SimCity: Using Sophisticated Gaming Simulations to Teach Concepts in Introductory American Government,” written for the journal PS: Political Science and Politics, Woessner outlines how in-class exercises involving video games can provide valuable insight into real political conflict. His website, Teaching with SimCity, provides materials and step-by-step instructions so faculty can adopt the exercise in their classrooms.

Woessner’s research has appeared in the journal PS: Political Science and Politics, The Journal of Political Science Education, Presidential Studies Quarterly, the journal Politics and Policy, The Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, and The International Journal of Police Science & Management, among others.  Profiles of his research on politics in academia have appeared in Inside Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Christian Science Monitor, the Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times

Woessner is active in university and community service. From 2010 to 2017 Woessner served on the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluations Commission. He previously served as president of the Penn State Harrisburg college senate, and advisor to the College Democrats and College Republicans. In 2013 Woessner received the James A. Jordan Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2016 he was named an Academic Leadership Fellow for the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA).

In 2016 Woessner was elected Chair of the Penn State University Faculty Senate for the 2017-2018 academic year.

His wife and research collaborator, Dr. April Kelly-Woessner, is a Professor of Political Science at Elizabethtown College

Research Interests

  • Academia: Politics in Academia, Faculty-Administrative Relations, Academic Governance
  • American Politics: Public Opinion, Constitutional Law, Teaching Political Science

Courses Taught

  • American Politics: American Government, Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, and Environmental Policy, Science Policy, Foundation of the Early American Republic (The Roman & British Foundations of American Constitutional Design)
  • Methodology: Statistics and Research Methods, Computer Modeling

Publications and Research

  • Rothman, Stanley., Kelly-Woessner, April., & Woessner, Matthew. 2011. The Still Divided Academy: How Competing Visions of Power, Politics, and Diversity Complicate the Mission of Higher Education. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Woessner, Matthew. 2015. “Teaching with SimCity: Utilizing Sophisticated Gaming Simulations to Teach Concepts in Introductory American Government.” PS: Political Science and Politics. 48:1. pp 358-363.
  • Maranto, Robert and Matthew Woessner. 2012. “Diversifying the Academy: How Conservative Academics Can Thrive in Liberal Academia.” PS: Political Science and Politics. 45:3. pp 469-475.
  • Kelly-Woessner, April and Matthew Woessner. 2008. "Conflict in the Classroom: Considering the Effects of Partisan Difference on Political Education." Journal of Political Science Education. Volume 4. Number 3.
  • Woessner, Matthew and April Kelly-Woessner. 2009. “Left Pipeline: Why Conservatives Don’t Get Doctorates” in The Politically Correct University: Problems, Scope, and Reform, ed. Maranto, Robert, et al. American Enterprise Institute Press.
  • Woessner, Matthew and April Kelly-Woessner 2008. "Why Conservative Don't Get Doctorates" in Reforming the Politically Correct University, Ed Robert Maranto, et al. Published by the American Enterprise Institute.
  •  Kelly-Woessner, April and Matthew Woessner. 2006. "My Professor is a Partisan Hack: How Perceptions of a Professor's Political Views Affect Student Course Evaluations." PS: Political Science and Politics. Volume 39. Number 3. Pages 495-501.