Matthew C. Woessner, Ph.D.

Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Program Coordinator, Minor in Political Science
Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Science in Public Policy
Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, School of Public Affairs
Public Administration PhD Graduate Faculty
Office Phone: +1 717 948 6489
Office Location: Olmsted Building, W160
Mailing Address:

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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