Former Faculty Advisory Committee Members

David Canon

David T. Canon is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1987 and previously taught at Duke University.  He is currently editor of the Election Law Journal and is affiliated with the  Elections Research Center.

His teaching and research interests are in American political institutions, especially Congress. He is author of a number of books, has edited several more, and has additionally written various articles and book chapters.

He also served as the Congress editor for Legislative Studies Quarterly and was a Distinguished Fulbright Chair in Debrecen, Hungary, in 2003-2004 and in Tübingen, Germany, in 2011-2012.  His most recent research concerns election administration and election reform (with a continued interest in redistricting). He teaches courses on American government with focus on Congress, race and politics, the president, and political parties and was the recipient of a University of Wisconsin Distinguished Teaching award.

His current voting position with the Committee continues through June 2021.


Cecelia Klingele

Professor Klingele is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Her academic research focuses on criminal justice administration, with an emphasis on community supervision of those on conditional release. She has served as Associate Reporter for the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code: Sentencing revision, External Co-Director of the University of Minnesota Robina Institute’s Sentencing Law & Policy Program, and co-chair of the Academic Committee of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section. After receiving her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2005, Professor Klingele served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Judge Susan H. Black of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and Associate Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court. Professor Klingele teaches courses in criminal law, Constitutional criminal procedure, policing, and sentencing and corrections.

Donald Moynihan

Donald Moynihan is a former Director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs and Professor of Public Affairs. His research examines the application of organization theory to public management issues such as performance, budgeting, homeland security, election administration, and employee behavior. In particular, he studies the selection and implementation of public management reforms. Professor Moynihan, who served as Associate Director from 2009-2012, has presented his research on public sector performance to policymakers at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. His book, The Dynamics of Performance Management: Constructing Information and Reform, was named best book by the Academy of Management’s Public and Nonprofit Division and received the Herbert Simon award from the American Political Science Association, which honors the book with the most significant influence in public administration scholarship in the last three to five years. He created the Performance Information Project, which tracks research on performance management.

Ryan J. Owens

Position title: Former Thompson Center Director

Ryan J. Owens served as the first Director of the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership and is currently a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He earned his Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis and was a faculty member at Harvard University before joining UW-Madison in 2011. Owens earned his J.D. at the University of Wisconsin in 2001 and practiced law before attending graduate school. He is an affiliate faculty of UW-Madison’s Law School. Owens’s research focuses on American political institutions, with a particular focus on the courts. Owens is the coauthor of Supreme Court Opinions and Their AudiencesThe Solicitor General and the United States Supreme Court: Executive Influence and Judicial Decisions; and Supreme Court Justices, Their Motives, and Judicial Behavior (under contract). Owens has published articles in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, the Journal of Law and Courts, the Georgetown Law Review, and elsewhere.

Timothy Smeeding

Timothy (Tim) M. Smeeding is the Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the La Follette School of Public Affairs. He was director of the Institute for Research on Poverty from 2008–2014. He is the 2017 John Kenneth Galbraith Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Smeeding is the principal author of the annual Wisconsin Poverty Report. He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences committee to build an agenda to reduce the number of children in poverty by half and a co-author of the report A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty. He has also been a visiting scholar at the Center for the Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences and the Russell Sage Foundation. Smeeding is a multi-disciplinary scholar with articles that have appeared in the top journals in economics, sociology, political science, policy analysis, demography, social and applied statistics, health care, education and science more generally. His recent work has been on inequality in income wealth and consumption, social and economic mobility across generations, a child allowance for the United States, and poverty, especially for children, in national and cross-national contexts.

Scott Straus

Scott Straus was the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Political Science and International Studies and Chair of the Department of Political Science at UW-Madison. His primary research and teaching interests concern the study of political violence, human rights, and genocide, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. He has authored or edited nine books and published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Perspectives on Politics, Foreign Affairs, the Journal of Peace Research, and African Affairs, among other journals. He was previously a member of the Council (Board of Trustees) of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and continues to sit on the Museum’s Committee on Conscience.

Susannah Tahk

Susannah Camic Tahk serves as the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at UW Law. She also researches and teaches tax law and policy and is an affiliate of UW-Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty. She also serves as the director of UW Law’s Institute for Legal Studies and chaired the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Planning Task Force. Before coming to UW Law, Tahk practiced in the tax group in the Washington, DC office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where she focused on controversy and policy matters. In 2015, Tahk received the Vilas Early Career Investigator Award from UW-Madison and was named an Up and Coming Lawyer by the Wisconsin Law Journal. In 2017, she won the Pro Bono Award from Wisconsin’s Association for Women Lawyers.

Michael W. Wagner

Michael W. Wagner is a professor and Louis A. Maier Faculty Development Fellow in the University of Wisconsin Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His research, teaching, and service are animated by the question, “how well does democracy work?” Wagner approaches this question from a variety of perspectives, incorporating into his work the study of political communication, political parties, journalism, public opinion, political psychology, political behavior, religion and politics, the presidency, and biology. Wagner teaches courses from the 200-to-800-levels focusing on reporting, political communication, media and behavior, physiology and communication, fact-checking (where he runs the fact-checking site The Observatory with Lucas Graves), public opinion and opinion writing.

Dr. Wagner’s current position with the Committee continues through June 2022.

John Zumbrunnen

John Zumbrunnen is a Professor of Political Science and the former Chair of the Political Science Department. He has wide-ranging interests in the history of political thought, democratic theory, and American political thought. Much of Zumbrunnen’s published scholarship works at the intersection of Greek political thought and contemporary democratic theory, seeking in particular to recover ancient texts as resources for our thinking about the place and potential of ordinary citizens in mass democracy.  His work has appeared in The American Political Science Review, Political Theory, Polity, History of Political Thought and Political Behavior as well as in various edited volumes. Zumbrunnen also directs the American Democracy Forum, a program that aims to encourage conversations about the founding principles of American political thought and the place of those principles in the ongoing practice of American democracy.