Professor, Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies, Director
Lawrence Jacobs is the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies and director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He also holds an appointment in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Political Science. Dr. Jacobs’ most recent books are Health Care Reform and American Politics (with Theda Skocpol, Oxford University Press, 2010) and Talking Together: Public Deliberation and Political Participation in America (with Fay Lomax Cook and Michael X. Delli Carpini, University of Chicago Press, 2009). His research has been published and discussed in a number of mass media outlets including the BBC, National Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, network and cable news outlets, and national newspapers and journals such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, Congressional Quarterly, and the National Journal. He has made regular presentations at the National Press Club and is a political analyst for the CBS affiliate in Minnesota, WCCO.
Phone: (612) 625-9116
Doug Chapin is working to develop and expand CSPG's Election Academy by creating projects and programs to deliver high-quality research and learning opportunities to the election administrators of today - and tomorrow. This will include courses, seminars and other materials in many different aspects of election administration and will be aimed at all different facets of the election community. The Project is online at http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/peea/. Chapin comes to the Humphrey School after 10 years at The Pew Charitable Trusts, where he served as director of Election Initiatives for the Pew Center on the States. Under his leadership, Pew’s elections team successfully lobbied for enactment of military and overseas voting reform in Congress and state legislatures; enlisted dozens of states and technology partners like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook to provide official voting information online and via mobile technology; and worked with election officials, academics, and technical experts to design and implement efforts to upgrade the nation’s voter registration systems. Prior to serving at Pew, Chapin was an attorney in private practice specializing in election and ethics law. He served as elections counsel to the Democrats on the U.S. Senate Rules Committee from 1997 to 2000, where he focused on federal election legislation and participated in the review of the disputed 1996 Senate election in Louisiana. He holds a law degree from Georgetown University, a master of public administration degree from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and an A.B. in politics from Princeton University.
Associate Program Director
Phone: (612) 625-2530
Lea Chittenden is the associate program director at the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. She has been with the Center since the fall of 2006. Lea is responsible for the Center's fiscal and grant management, Center operations, event oversight, works on the Center's Election Academy program, and other special projects. Before joining the Center, Lea worked on various political campaigns and participated in a work abroad program in Ediburgh, Scotland. Lea graduated with college and major honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a bachelor of arts in history degree. While at UC-Santa Cruz, Lea spent a year studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain.
Phone: (612) 625-8330
Kate Cimino is the assistant director for the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. She has been with the Center since the fall of 2007, with primary responsibility for the Policy Fellows program, the Center’s annual legislative conference, and fundraising and development. Kate has master’s degrees in public administration/nonprofit management and higher education student services. She serves on the board of the MacPhail Center for Music, where she has also played the bassoon as part of a trio. She was a 2012 “40 Under Forty” honoree in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, and was a 2010-2011 participant in the Minneapolis Chamber’s Leadership Twin Cities program.
Phone: (612) 362-0752
Eric Ostermeier (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Department of Political Science, 2006; J.D., The University of Michigan Law School, 1995) has been a research associate at the Center since 2006. Dr. Ostermeier authors and runs the Center’s non-partisan political news site, Smart Politics. His research and reporting is featured and cited several hundred times each year in national and local broadcast, print, and digital news outlets such as Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, NBC News, POLITICO, Time, and The Washington Post.
Steve Sviggum is an adjunct professor and Legislative Fellow at the Humphrey School of the University of Minnesota, teaching classes and leading practicums for students. Previously Steve served in the Minnesota State Legislature for 29 years. He was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1978. He served as House Minority Leader from 1993 to 1998 and later as Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, during which time he served on the board of directors for the National Speakers Conference. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Steve also served as Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget in 2010. In 2011 he was elected to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents serving for just one year.He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from St. Olaf College.
Phone: (612) 625-5340
Jessica Zimmerman is the Center’s office assistant and the newest member of the CSPG team. As office assistant, Jessica helps coordinate events, supports the Policy Fellows program, and assists with office communications. Originally from Minnesota, Jessica ventured to Earlham College in Richmond, IN where she studied Human Development and Social Relations. After graduation, Jessica served two terms of AmeriCorps, first as a VISTA at Project for Pride in Living, and most recently as a VISTA Leader at the Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota. She sings Alto II in the Twins Cities Women’s Choir and is an active member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.
Brianna Smith is a research assistant for the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, and is currently responsible for data analysis and methods on several of Dr. Jacobs' projects. Brianna is also a PhD student in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Political Science, studying American Politics and Methodology; her own research focuses on voter decision making, small business lobbying, and political networks. Before coming to Minnesota, Brianna earned her BA at Tufts University where she majored in Political Science, Psychology, and German Studies.
Peter Polga-Hecimovich is a second year Master of Public Policy at the Humphrey. His concentration is Politics and Governance and he is also shooting for a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. Peter grew up and lived his entire life in Minnesota and enjoys wearing shorts into January, when it starts to get chilly.
Contact the Center
Center for the Study of Politics and Governance
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
130 Humphrey Center
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Fax: (612) 624-0068