J. Wesley Leckrone

J. Wesley Leckrone, PhD

  • Professor
  • Widener CARE Team Member
Media Expertise:
  • Politics & Government

Programs I Teach


  • PhD, Political Science (2006)
    Temple University (PA)
  • MA, American History (1995)
    Temple University (PA)
  • BA, Political Science (1991)
    American University (DC)

About Me

I was a political junky growing up. When I got to college, I found that my professors focused on abstract theories at the expense of current events. This experience greatly informed my teaching philosophy, which is based on using contemporary politics to understand and test theories within the discipline of political science. Consequently, I use social media, blogging, and experiential learning events such as Student Lobby Day to engage students in critical thinking about how government functions.

I teach a broad range of courses related to American government institutions and public policy. Among these are The Presidency, Interest Groups, and State and Local Politics. My research interests are primarily in the areas of federalism, intergovernmental lobbying, and state politics. I am currently the editor of the Pennsylvania Political Science Association's newly reconstituted publication Commonwealth: A Journal of Pennsylvania Politics and Policy.

Research Interests

My primary interests are in the fields of American federalism and state and local policy agendas. I have been actively involved with several projects adapting Baumgartner and Jones' Policy Agendas Model to state and local policies. This line of research seeks to categorize the types of policies governments focus on over long periods of time. I have used this typology in my work at the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project at Temple University and in research on state memorials to Congress.

I am currently co-authoring research adapting this model to local politics through an exploration of the agendas of large-city mayors as voiced through their State of the City addresses. I am in the beginning stages of writing Governing the Commonwealth: Politics, Policy and Executive Power in Pennsylvania. The book examines how recent Pennsylvania governors have used their formal and informal powers to influence public policy across a range of issues including education, the environment, and social welfare.


  • Leckrone, J.W., & Gollob, J. (2013). Federalism and the Pennsylvania legislature: Partisanship and intergovernmental priorities. Commonwealth: A Journal of Political Science, 16(1), 21–40.
  • Leckrone, J.W. (2013). Hippies, feminists and neocons: Using The Big Lebowski to find the political in the non-political. PS: Political Science & Politics, 46(1), 129–136.
  • Leckrone, J.W., & Gollob, J. (2010). Telegrams to Washington: Using memorials to Congress as a measure of state attention to the federal policy agenda. State and Local Government Review, 42(3), 235–245.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Pennsylvania Political Science Association (PPSA), Northeastern Political Science Association (NPSA)


  • Arts and Sciences Outstanding Researcher Award, Social Sciences, Widener University (2013)
  • Faculty Award for Civic Engagement Finalist, Widener University (2013)
  • Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award Finalist, Widener University (2013)


In the Media