J. Wesley Leckrone

J. Wesley Leckrone, PhD

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

Programs I Teach

Education

  • 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 a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Federalism and the editor of Commonwealth: A Journal of Pennsylvania Politics and Policy, the official journal of the Pennsylvania Political Science Association.

Research Interests

My primary interests are in the fields of American federalism and state and local policy agendas. Recently I have been researching how the American federal system has affected the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in four co-authored publications. I am also currently co-editing a book on Teaching Federalism: Multidimensional Approaches, which will be published as part of Edward Elgar’s Teaching Methods series. Much of my research on state politics focuses on Pennsylvania. I have recently co-edited Pennsylvania Politics and Policy: A Commonwealth Reader, Volume 1 (2018) and Volume 2 (2019). I am currently doing research for 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.

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.

Publications

  • “American Federalism and COVID-19: Party Trumps Policy”, with John Kincaid, in Nico Steyler, editor, Managing the Coronavirus Pandemic: Federal Systems a Boon or Bane?, New York: Routledge (Forthcoming 2021).

  • “Partisan Fractures in U.S. Federalism’s COVID-19 Policy Responses”, with John Kincaid, State and Local Government Review 53 (4), forthcoming.

  • “Trying Not to Lose Ground: State and Local Government Advocacy During Passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 49 (Summer 2019): 407-436.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

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

International Association of Centers for Federal Studies (IACFS)

Awards

  • College of Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching (2021)
  • 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)

News

In the Media