James E. Vike

James E. Vike, PhD

  • Associate Dean of Social Science
  • Director of Masters of Public Administration
  • Professor
Media Expertise:
  • Politics & Government

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Political Science (1996)
    Syracuse University (NY)
  • BA, Political Science (1986)
    Willamette University (OR)

About Me

I received my PhD in political science with concentrations in American politics and public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Since joining the Widener faculty, I've taught graduate-level courses for the masters in public administration program and a range of undergraduate courses relating to American politics and statistics for the political science department.

My teaching philosophy centers on creating an energetic and interactive classroom atmosphere, wherein students commit to learning the core principles of the field, while also building requisite skills to further their careers and promote a lifetime of engaged citizenship.

I'm proud that the department has adopted political engagement as a core student learning outcome and that we passionately work to further that objective. My associations with Project Pericles and the Widener Political Engagement Committee involve working with others to promote engaged citizenship across the campus as a whole.

Research Interests

My current research interests spread across the disparate fields of bureaucratic politics and political engagement. My work on bureaucratic politics focuses on examining the extent of political influence on the regulatory scope and enforcement outputs of federal and state-level regulatory agencies.

My work on political engagement focuses on isolating key factors for promoting political engagement among young citizens without simultaneously triggering partisan polarization and uncivil discourse.

Media Expertise

  • American presidency
  • Elections
  • Public administration
  • Public policy
  • Political/bureaucratic relations


  • Vike, J.E. (2007). The bureaucracy as a battleground: Contentious politics surrounding OSHA 1980–2004. Politics & Policy, 35(3), 570–607.
  • Vike, J.E. (2003). State influence in the presidential selection process: Assessing Pennsylvania's non-participation in the frontloading trend. Commonwealth: A Journal of Political Science, 12, 51–75.
  • Vike, J.E. (2014, April). Is civil political engagement possible? Examining factors associated with non-polarized political engagement in a deeply divisive era. Presentation at the President's Invited Lecture, Widener University, Chester, PA.


  • Trainer Faculty Fellow, Widener Leadership Institute (2014)


In the Media


  • Lauren Shermer Named New Widener University Program Director for Project Pericles

    Lauren Shermer, professor of criminal justice, has been named the new Widener University Program Director for Project Pericles effective January 2024. Project Pericles is a national consortium of 29 member colleges and universities that promotes civic engagement in higher education of which Widener has been a member for nearly two decades.

    Shermer looks forward to growing Project Pericles engagement with faculty, staff, students, and community partners. She was named a Periclean Faculty Leader in 2021 and has presented at two Project Pericles conferences held in the last year. Shermer brings a deep commitment to civic engagement to this role.

    This role was formerly held by Associate Dean of Social Sciences James Vike, who has been a leading member of Project Pericles at Widener since 2005. 

    Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/lauren-shermer-named-new-widener-university-program-director-project-pericles

  • Widener Commends Faculty at 2023 Awards Event

    Widener honored faculty members for their high distinction in areas of civic engagement, institutional leadership, research, as well as innovative and distinguished teaching. Various faculty were awarded at the ceremony, held Thursday, October 19 in Lathem Hall.

    “The professors who were honored at our annual awards ceremony continuously display commitment to teaching, civic engagement, meaningful research, remarkable leadership, and cutting-edge innovation. They are highly valued colleagues and represent core values for which Widener stands," said Provost Andrew Workman. 

    The awards included:

    • The Distinguished University Professor Award honors faculty members of high distinction at the University who also demonstrate the institution is committed to recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service throughout faculty members’ careers. This year's recipients were College of Health and Human Services Professor, Stephen E. Kauffman as well as College of Arts and Sciences Professor, Alexis A. Nagengast.
    • College of Arts and Sciences Professor Dana Olanoff was awarded with the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. This award is given to a faculty member who has exemplified a history of teaching at the highest level of distinction. It is endowed by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, a Philadelphia-based foundation that provides grants to institutions of higher education for the promotion of excellence in teaching.
    • The Faculty Award for Civic Engagement serves to recognize the outstanding contributions that faculty members have made in accordance with Widener’s civic engagement mission, as well as solidifying Widener students’ understanding of their social responsibilities, and the impact of their disciplinary learning. This year's recipients included faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences: Associate Professor Angela M. Corbo, Professor J. Wesley Leckrone, and Associate Dean of Social Science and Professor James E. Vike.
    • College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Michael Toneff was awarded the Outstanding Researcher Award. This award gives recognition to a faculty member who has participated in research and scholarship nationally or internationally, and made a significant contribution through their research, while advancing their profession or discipline as well as the university’s mission and vision.
    • The Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award highlights an individual who has designed, implemented, and assessed an innovative or experimental teaching and learning project. This award was presented to College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Janice Krumm.
    • The Faculty Institutional Leadership Award recognizes a record of leading initiatives that further the university’s vision, mission, and strategic objectives. This year’s award recipients were College of Health and Human Services Associate Professor Marina Barnett, who is also interim assistant provost for civic engagement, and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Bretton Alvare.

      Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/widener-commends-faculty-2023-awards-event