Ellen Seljan

Associate Professor of Political Science and Department Chair

Ellen Seljan teaches courses on American politics, Congress, parties and interest groups, public policy, and research methods. Her research examines trends in public finance at the state and local levels of government. Her ongoing work analyzes the effects of fiscal institutions on state and local finances, as well as municipal tax capacity. She has published articles in State Politics and Policy Quarterly and the National Tax Journal. She previously taught at the University of South Carolina. 

Academic Credentials

PhD in Political Science, University of California, San Diego (2010), BA, Drew University (2004)


Fall 2021

POLS 201: Research Methods in Political Science

MWF 9:10 am - 10:10 am 

Introduction to the methodological principles and issues in political science research, using readings within and beyond political science. Identifying variables and mechanisms, developing and testing theories, collecting and measuring data, and assessing a study’s ability to achieve causal inference. Introduction to different approaches to research, including experiments, case studies, and regression analysis. Strongly recommended for sophomores or juniors who have declared a POLS major, as this course is a prerequisite for thesis and some senior capstone courses.

Prerequisites: POLS 102 or POLS 103.

Restrictions: Sophomore standing required. 

POLS 420: Policy Analysis

T Th 9:40 am - 11:10 am 

This course aims to introduce students to the public policy problems pertinent to Portland, Oregon, and teach quantitative policy analysis skills. We will examine the policies that Portland has tried in the past, evaluating their effectiveness, and consider policy solutions for the future. Students will learn several commonly used public policy methodologies, including cost-benefit analysis, systematic reviews, and the development and analysis of randomized control trials. The course will include numerous guest speakers who are experts in Portland public policy.

Prerequisites: ECON 103, MATH 105, MATH 123, MATH 255, POLS 201, or PSY

Restrictions: Junior standing required. 

Location: J.R. Howard Hall