Dena B Levy, Ph.D

Associate Professor
(585) 395-5893
Office: Hartwell Hall 211 C


I use two basic strategies to accomplish my goals of encouraging critical thinking and engaging students: frequent writing assignments (both in and outside of class) and active learning. Active learning provides an ideal method for reinforcing the role of the student participating in his or her own education. The side benefit to both teaching methods is that students learn valuable life skills at the same time - critical thinking, clear writing, and teamwork.

In general, good teaching involves three underlying traits: enthusiasm for subject and student, patience, and humor. Underlying all of these attributes is an appreciation for learning and an understanding that I don’t cause learning, but I can facilitate it.


  • PhD Political Science 1996 University of Iowa
  • M.A. Public Policy 1991 Georgetown University
  • B.A. Government-Public Policy 1987 Pomona College

Courses Taught

  • The American Presidency (PLS 317)
  • Congressional Politics (PLS 316)
  • American Political Systems (PLS 113)
  • Political Science Research Methods (PLS 303)
  • Campaigns and Elections (PLS 309)
  • Issues in American Politics (PLS 314)
  • Gender Politics (PLS 313)

Research Interests

The broad focus of my research centers on individual effects in the institutional setting of a legislature. Some of the specific questions I am now working on include the effect of the increasing number of minorities and women in office on legislative output; whether institutional expectations of state legislative party leaders affect their tenure in office and the interaction of gender and electoral context on congressional campaigns.