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Department ofPolitical Science

Elsa Chen

Elsa Chen
Elsa Chen

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Professor

Education: Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, 2000; M.P.P., Harvard University, 1993; A.B. Princeton University, 1991

Research Guides for Dr. Chen's Classes:

  • POLI 001 - Introduction to U.S. Politics

Elsa Chen is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Interim Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development.

She teaches public policy, criminal justice policy, housing and homeless policy, research methods, and American politics. Dr. Chen received the College’s 2015 David E. Logothetti Award for teaching excellence.

Dr. Chen’s published work focuses on analyses of the implementation and effects of sentencing policies, including mandatory minimums like “Three Strikes and You’re Out,” and racial and ethnic disparities in sentencing outcomes. Her current research studies policies associated with the de-escalation of mass incarceration and prisonerreintegration into society. She is P.I. of a 3-year project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that combines interviews of court officials and analysis of quantitative data to examine the implementation and effects of CA Proposition 36 (2012) to reformThree Strikes. Dr. Chen is also completing an interview-based study of the effects ofcriminal record expungement. Her next project, in partnership with the CaliforniaDepartment of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Division of Adult Parole Operations, will evaluate innovative approaches to lifer reentry. Her work has appeared in journals including Justice Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, the California Journal of Politics and Policy, and (forthcoming) Punishment and Society.

Elsa co-chairs the American Society of Criminology’s Division on People of Color and Crime and serves on the US Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs’ Science Advisory Board and the ASC Policy Committee.

  • Introduction to American Politics
  • Seminar in U.S. Politics
  • Making Public Policy
  • Special Topics in Public Policy
  • Public Sector Internship
Curriculum vitae
Curriculum vitae