As part of its ongoing effort to rebuild and expand the Political Science Department, Yale has hired two new junior professors specializing in American politics.

Political Science chairman Ian Shapiro said Rose Razaghian, an expert on American financial institutions, and Jacob Hacker GRD ’00, who will teach comparative public policy, will join the faculty next year.

“I guarantee it. They’ll be very popular teachers,” Shapiro said.

As part of the administration’s decision to enlarge the department, Shapiro has been very active in recruiting the top minds in the field, focusing mostly on young talent. Hacker and Razaghian are the 14th and 15th Political Science hirings in the past three and a half years, he said.

“When I became chair [in 1999], it was obvious we were going to have a big rebuilding mode,” Shapiro said. “We decided to bet on the next generation.”

For Hacker, the strength of previous hires played an important role in his decision to join the faculty.

“The young scholars who have been hired in recent years are unmatched,” Hacker said.

The expansion of the department coincides with an increased interest in the political science major, which Shapiro said recently surpassed economics as the second most popular major offered at Yale, after history.

“Political science is a growth market, in contrast to the other social sciences and humanities,” Shapiro said. “I think there’s more interest in politics since the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

Shapiro said the search is still on for more professors, with two junior faculty and three senior faculty positions still unfilled. New appointments might even be made within a couple of weeks, he said.

One of the primary goals of the hiring spree is to increase the number of political science seminars and decrease the student-faculty ratio in the department, Shapiro said.

The two most recent hires also fit into the department’s new initiative, dubbed “Rethinking Political Order: The Nation-State in the Emerging World,” which puts increased emphasis on the practical applications of political theory.

Shapiro said that, as part of the initiative, the department was looking for a professor in redistributive politics, which they found in Hacker. He said Razaghian filled a hole in the area of crafting and operating institutions.

Hacker said he will teach a course on the American welfare state in comparative perspective, and both an undergraduate and a graduate seminar on comparative public policy next academic year. He also said he would like to continue his research on risk redistribution in advanced industrial countries.

Hacker said his wife, Oono Hathaway, was also appointed to the Yale faculty as an associate professor of law.

Shapiro said Razaghian, a doctoral student at Columbia, turned down an offer at Harvard to teach at Yale. He said he considered Razaghian one of his top two choices for the position.

Razaghian specializes in the topic of national banks and public credit. She is capable of teaching courses on American political economy, American political institutions or American politics in general, Shapiro said.

Razaghian could not be reached for comment.

Hacker said that Yale’s history and its learning environment make it particularly appealing for professors.

“I think there is a tradition of scholarship at Yale, and I think it has been reinvigorated under the current chair of political science,” Hacker said.