In a move to expand its faculty, Yale’s political science department recently tapped into the Midwestern academic community, recruiting three new senior faculty members from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, Political Science chairman Ian Shapiro said.

Yale’s recruiting effort is concurrent with the University’s commitment to accommodate growing student interest in the field, professors said. With 335 junior and senior majors, political science eclipsed economics last year to become the University’s second most popular undergraduate major after history.

Two senior professors, one specializing in violence in the context of civil wars and the other specializing in comparative politics, joined the faculty this fall. The third senior professor, who served as Northwestern’s Political Science chairman, will begin teaching about the political distribution of income and wealth in the fall of 2004, Shapiro said.

The department also hired two new junior professors this year.

“The University made a decision to expand the Political Science department five years ago in response to growing student demand,” Shapiro said. “We’re the only department in the social sciences that [Yale] chose to expand so far.”

New Yale hire Michael Wallerstein, 52, has been a senior professor at Northwestern since 1994. In that year, Northwestern recruited him from UCLA, where he taught for 10 years. Wallerstein was chairman of the university’s Political Science department and served a two-year term as president of the comparative politics section of the American Political Science Association.

Wallerstein could not be reached for comment this weekend.

Yale successfully wooed senior political science professor Stathis Kalyvas from the University of Chicago earlier this year. Kalyvas said he thought Yale’s department was expanding to become a “top player in political science,” while the University of Chicago’s department remained relatively stagnant.

“Insofar as [Yale’s Political Science department] is expanding, there is an opportunity to shape the direction in which the department is going, and also at the same token to shape the direction that political science is moving,” Kalyvas said.

Kalyvas, 39, will teach a course next semester on violence and civil strife. The course will analyze political violence, particularly in the context of civil war. He taught a similar course at the University of Chicago.

Yale also recruited senior political science professor Peter Swenson from Northwestern this year. Swenson, 48, joined the Yale faculty this fall and will teach courses focusing on the origins and evolution of collective bargaining regimes and welfare states.

Swenson could not be reached for comment this weekend.

Junior political science professor Khalilah Brown-Dean came to Yale this fall after earning her doctorate from Ohio State University this spring. She will teach courses in African-American politics, specializing on voting rights and representation.

Brown-Dean said she considered moving to Atlanta to teach at Emory University, but accepted Yale’s offer because she thought Yale had a stronger political science department.

“Emory has a growing department and it’s in a rebuilding phase, [but] it pales in comparison [to Yale] in terms of reputation and also in terms of resources,” Brown-Dean said. “Yale offers a strong intellectual community, a strong department that I would become a part of, and the opportunity to teach strong students as well.”

Yale also recruited junior political science professor Ange-Marie Hancock from Pennsylvania State University this year. Hancock, 34, will also teach African-American politics and women’s studies. She currently holds an appointment in both Yale’s Political Science department and its African-American studies department.

Hancock could not be reached for comment this weekend.