Dr. Elizabeth Bennion is Chancellor's Professor of Political Science and Director of Community Engagement at Indiana University South Bend. As head of the Office of Community Engagement, Bennion is responsible for supporting, promoting, tracking, and celebrating community-engaged teaching, research, service, and partnerships in the region.
Bennion holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College and an MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She joined IU South Bend's Department of Political Science in 1999 and rose through the ranks as an instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor, earning the rank of distinction as Chancellor's Professor in 2021.
Professor Bennion teaches American politics, with an emphasis on political behavior and election politics. She is the founding director of IU South Bend's American Democracy Project, Director of Voter Services and Education for the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area, and host of WNIT's live weekly television program Politically Speaking. In these capacities, she moderates political discussions, public issue forums, and candidate debates for local, state, and national candidates. She is also an active member of the Indiana Debate Commission, the nation's oldest statewide debate commission (serving as a Commissioner since 2017 and as president from 2020-2023).
A nationally recognized expert on civic education and political engagement, Professor Bennion has won numerous local, state, and national awards for her teaching and service, and has published widely in academic books, journals, and newsletters.
With over 80 publications, 200 invited presentations, and 600 media appearances, Dr. Bennion is committed to sharing her research and teaching beyond the classroom. Her work as a teacher and scholar has been featured in Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, and other national publications. In addition to her appearances on local, national, and international media outlets, she is a frequent speaker at community-sponsored events, academic conferences, and college campuses nationwide.
Bennion is co-editor of three books on teaching civic engagement: Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen (2013), Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines (2017), and Teaching Civic Engagement Globally (2021). She is also the principal investigator for several large-scale, multi-campus field experiments testing the best way to mobilize student voters and co-PI for several national student surveys and survey-based experiments. Dr. Bennion is currently working on several projects including a new book entitled Teaching Experimental Political Science (Edward Elgar Publishing). She lives in South Bend with her husband and four children.
Honors and Awards
Chancellor's Professor, 2021.
- Award established for a full professor with highly meritorious performance in all areas of faculty work. The title, which is held in perpetuity, recognizes a record of extensive accomplishment and leadership in teaching, research, and campus service.
Walter Beach Pi Sigma Alpha Award, 2020.
- National award presented by the National Capital Area Political Science Association to a political scientist who has made a significant contribution to strengthening the connection between public service and political science.
Trustees' Teaching Award, 2019.
- University award for teaching excellence given annually to no more than 6% of the faculty on each IU campus.
- Dr. Bennion has won this award NINE times. (Rules passed in 2015 limit this award to once every three years).
Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement, 2016, 2019
- National award presented by the American Association of State Colleges & Universities to a senior faculty member who has demonstrated leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students.
Brian Douglas Hiltunen Faculty Award, 2016
- Statewide award by Indiana Campus Compact to one faculty member annually. This statewide award recognizes the Outstanding Contribution to the Scholarship of Engagement.
Maud Wood Park Award, 2015.
- Local award presented by the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area for service to the League and the advancement of civic education and engagement in the Michiana area.
Legacy Award, 2015.
- Campus award presented to one faculty member annually by the Alumni Association of IU South Bend. Awarded to a faculty member who has made a significant positive impact on the lives of students.
City Council Resolution 4347-14, 2014.
- A Resolution of the Common Council of the City of South Bend Publicly Commending IUSB Professor Elizabeth Bennion who Serves our Community through her Excellence in Teaching, Student-Faculty Interaction, and Collaboration in Life-Long Learning. April 28, 2014.
Michiana Forty under 40, 2012.
- Community award presented by the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce to recognize 40 young professionals under the age of 40 for their contribution and accomplishments in their workplace and community.
Club Advisor of the Year, 2011.
- Student Government Association award presented to the student organization advisor who has demonstrated the greatest commitment to, and success promoting, student involvement.
Eldon F. Lundquist Award, 2011.
- Campus award presented to a meritorious faculty member of Indiana University, South Bend Campus, who has exhibited excellence in teaching, scholarly or artistic achievement, and diversified relevant service, including community service throughout the Michiana region.
W. George Pinnell Award for Outstanding Service, 2009.
- All-IU award presented to a faculty member of Indiana University (any campus) who has provided exceptional service (continuing effort and unusual achievement) to the university, to the profession, and/or to the community extending over a period of at least five years.
Faculty Colloquium for Excellence in Teaching, 2004.
- A colloquium for university teachers who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to teaching excellence. Faculty are selected (and inducted) from all IU campuses after a rigorous campuswide and statewide review process.
Faculty Research Grants
- 20 research grants/awards totaling more than $288,000
Political Engagement Grants
- 15 political engagement grants totaling $66,000
For a complete list of research grants, political engagement grants, and professional development grants received see unabridged CV.