Richard Powell

Professor/Director of the Cohen Institute for Leadership & Public Service
PhD, MA, Northwestern University
BA, Connecticut College
243 North Stevens Hall
(207) 581-1795

Richard J. Powell
is Professor of Political Science and Director of the William S. Cohen Institute for Leadership & Public Service. He also oversees the Peter Madigan ’81 Congressional Internship Program and Kenneth Palmer Maine State Legislative Internship Program. His research and teaching interests include the U.S. Presidency, Congress, Leadership, Elections, and American Political Thought. He serves as the advisor for UMaine’s interdisciplinary minor in Leadership Studies. In 2019, he was a finalist for the Distinguished Maine Professor Award, UMaine’s highest faculty honor.

Professor Powell is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on presidential-congressional relations, presidential communications, presidential and congressional elections, and state politics. He has co-authored The 2016 Presidential Election: The Causes and Consequences of a Political Earthquake (Lexington Books, 2017), The 2012 Presidential Election: Forecasts, Outcomes, and Consequences (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), Legislating Without Experience: Case Studies in State Legislative Term Limits (Lexington Books, 2007) and Changing Members: The Maine Legislature in the Era of Term Limits (Lexington Books, 2004). His current research is focused on the spatial and demographic aspects of partisan gerrymandering, as well as a project on Catholic Political Thought in the American context.

Dr. Powell is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach who specializes in developing high-performance teams, as well as individual Strengths coaching.

In 2010 he was a Fulbright Lecturer at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China (one of the top five universities in China), where he taught graduate-level courses on American elections and political institutions. He has also lectured at some of China’s top universities including Tsinghua University (Beijing), Fudan University (Shanghai), Sichuan University (Chengdu), Northwest University (Xi’an), and Xi’an International Studies University (Xi’an).

He is a past recipient of the Founder’s Award from the PRG of the American Political Science Association for his research on presidential speechmaking and travel. He has been a frequent commentator in the local and national media, and had been interviewed by a number of major news outlets including the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Newsweek. His work has been featured on Nate Silver’s He has served on the executive councils of the American Political Science Association’s Presidency Research Group and the New England Political Science Association, and is a past editor of the Presidency Research Group Report.

Professor Powell joined the University of Maine faculty in 2001. Prior to coming to the University of Maine, he taught at Hamilton College (where he was Director of the Semester in Washington DC Program). He has also held visiting faculty appointments at Colby College (Maine) and Beloit College (Wisconsin).

Spring 2019 Office Hours:

  • Mon. 10:00-12:00
  • Tu/Th. 1:00-1:45 and by appointment 
Spring 2019 Courses:
  • POS 100-American Government
  • POS 304-American Political Thought
  • POS 495-Washington D.C. Congressional Internship
  • LDR 100-Foundations of Leadership