Arts & Sciences

Dr. Paul Nolette named director of Les Aspin Center for Government

Dr. Paul Nolette, associate professor and chair of political science at Marquette, has been named the next director of the university’s Les Aspin Center for Government. Nolette, who joined the Political Science Department in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, will begin in his new role on June 1.

A nationally sought-after expert on state attorneys general and contemporary American politics, Nolette will lead the center, which provides academic and internship programming focused on the public policy making process through offerings in Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee.

“The Les Aspin Center for Government is one of Marquette’s premier and most unique academic programs, and Dr. Nolette is well positioned to continue its strong legacy and move it forward in new ways for the betterment of the students it serves,” Provost Kimo Ah Yun said.

“Dr. Nolette is a distinguished teacher-scholar with a national reputation for his expertise on state attorneys general, and his rapport with and commitment to students is outstanding,” said Dr. Heidi Bostic, dean of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences. “A proven leader through his work as chair of the Department of Political Science, Dr. Nolette also has experience in Washington, D.C., and has established a strong relationship with many of our wonderful alumni and donors. He is an outstanding leader for the Aspin Center for Government as we look forward to the center’s future flourishing in service to our students and Marquette’s mission.”

“I am excited for this opportunity to serve as the director of the Les Aspin Center for Government,” Nolette said. “The Aspin Center has been life-changing for students interested in public policy and public service, and I am eager to explore new opportunities for research, internships, and academic programming that build upon the center’s strengths. I look forward to working with college and university leaders, students and faculty, and our over 3,000 Aspin Center alumni on plans to provide an outstanding study away experience in our nation’s capital for the next generation of Aspin students.” 

About Dr. Paul Nolette (full bio online) 

Nolette’s teaching and research interests focus on the dynamics of contemporary American federalism, courts and public policy, and the interplay between politics and law. His book, “Federalism on Trial: State Attorneys General and National Policymaking in Contemporary America” (University Press of Kansas, 2015), examines how state litigators have used lawsuits against large corporations and the federal government to influence national policy. Nolette’s research on the politics of state attorneys general has also appeared in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Law and Social Inquiry, and Polity. He also has worked with the National Association of Attorneys General, the nonpartisan national organization for these state officials, on a variety of research projects.

Nolette’s work on state attorneys general has been featured in numerous national media outlets, including National Public Radio, the New York Times, CBS Evening News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the National Law Journal, the Boston Globe, Governing Magazine, BBC World Service, Politico, Law360, Time Magazine, and U.S. News & World Report and others. He is also a frequent guest on local media to discuss political developments in Wisconsin and nationally, including WDJT-TV (CBS 58), WTMJ-TV (NBC 4), WITI-TV (FOX 6), WISN-TV (ABC 12), WTMJ Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin State Journal and others.

Nolette completed his Ph.D. in political science at Boston College prior to joining the Marquette faculty in fall 2011. He also received a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2004 and a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Anselm College in 2001. After law school, Nolette worked in a litigation law firm and later served as the legal counsel for the Labor and Workforce Development Committee in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

About the Les Aspin Center for Government 

The Les Aspin Center for Government provides academic and internship programming focused on the public policy making process. With offerings in Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee, the Les Aspin Center integrates theoretical and experiential approaches to generating knowledge and provides its students, faculty, and staff with the opportunity to contribute to ethical, substantive and innovative policy making work — locally, domestically and internationally.

Over the past 35 years, more than 3,000 Les Aspin Center students have interned at nearly 100 congressional offices, the State Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Secret Service, the White House, the Department of Defense, the Federal Communications Commission, nonprofit organizations, private firms, and offices for Wisconsin-based corporations.

At any given time, there are approximately 50 Les Aspin Center alumni working as professional staff members in Congress. Alumni also have tremendous opportunities to work at other levels of government throughout the country and world.