Rachel VanSickle-Ward

Rachel VanSickle-Ward

Professor of Political Studies

With Pitzer Since: 2007
Field Group: Political Studies
Campus Address: Bernard 203
Email: [email protected]
Office Hours: See Faculty Directory


Rachel VanSickle-Ward (B.A. Pitzer College; M.A. and Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) is a Professor of Political Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. Her research and teaching interests include public policy, public law, gender and politics and elections.  She has published work on the politics of statutory language, gender and political ambition, voting access, and administrative law. Her first book, The Devil is in the Details: Understanding the Causes of Policy Specificity and Ambiguity (SUNY Press, 2014) was awarded the Herbert A. Simon Book Award in 2018.   Her book on birth control politics and policy, The Politics of the Pill, was published by Oxford University Press (2019). She recently co-edited a volume on Hillary Clinton’s legacy, The Hillary Effect (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020). She is a frequent commentator on KPCC’s Take Two (Southern California Public Radio). Her writing and commentary has appeared in Talking Points MemoThe Washington Post (The Monkey Cage), U.S News and World Report, MS. Magazine and TIME Magazine.

Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

MA, PhD, University of California, Berkeley
BA, Pitzer College

Courses Taught

  • Reproductive Rights
  • Introduction to Public Policy
  • Law and Politics
  • US Campaigns and Elections
  • US Democracy in Comp. Perspective
  • The Battle Over Birth Control
  • Gender, Politics, and Culture
  • California Politics
  • Women in Politics
  • Research Methods
  • Direct Democracy
  • Health Inequities

Selected Publications


The Hillary Effect: Perspectives on Clinton’s Legacy Cargile (co-edited with Ivy AM Cargile, Denise S. Davis, and Jennifer L. Merolla). Bloomsbury Publishing. July 2020. 

The Politics of the Pill: Gender, Framing and Policymaking in the Battle over Birth Control (with Kevin Wallsten). Oxford University Press. October 2019.

The Devil is in the Details: Understanding the Causes of Policy Specificity and Ambiguity. SUNY Press. January 2014.  Paperback released in 2015.  (Winner of the 2018 Herbert A. Simon Book Award).  

Peer Reviewed Articles

“Abortion, Attitudes and Appointments: How Gender and Reproductive Rights shaped views on Amy Coney Barrett and voter turnout in 2020” (with Adrian Pantoja, Dana Nothnagel and Morrey Liedke), Journal of Women, Politics and Policy (January 2023).

“Waiting to Vote in the 2016 Presidential Election: Evidence from a Multi-county Study.” (with Robert M. Stein, et al.) Political Research Quarterly (March 2019).

“Pedagogical Value of Polling Place Observation By Students” (with Christopher B. Mann et al.). PS: Political Science & Politics (May 2018): 1-7.

Page last updated on December 4, 2023