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Charles W. “Chuck” Wiggins

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing on May 16 of our friend and colleague, Professor Emeritus Charles W. “Chuck” Wiggins.  Chuck is known throughout the discipline as a well-published scholar of legislative politics and interest groups.  He is remembered in this department as a good and caring teacher […]

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing on May 16 of our friend and colleague, Professor Emeritus Charles W. “Chuck” Wiggins.  Chuck is known throughout the discipline as a well-published scholar of legislative politics and interest groups.  He is remembered in this department as a good and caring teacher and a valued colleague and friend.

Having received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1959 from the University of Iowa, Chuck went on to get his Master’s degree in 1963 and his doctoral degree in 1964 from Washington University in St. Louis.  He then taught at Iowa State University from 1964 to 1981, where he ascended through the ranks from assistant professor to associate and then full professor, the rank he achieved in 1973.  From 1979 through 1981, while still a professor at Iowa State, he entered into government service as an Intergovernmental Relations Specialist with the EPA in Kansas City.  And then, in 1981, he came to our department to head up our Master of Public Administration program, serving as director of that program for eight years.  During that stint and for a decade more, Chuck taught Aggies at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.  He retired in 1999, and since then has held the title of Professor Emeritus of Political Science.

Throughout his academic career, Chuck was an active researcher, with primary interests in legislative politics and interest group politics.  In addition to three book-length projects – two on legislative politics in Iowa and another on legislative politics in Arizona – and eight research reports, Chuck also published 12 book chapters and 23 journal articles, including several in top journals of the field.

But as much as Chuck was a serious scholar, he would undoubtedly say that he was – first and foremost –a teacher of politics.  Always dedicated to making his courses interesting and relevant for his students, Chuck skillfully merged teaching with another of his passions – movies, even developing an honors section of Political Science 207: State and Local Politics, based in a discussion of the political relevance of selected movies.  And he loved to engage his students in discussion – often challenging them to think outside of their own little boxes to gain different perspectives – not necessarily to adopt them, but at least to consider them.

But he was not just an interesting teacher, he was also an interested teacher.  And not just interested in the subject matter, but also interested in each and every individual student!   Chuck cared about his students and was interested in their lives outside the classroom as well as in.  The students knew he cared about them, and they appreciated it.

Chuck will be missed by his many friends in this department.