Katherine Vigilante

Senior Lecturer in Political Science and Director, Civic Engagement and Democratic Participation Program Program

Katie Vigilante, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, received her A.A. from Oxford College in 1990, her B.A. from Emory University in 1992, her M.A. from Emory in 2002, and her Ph.D. from Emory University in 2010.

She was a doctoral teaching fellow at Emory University in 2000-2001 and entered doctoral candidacy in 2004.

Completing her doctorate in 2010, titled: Deconstructing and Constructing Activism: A New Measure of Applied to the 50 U.S. State Courts of Last Resort. Her research interests continue to be about courts, particularly the effect of campaigns on judicial indpendence.

She directed the Supplemental Instruction program from 2008-2014, chaired the Oxford College Honors Program from 2014-2018. Currently, she is the Director of The Civic Engagement and Democratic Participation (CEDP) program, a program she founded in 2019 to extend the work she is heavily involved in with the Emory Votes Initiative to the Oxford Campus.

Professor Vigilante's primary interest is in American Politics, particularly in judicial institutions and judicial policy making. She also has a scholarly interest in elections and voting behavior as well as research methods and design with a particular emphasis on measurement. 

Her teaching interests and courses include:


  • Introduction to Politics
  • National Politics
  • Intermediate National Politics
  • Civil Liberties and Rights
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Justice
  • Political Research Methods and Design
  • Voting and Elections


AA| Oxford College| 1990

BA| Emory University| 1992

PhD| Emory University| 2010

Courses Taught

Introduction to Political Science (Pols 101Q)

National Politics of the U.S. (Pols 100)

Political Science Research Methods (Pols 208Q)

Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties in the U.S. (Pols 353)

Constitutional Law: Institutions and Constraints in the U.S. (Pols 352)

Constitutional Law: Criminal Justice in the U.S. (Pols 354)

Intermediate National Politics of the U.S. (Pols 200)

Discovery Seminar: The Protest Story


Chair, Oxford College Honors Program


Peppers, T., Vigilante, K, and Zorn, C. 2012. RANDOM CHANCE OR LOADED DICE: THE POLITICS OF JUDICIAL DESIGNATION. University of New Hampshire Law Review. Voume 10, no. 1. pp. 69-97.


AGLS. 2012. Portland, Oregon: The Implementation of an Inquiry Driven General Education Program for Freshman and Sophomores at Oxford College.

July 2020. Online. Webinar, Democracy Works, TurboVote : Designing Student Voter Outreach in the time of Covid

Sept 2020. Online. National Voter Registration Day EVI Panelist 

Oct 2020. Online. Webinar, The Crisis in Voting, featured speaker.


Research Interests

Judicial Politics and Policy Making. 

Judicial Activism and the Politics of Judicial Elections

Measurement and Research Design

Applied Design: Student Voting and Engagement