Professor Spotlight: Doug Spencer

By Nina Pelc-Faszcza

Doug Spencer joined the UConn community in the fall of 2013 as an Associate Professor of Law and Public Policy, having just received a unique Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also received his J.D. Professor Spencer has a dual role as a UConn faculty member; he teaches Constitutional Law and Election Law here at the law school and teaches a graduate Introduction to Public Policy course at UConn’s campus down the road in West Hartford.

Professor Spencer’s academic interests are focused on the empirical study of public law, campaign finance, voting rights, and election administration, and he recently co-authored a reactive article on the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. (See Christopher S. Elmendorf & Douglas M. Spencer, The Geography of Racial Stereotyping: Evidence and Implications for VRA Preclearance After Shelby County, 102 Cal. L. Rev. 1123 (Oct. 2014)). He is currently conducting research on the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965, and will be publishing another co-authored article in the June 2015 edition of the University of Illinois Law Review.

When asked what he has enjoyed the most so far about UConn, Professor Spencer jumped at the opportunity to emphasize how much he sincerely enjoys the people here. “The faculty here is unbelievable, and everybody gets along,” Spencer remarked. He is excited about the future of the school based on UConn’s very impressive group of new professors, and has also loved teaching and getting to know the students on campus. (Professor Spencer would like to give a special shout out to the Spring 2014 Con Law section, his all-time favorite and unbeatably awesome class). “There is a ton of student participation in class, and students are willing to disagree with one another. I didn’t think being a professor would be so fun. This is just an unbelievably comfortable place to be.”

Spencer also raved about the passionate student involvement on campus, whether it be fighting for student organization budgets or planning invaluable events like the PILG auction, He even underscored his deep love and appreciation of Pro Se for informing us all and bringing the community closer together. “I actually read that thing,” he declared. “Whether it’s in my mailbox or in Truffles, it’s the one way for me to connect with what’s happening with the students, faculty, and staff.”

For those of you who are curious about what our professors do outside of school when they’re not researching or attempting to teach us about the law, Doug Spencer can provide some insight.

He loves to read books, ride his bike, play the piano (an instrument he has proudly mastered since the age of 5), and . . . (wait for it . . .) crochet. But, in addition to engaging in these fruitful hobbies and being a full-time professor, Spencer is also a full-time father and loves every minute he spends with his two (soon to be three) children.

And for those of you fortunate enough to have won Professor Spencer’s offering at the PILG auction and will be joining him sometime soon for a night of “dinner and games,” you have many things to look forward to: an amuse bouche in addition to a nice meal, a friendly (yet likely also a little competitive) game of poker, some additional social games yet to be determined, and prizes!

If you read this article and thought to yourself what a great professor, scholar, and person Professor Doug Spencer appears to be, feel free to stop by his office, Chase 315, to find out for yourself.