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James Szymalak

Assistant Professor
Political Science Public Administration
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Specialty area(s)

Public Law & Administration, Public Personnel Management, Ethics, Religion in Government, and Military Law & Administration

I also direct the Legal Studies Minor and serve as a pre-law advisor

Current courses at UWL

POL 221: American Legal System

PUB 210: Contemporary Issues in Government

PUB 340:  Public Personnel Law & Administration

I also serve as the faculty advisor to the UWL Pre-Law Society




PhD in Public Policy, George Mason University School of Policy, Government & International Affairs
JD, Albany Law School of Union University
MBA in Management & Organizations, R.H. Smith School of Business, Univ. of Maryland
BS in Finance, Siena College

Admitted to practice in New York and before the U.S, Supreme Court


Teaching history

FYS 100: Campus Speech

FYS 100: Intellectual Property

PUB 210: Intro to Public Administration

PUB 340: Public Personnel Management

PUB 346: Ethics in Government

POL 221: American Legal System

POL 326: Mock Trial I

POL 329: Mock Trial II

PUB 399: Government Contracting & Fiscal Law

PUB 440 Court Decisions Impacting Public Admin.

PUB 453: Nonprofit Management

PUB 450:  Internships

POL 498:  Honors Research in Politics and Government

Professional history

Prior to joining UWL, I served as a senior Pentagon personnel policy legal advisor within the Department of the Army. During this tenure, I advised upon equal employment & civil rights policy, general civil service policy, and was responsible for civilian attorney management covering more than 1,400 attorneys. I have also served as an Army Judge Advocate focused upon civilian personnel management advising and litigation.

Research and publishing

James N. Szymalak, Expanding Public Employee Religious Accommodation and Its Threat to Administrative Legitimacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

—  Broadens the current post-Obergefell discussion of employee religious accommodation to consider the third-party impacts on public administration

—  Illuminates the myriad legal and supervisory challenges of implementing expanded religion accommodation obligations for public employees

—  Serves as a warning to legislators and policy advocates seeking to enlarge religious accommodation rights

Link to Book Page



James Szymalak, Political Science & Public Administration, was selected to serve on three commissions of the City of La Crosse on Aug. 1. Voting member service began this summer on the City Plan Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and the Police & Fire Commission.

Submitted on: Aug. 28, 2023



James Szymalak, Political Science & Public Administration, presented "FIRE Faculty Promoting Free Expression on Your Campus (and Why You Should)" at FIRE Faculty Network Webinar on Sept. 28 online. FIRE Vice President of Student Outreach Molly Nocheck joined UW-Stout Professor Tim Shiell and UW-La Crosse assistant professor James Szymalak for a discussion on how to effectively advocate for free expression on campus, and how students and faculty can work together in pursuit of this common goal.

Submitted on: Oct. 9, 2022



James Szymalak, Political Science & Public Administration, presented "The Right to Protest" at UW-Stout's Black History Month keynote presentation on Feb. 8 in Menomonie, WI.

Submitted on: April 4, 2022


Memberships & affiliations

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