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Dr. Michael Heffren to Present Free Lecture “What’s Going On? American Politics 1970-2020”

Professor Heffren

Despite the current divisive state of politics in America, Dr. Michael Heffren, HCC professor of social sciences, is optimistic about the future.

“Some might say I’m crazy, but as I study the last 50 years socio-politically, I see the country trending in the right direction,” says Dr. Heffron, who received his B.A. from King’s College (Pennsylvania), and his M.A. and Ph.D from Rutgers University.

As Howard Community College celebrates 50 years since its opening in 1970, Dr. Heffren will reflect on America’s tumultuous history, beginning with the protests of the Vietnam War, the scandal of Watergate, and the ongoing struggle towards racial equity in his lecture.

“The early 1970’s marked the end of one of the biggest economic booms in American history. At this time, inequality had decreased to a point that Americans were more equal at that time than in any point in modern history,” says Dr. Heffren. “However, even with this progress, we were also beginning to see a backlash against civil rights.”

Dr. Heffren’s free community lecture, “What’s Going On? American Politics 1970–2020,” on Tuesday, March 9, at 6 p.m., will highlight these most poignant moments that have defined the political landscape over the past 50 years.

Weaving his way through the prevalence of neoliberalism in the 1980s to the boom of globalization in the 1990s to the election of the President Obama as the first Black president in the 2000s, Dr. Heffren will end his political history tour in 2020 with the end of President Trump and the current state of cultural unrest. While to some it may appear like minimal progress towards a better state of affairs in America, Dr. Heffren assures that there is hope in sight.

“One might ask, ‘is this a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same?’ I don’t think that’s the case at all,” says Dr. Heffren. “There is hope.”

“The hope lies in the fact that people are beginning to recognize that neoliberalism and globalization have left too many people behind. We are now seeing the need for a more inclusive society and economy that takes care of everyone,” he says.

Dr. Heffren is the third in the five-part Social Sciences Lecture Series that takes place on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. during February and March. Dr. Heffren has been teaching full time at HCC since fall 2000 and currently serves as the coordinator for political science courses.

The series continues with Evelyn Del Rosario’s “The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: Know Its Meaning and How It Protects Your Rights” on March 16 and Dr. Eric Clark’s “De-escalation Techniques from Behind the Wall” on March 23.

Each lecture will be held virtually and is free and open to the public. For more information and to register for the lecture series, visit

Topics: Campus Life
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