College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Faculty & Staff

David Speak

Dr. David Speak

Professor of Political Science

PHONE: 909-869-3886


OFFICE: 94-314

OFFICE HOURS: MWF 9:00-10:15am

M 5:00-5:50pm & Tu 10:00-11:50am

Full CV

Academic Area

American Politics, Methodology

Areas of Expertise

Public law, political theory and American government

Research Statement

David M. Speak did his undergraduate work in Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz (AB ’73) and graduate work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MA ’75, PhD ’79). He was an early recipient of the George Hart Award for Faculty Leadership. He has served as faculty advisor to various student organizations. He has served as Chair of the Academic Programs Committee, and on the GE and nascent IT Committees. He served on the Faculty Senate Representative to the ASI Senate. He co-chaired the Ad-hoc Academic Planning Committee which produced the plan adopted for Academic Affairs, which in turn served as the basis for the University Strategic Plan.

Speak has had the honor of serving as an official international election observer during four separate national elections in Central America (Nicaragua in 1990, El Salvador in 1995 and 1997, and Guatemala in 1999) during a period of significant domestic tension in those countries.

He is the author of Living Law: The Transformation of American Jurisprudence in the Early Twentieth Century, New York: Garland Publications, 1987, (part of the American Legal and Constitutional History Series edited by Stuart Bruchey of Columbia University and Harold Hyman of Rice University), and co-author (with Lewis Lipsitz) of two editions of a widely-adopted Intro American Government text, American Democracy, 2/e & 3/e, Lewis Lipsitz and David Speak, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989 & 1993. He edited, with Creighton Peden, The American Constitutional Experiment, Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1979
  • MA, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1975
  • BA, UC Santa Cruz, 1973

Courses Taught

Provides a basic understanding of public law’s theoretical and historical foundation, and its functioning within legislative, judicial and administrative institutions of government.
The nature and sources of law; the process of legal interpretation; the meaning of legal concepts like justice, liberty, responsibility, negligence, punishment.
An examination of administrative ethics as a subfield of the study of public administration in the United States, with special emphasis on practical considerations of individual choice, agency structure and public accountability.


Speak, D.M. and L. Lipsitz. 1993. American Democracy. Independence, KY: Cengage Learning. (Link)
Speak, D.M. and C. Peden. 1991. The American Constitutional Experiment. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. (Link)
Speak, D.M. 1987. Living law: The transformation of American jurisprudence in the early 20th century. New York, NY: Garland Publishing. (Link)