headshot photo of Dr. Kevin O'Leary

Dr. Kevin O'Leary

Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Department of Political Science
Honors Program
Office Location: Roosevelt Hall
Office Hours: By appointment
Phone: (714) 402-8635
First-year Foundations Program


Kevin O’Leary (Ph.D., Yale University) is an Assistant Professor in the Honors Program.  He also teaches in the Political Science Department and in the Freshman Foundations Course (FFC) program.  A political scientist and journalist, Professor O’Leary is the author of Saving Democracy: A Plan for Real Representation in America (Stanford University Press, 2006, paper), a book that shows how we can improve democracy in America by instituting citizen assemblies in congressional districts across the nation.  Saving Democracy received praise from James Fallows of The Atlantic and E.J. Dionne Jr. of the Washington Post and was a finalist for American Political Science Association’s 2007 Michael Harrington Award for “an outstanding book that demonstrates how scholarship can be used in the struggle for a better world.”  Saving Democracy was reviewed in Political Theory and Perspectives on Politics.  Currently writing a book about American politics, Professor O’Leary is also a Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at UC Irvine.  He previously taught at UCLA and the Claremont Colleges.  

As a journalist, O’Leary has been a contributing writer for TIME covering California and the West Coast from 2009 to 2011, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, editorial page editor of the Pasadena Star-News and its sister papers and editor of OC METRO magazine from 1998 to 2003 where he won several awards for best magazine story from the Orange County Press Club. 

Professor O’Leary teaches courses on political argument and rhetoric, revolution and philosophy, modern political theory, American politics and democracy.  While an undergraduate at UCLA, he traveled widely in Europe and spent a year in Kenya where he taught high school.