Joseph J. Karlesky is the Honorable and Mrs. John C. Kunkel Professor of Government. He received his bachelor's degree from La Salle College and his Ph.D. in Public Law and Government from Columbia University.

He is co-author of The State of Academic Science: The Universities in the Nation's Research Effort and co-author of three editions of American Government, an American government textbook. He has authored the monograph, Thinking About Environmental Policy. His article, “Collaboration by Deflection: Coping with Spent Nuclear Fuel,” was published in the March-April 2012 edition of the Public Administration Review. His article, “Laboratories in a Democracy: Science and Hard Public Policy,” was published in the Winter 2012 issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal.

He has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C and has served as a consultant for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on home rule for municipalities and on academic science policy for the State of Montana. He has served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Franklin and Marshall and as co-director of the University of Pennsylvania Master of Governmental Administration Program in Harrisburg.

His teaching and research interests focus on public policy, particularly on the use of scientific evidence in policy debates and on the interrelationships between public policy and science and technology and the consequences of these interrelationships for policies in energy and health.