The APSA Executive Director’s Corner

Steven Rathgeb Smith • American Political Science Association


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Greetings!  I hope you and your family are healthy and OK in these challenging times.  I am grateful for the opportunity to update you on programmatic developments at APSA, especially as it pertains to the concerns and priorities of department chairs.  I also would like to express my appreciation for the excellent work of Alycia Chau in supporting our department chairs’ programming and her efforts in the preparation of this quarterly newsletter. The APSA leadership believe department chairs are central to the success of our varied and growing array of programs in support of our membership. For this reason, we are actively increasing our support for department chairs through professional development resources like a recent panel on career diversity for political scientists, chaired by APSA president, Janet Box-Steffensmeier. We have also increased our professional development offerings at the upcoming 2021 annual meeting in Seattle which will be held in-person with a significant virtual component. We are looking forward to our traditional department chairs luncheon, and are also planning a career fair, drawing upon the many universities in the region as well as local non-academic employers. In addition, several panels are designed for graduate students and their career advancement and development. In the coming months, we also plan to increase our resources for department chairs on the APSA website.

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We also regard department chairs as absolutely critical to APSA’s priority goal of promoting greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the discipline.  APSA has many longstanding programs to support diversity including the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) and the Diversity Fellowship Program (formerly the Minority Fellowship Program). However, the key role of political science departments in hiring, promotion and professional development, positions them as central to the long-term success of the association in creating a more diverse and inclusive discipline.   Let me know if you have any comments or questions about APSA plans and programming. I can be reached at smithsr@apsanet.org.  Thank you.


Steven Rathgeb Smith is the executive director of the American Political Science Association. Previously, he was the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Public Administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He also taught for many years at the University of Washington where he was the Nancy Bell Evans Professor of Public Affairs at the Evans School of Public Affairs and director of the Nancy Bell Evans Center for Nonprofits & Philanthropy. In addition, he has taught at Georgetown, Duke, American University, and Washington University in St. Louis. From 1997 to 2004, he was editor of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and, from 2006 to 2008, president of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. He is currently president of the International Society for Third Sector Research.

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