Campus & Community

Skocpol joins Radcliffe as senior adviser

3 min read

Will be among faculty who devote time to program development

Theda Skocpol, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), has accepted a three-year term as a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study senior adviser in the social sciences, effective Jan. 1.

Skocpol, who is also the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and director of the Center for American Political Studies, will join other faculty of the University who devote a portion of their time to Radcliffe Institute program development and administrative leadership.

“Theda Skocpol’s distinguished scholarship and her institutional commitment are well known and admired. I now look forward to her service to Radcliffe as senior adviser in the social sciences. I am especially pleased that her new position as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will facilitate collaborations among departments and between scholars at all stages, including graduate students,” said Drew Gilpin Faust, the dean of the Radcliffe Institute and the Lincoln Professor of History in FAS.

“I look forward to working with Dean Faust and other colleagues at Radcliffe to develop the institute’s programs, which contribute in many ways to the play of ideas and the growth of intellectual community at our university. We live in a time when students and scholars alike are looking for creative ways to cross disciplinary boundaries, often to address pressing public issues from new angles of vision. Radcliffe plays a strong role in fostering fresh connections and innovative ideas at Harvard,” said Skocpol.

Educated at Michigan State University and Harvard University, Skocpol has focused her research on American politics and public policy in historical and comparative perspective, and on the development of voluntary associations and interest groups in U.S. democracy. She includes gender and women’s political activities in analyses that seek to sharpen our sense of long-term political transformations and their normative import. Skocpol taught at Harvard between 1975 and 1981, and, after a time at the University of Chicago, became the first woman with tenure in Harvard’s sociology department. Her current appointment is centered in the government department.

Skocpol is the author of many books and articles, most recently “The Missing Middle: Working Families and the Future of American Social Policy” (W.W. Norton and The Century Foundation, 2000) and “Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life” (University of Oklahoma Press, 2003). She has served as president of the Social Science History Association (1996) and the American Political Science Association (2002 – 2003). She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Social Insurance, and has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Active in civic as well as academic life, Skocpol advised the Clinton White House on policy issues, writes scholarly and popular articles, and is a frequent source for television, radio, and other reporters. Skocpol is currently coordinating a major research project on civic engagement in American democracy, considering the rise and development of voluntary associations from 1970 to the present.

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is a scholarly community where individuals pursue advanced work across a wide range of academic disciplines, professions, and creative arts. Within this broad purpose, the institute sustains a continuing commitment to the study of women, gender, and society.