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Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

American Political Science Association Institute for Civically Engaged Research (ICER)

Logo of the American Political Science Association

June 17-22, 2019
Tufts University

Background and Purpose

Scholars in many disciplines are grappling with how to produce rigorous scholarship that addresses significant social challenges in collaboration with communities, organizations, and agencies. They strive to learn from non-academics, to benefit from the research capacity of all kinds of groups and institutions, and to give back to communities rather than extract value from them. Although political scientists offer models of excellence in civically engaged research, relevant methods and strategies are not yet widely taught in the discipline’s graduate programs or sufficiently valued in the profession as a whole. 

Therefore, the American Political Science Association (APSA) Council has authorized an annual APSA Institute for Civically Engaged Research (ICER) to begin in summer 2019. ICER is intended for advanced graduate students in political science and political scientists at any stage of their careers who wish to shift to using civically engaged research. It is not meant for scholars who are already experienced in that approach.

Content of the Institute 

The Institute will address topics such as: 

  • Expertise: what do political scientists contribute? What are the limitations of scholarly expertise? What expertise do others have?
  • The needs of scholars as compared to community groups or political actors. Tensions and ways of addressing them.
  • The ethics of collaboration: sharing of credit, funds and overhead, IRB issues, sharing results, dealing with disagreements.
  • Communicating results: to partners, communities, the press, directly to the broad public. Dealing with controversy.
  • How to define and honor values of like neutrality, objectivity, and rigor.
  • Career issues:  publication and credit, tenure and promotion, fundraising.
  • Mapping the different and varied ways that political scientists engage.

We will explore these issues by discussing relevant readings, by analyzing specific examples of civically engaged political science research, and by considering the research plans and ideas of the participants in the Institute.

The Institute will take place on the campus of Tufts University, in the Boston area, from June 17-22, 2019. Approximately twenty participants will meet each day from June 17-20 for intensive discussions. Participants are expected to attend the Frontiers of Democracy conference with approximately 120 other scholars and practitioners from the evening of June 20 until noon on June 22 in downtown Boston.

How to Apply

Thanks to support from the APSA, participation in the Institute and the conference is free, and scholarships are available to defray costs of travel, food, and housing in dormitories on the Tufts campus. Applicants are expected to seek financial support from their home institution, but admission to the Institute for Civically Engaged Research will not be affected by financial need.

To apply, please complete this form by March 31. It will ask for 1) your name, your institution, and program of study or current employment; 2) your reasons for interest in the Institute; 3) your background in political science research and in civically engaged research; 4) your areas of special research interest; and 5) your demographics. You are also asked to upload your CV and your unofficial academic transcript if you are a current graduate student or earned a PhD within the last five years.

People

Confirmed speakers and visitors include: Valeria Sinclair Chapman (Purdue), Archon Fung (Harvard), Taeku Lee (Berkeley), Robert Lieberman (Johns Hopkins), Jamila Michener (Cornell), Amy Cabrera Rasmussen (Cal State-Long Beach), Pearl Robinson (Tufts), and Rogers Smith (University of Pennsylvania). 

Also involved with the Institute are Amanda Grigg (APSA) and Hahrie Han (University of California Santa Barbara).

The organizer and Principal Investigator on the project is Peter Levine (Tufts’ Tisch College of Civic Life and Department of Political Science). 

Related Opportunities 

  • The 11th annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies will take place at Tufts’ Tisch College of Civic Life from June 23-28, 2019, following ICER. It is highly interdisciplinary and focused on a set of readings about how people work together to improve the world, how people reason together about what is right to do, and what practices and institutional structures promote these kinds of citizenship. Applications are due on March 30, 2019.
  • The Center on Democracy and Organizing (CDO) is seeking applications from advanced Ph.D. students and early career researchers and organizers for participation in an interdisciplinary institute focused on the study of democracy and organizing. This institute will be held from July 31 to August 2 at the University of California, Berkeley. Political scientists are encouraged to apply. The organizers of the APSA/Tufts Institute and the CDO institute will ensure that the content does not overlap substantially. 
  • The fifth annual European Institute of Civic Studies will take place in Herrsching, near Munich, Germany, from July 14-27, 2019. It is open to graduate students and scholars in any discipline who are citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Poland, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan. To apply, send a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, and an academic transcript (if applicable) to Prof. Kloubert at Tetyana.Kloubert@ku.de by March 15, 2019, for best consideration
     
  • Postdoctoral Fellowships at Tisch College:
  1. Tufts University will award a Post-Doctoral Fellowship to a scholar with expertise in American political behavior and survey data analysis for the 2019-20 academic year. The Fellowship is partly funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and will be awarded to a scholar with a Ph.D. in Political Science or a related discipline with research interests that intersect with the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). Applicants should have completed the requirements for their Ph.D. by the time of appointment, which is planned for August 1, 2019. The post-doc will be located at Tufts University in the Department of Political Science and in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. More information and application materials are here.
     
  2. Tisch College will award a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Civic Science for the 2019-20 academic year (June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020). This postdoctoral fellowship is offered in partnership with the Charles F. Kettering Foundation in Dayton, OH, and involves some work at Kettering’s offices in Dayton as well as full-time employment at Tufts in the Boston area. The Tisch College Civic Science initiative, led by Dr. Jonathan Garlick, aims to reframe how key participants—scientists, the public, the media, institutions of higher education, and other stakeholders engage the national dialogue about science issues. Civic Science is interdisciplinary, and this fellowship is open to a PhD in any relevant field. The Fellow will conduct research related to Civic Science, both independently and in collaboration with Prof. Garlick and the Kettering Foundation. He or she will teach one course to undergraduates in the Civic Studies Major. The Fellow will attend orientation and research meetings at the Kettering Foundation as requested. More information and application materials are here.

Both Postdoctoral Fellows will attend and participate in the Summer Institute of Civic Studies at Tisch College.