Vincent Hutchings and Elisabeth Gerber join the 2012 class of new members who were elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an independent policy research center that conducts studies on complex and emerging problems through a multidisciplinary approach.  One of its goals is to honor excellence by electing to membership men and women of exceptional achievements in a broad range of disciplines.  Hutchings’ and Gerber’s  research have made remarkable impacts in the disciplines of political science and public policy, and these achievements have been recognized by the Academy.  

Vincent Hutchings, a Professor of Political Science and an affiliate of the Department of African American Studies and of the Institute for Social Research, has made innovative contributions to the areas of public opinion, elections, voting behavior, and African American politics. His 2003 book entitled Public Opinion and Democratic Accountability: How Citizens Learn About Politics, focuses on how, and under what circumstances, citizens monitor and influence their elected representative's voting behavior.  His work has also examined how campaign communications can subtly (and not so subtly) prime voter's racial and other group-based attitudes and subsequently affect their political decisions. Professor Hutchings has received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation, most recently for his project entitled “Elite Communications and Racial Group Conflict in the 21st Century.” This project examines how political appeals can either diminish or exacerbate tensions among different racial and ethnic groups in America.  Professor Hutchings is currently the University of Michigan Principal Investigator for the American National Election Study for the 2012 election cycle.

Elisabeth Gerber is a Professor of Public Policy in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, a Professor (by courtesy) of Political Science, and a Research Associate in the Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.  Her noteworthy contributions have been in regionalism and intergovernmental cooperation, transportation policy, state and local economic policy, land use and economic development, local fiscal capacity, and local political accountability.  Professor Gerber has also written extensively on direct democracy, particularly the direct legislative process.  In addition to writing numerous articles, she authored the book, The Populist Paradox: Interest Group Influence and the Promise of Direct Legislation, and co-authored the book, Stealing the Initiative: How State Government Responds to Direct Democracy.  Professor Gerber has written on other topics as well, including but not limited to, the blanket primary, race and ethnicity politics, the state and local policymaking process, and representation and responsiveness.  

In addition to making creative contributions to the research endeavors in their respective areas of expertise, Professors Gerber and Hutchings are also invested in the education and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.  Professor Gerber teaches a variety of graduate courses including:  

  • State and Local Policy Analysis, 
  • Integrated Policy Exercise, and
  • Community and Economic Development, and
  • Program Evaluation.   

Professor Hutchings teaches a variety of undergraduate courses including:

  • American Political Processes, 
  • Public Opinion and Pressure Groups, 
  • Black Americans and the Political System, and 
  • Racial Attitudes in the U.S. and Around the World. 

He also teaches the graduate level seminar, African Americans and the Politics of Race.

Congratulations to these two distinguished scholars!

(Bai Linh Hoang is a doctoral student in American Politics.)