As of Fall 2017, I have joined University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s School of Public Policy as the director. Excellent scholars in the school work on evaluation research, health, public management, education and environment, coordinating with faculty across the university for the benefit of the people of Maryland. The equity mission for the university is inspiring. I will be sad to leave my colleagues and students in my current position, where I’m a professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech, based just outside of Washington, DC in Alexandria, Virginia. I work in sociolegal studies, or what people and organizations do with law. I teach, think and write about what people and institutions do with law, particularly in social welfare.
I served as a program officer for three years at the National Science Foundation in Law and Social Sciences. Before that, I was an associate dean for arts, humanities and social sciences at the University of Denver. I also chaired the political science department.
With Jeannine Bell (Indiana University) and Margot Young (University of British Columbia), I edit Law and Society Review, a peer reviewed journal about what people do with law and what law does with people and things. Be sure to check out the LSR blog, sharing new research in sociolegal studies.
I also have been working with colleagues on collaboration as ethics in the new data analytics; Kelly Joyce and I held a workshop in Arlington, VA September 29-30, 2016 (Funded by NSF #1623445).
Jennifer Diascro, Judith Grant and I are working on advancement in the academy through diagnosing loss and failure. Storytelling illuminates complex problems in the changing academy. We look forward to our workshop, to be held in Washington, DC in October of 2017. We are grateful for funding from NSF (#1643084). We hope to supplement the advice that circulates, since following advice is difficult and assumes one person knows stuff and another doesn’t.
My ongoing project on displacement, disaster and social welfare has led me to a project on how city governments think about how to use information, particularly in adapting to sea level rise. I have published in journals including Law and Policy, Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Politics, Groups and Identities, Studies in American Political Development, Comparative Political Studies.
My second book, Public Pensions: gender and civic service in the states, 1850s-1937 (Cornell University Press, 2003) contributes to the revision of how we understand how American constituitonal change happened historically: challenges to public spending bubbled in the states for many years, contributing to the shifting groundwork confronting the United States Supreme Court during the New Deal. My first book Creating Constitutionalism? (University of Michigan Press, 1997) addresses how lawyers, civil servants, and intellectuals contributed to building the revised order for legal accountability in Britain, before the Human Rights Act in 2000. The press of immigration cases led practitioners to wish to simplify procedures; the significance of immigration to constitutionalism led to the symposium I edited for Law and Policy, which came out in October 2016.