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Partnerships, Initiatives, & Programs

AU Sine Institute Announces 2020 Class of Fellows

In September 2018, American University established the Sine Institute of Policy & Politics as an incubator for policy innovation and a convener of the best minds in the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors, as well as journalism. Bringing together experts and top scholars with students to address the nation’s most pressing challenges with nonpartisan policy solutions, the inaugural class included Abdul El-Sayed, former executive director of the Detroit Health Department and former candidate for governor of Michigan; Bill Haslam, former governor of Tennessee; William Kristol, political analyst and founder of The Weekly Standard; Ruth Marcus, political commentator and columnist for The Washington Post; and Karen Zacarías, playwright and founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater and Latinx Theater Commons. The 2020 Sine Institute Fellows include the following:

  • Alphonso Jackson, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Cody Keenan, Chief Speechwriter for President Barack Obama
  • Katherine Miller, Vice President of Impact at the James Beard Foundation
  • Susan Molinari, Strategist, former Vice President of Public Affairs for Google Public Affairs, and former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • John Tass Parker, Head of Politics and Government at Instagram
  • Janet Rodriguez, White House Correspondent at Univision

The Lincoln Scholars Program

SPA rolled out a new Lincoln Scholars program for students who want to explore the great questions of moral and political life in small seminar classes. The 15-credit Certificate in Political Thought is designed to promote diverse intellectual and political exchanges among conservative, moderate, and liberal students-- as well as those still searching for an ideological home. Students are admitted to the program through a competitive admissions process and receive a $1,000 fellowship for each year of the program they complete.

Event Series for Federal Executives

The 2019 partnership between SPA’s Key Executive Program and Guidehouse-- a leading provider of management, technology, and risk consulting services to the public and commercial markets-- spotlighted public administration challenges faced by federal government executives. SPA and Guidehouse cohosted four events focused on recruiting national security experts, data collection and accuracy, and behavioral science. Together, SPA and Guidehouse launched a podcast, “Mission Is Possible,” which features SPA Executive-in-Residence Sasha Cohen O’Connell as she interviews experts about these issues.

Insight into Women's Political Perspectives

SPA’s Women & Politics Institute commissioned Benenson Strategy Group to conduct a survey in November 2018 that highlighted the views of female voters following the midterm elections. The results of the online survey of 1,200 voters (about 800 of whom were women) confirmed that many women voters strongly dislike President Trump and were troubled by his tone and use of offensive language; however, that aversion wasn’t the only factor driving their votes last fall. When asked what mattered most to them when voting for Congress, 65% of women said that the merits of the individual candidate outweighed his or her likelihood to be a check on Trump. 

Gender on the Ballot

As the conversation and culture around running for office in the United States continue to evolve, SPA’s Women & Politics Institute and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation (BLFF) launched a new nonpartisan project to examine and contextualize gender dynamics in the 2020 elections. The Gender on the Ballot initiative analyzes presidential, gubernatorial, and congressional races, applying research and expertise from both organizations. The goal is to go beyond the headlines and dive deep into the complicated role gender plays in politics, including a look at how gender is rewarded, punished, and policed. 

Responding to the Opiod Crisis

SPA partnered with the Washington College of Law in February 2019 to bring together leading experts from public policy, health, and law enforcement to discuss new ways to address the opioid crisis. At the conference, panels covered the range of approaches, from prevention, to treatment, to punishment. There was a call for practitioners to work together to combat the problem, a central concern of law enforcement and public health. 

Looking for America

A new project from SPA, New American Economy, and CuriosityConnects.us, Looking for America is an initiative exploring immigration and American identity in six dynamic communities across the United States through public art, storytelling, and dialogue. In each community, Looking for America partners with local cultural institutions to curate art exhibitions featuring immigrant and U.S.-born artists who answer the question, “What does it mean to be American in your community?” Community members from different backgrounds and political identities are invited to engage with each exhibition and offer their own perspectives and stories over a shared meal. 

Program on Legislative Negotiation

SPA’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, in partnership with the Washington College of Law, launched the Program on Legislative Negotiation (PLN), which addresses the gridlock in Congress and state legislatures, to improve the legislative response to today’s challenges and improve public trust in these institutions. This innovative new program is supported by a $1 million grant from The Madison Initiative of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

4 John Gaus Award winners for lifetime achievement in political science and public administration, more than any other university

7,500 plus SPA media mentions

152 books & chapters published by SPA faculty

131 published academic journal articles written by SPA faculty