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SPA’s Brian Forst and Ruth Lane Retire After Distinguished Careers

Joe Young, right, presents Brian Forst with an award from his colleagues.
In May, Brian Forst was presented with an award from his SPA justice, law, and criminology colleagues.

Associate Professor Emerita Ruth Lane and Professor Brian Forst, both at American University’s School of Public Affairs, will retire this summer, after distinguished careers in research and academia.

During her time with SPA, Ruth Lane’s research focused on comparative politics, cognitive science, and computer modeling. She is the author of three books, including her recently published book, The Complexity of Self Government: Politics from the Bottom Up. Her work has also been published in top academic journals, including the American Political Science Review, Comparative Politics, and Journal of Theoretical Politics.

Earlier this year, Ruth Lane was recognized for her 50-year career at American University. She started as an Assistant Professor in 1967. During her tenure, she served as a member of the American University Senate, on the PhD. Admissions Committee, as well as the Chair of the Provost’s Committee on Administrative Evaluation.

“Ruth has dedicated much of her life to the success of her students in SPA and her research,” said SPA Dean Barbara Romzek. “She has been a valuable member of the university. We are grateful for her service, her expertise, and for inspiring generations of students through her classes, and for her important research.”

Professor Brian Forst came to American University in 1992 following a successful career as a Captain in the US Army, an economic analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses, and Vice President for Research at the Institute for Law and Social Research.

Forst’s research while with SPA focused on legitimacy, discretion and miscarriages of justice, terrorism prevention, and the management of public fear. In addition to journal articles in top academic journals, he published eight books, including Errors of Justice: Nature, Sources and Remedies, in 2004, which was awarded Book of the Year by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. His research on prosecution, policing, and the deterrent effect of the death penalty is cited extensively.

This year, he was recognized for his long commitment to AU, spanning 25 years as a faculty member and scholar. He has served as a member of the University Senate, as Department Coordinator on Police Studies, and on the Task Force on Graduate Education. He was chair of the doctoral program in SPA’s Justice, Law and Criminology department from 2000 to 2010. 

“Brian has made a lasting contribution to SPA and to the justice, law, and criminology field,” said SPA Dean Barbara Romzek. “We are grateful to his enthusiasm for learning, his research, and for his dedication to the school.”