Susan Sterett and Anne Brodsky begin new social science leadership roles at UMBC

UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is starting fall 2017 by welcoming new leaders for both the School of Public Policy and Maryland Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (MIPAR).

Susan Sterett, the new director of the School of Public Policy, comes to UMBC after serving three years as a professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy and director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. Prior to that, Sterett was the program director for law and social sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and an associate dean for the University of Denver’s Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences academic unit. She is also currently co-chair of the Committee on the Status of Women in Political Science of the Western Political Science Association.

Sterett views higher education as having an essential role in American society today, and voices from the School of Public Policy as having great potential to impact national conversations on major issues.

“Universities can broaden our horizons and invite us to bring our inquiry to our communities,” she says, emphasizing, “UMBC’s proud tradition of excellence and public service are evident in the problems faculty and students in the School of Public Policy study, and the connection to communities that they bring.”

Sterett received her Ph.D. in jurisprudence and social policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research, teaching and writing focus on what people and institutions do with law and policy, particularly around social welfare issues. Her publications include the books Public Pensions: Gender and Civic Service in the States, 1850-1937 (Cornell University Press, 2003) and Creating Constitutionalism?: Professional Politics and Administrative Law in England and Wales (University of Michigan Press, 1997).

As director, Sterett says, “I plan to foster the success of current and incoming faculty, work to partner well across the social sciences, and deepen outreach to potential students, while supporting the School’s continued excellence in the policy areas of public management, health equity, environmental justice, and education equity.”

UMBC also celebrates Anne Brodsky‘s new appointment as interim director of MIPAR and special assistant to the dean for social sciences.

Anne Brodsky. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

“I’m excited to join the wonderful MIPAR staff, help MIPAR continue its critical role in supporting public policy and the social sciences at UMBC, and explore next steps MIPAR can take to advance the cutting edge scholarship and community engagement being done in this area by our faculty, staff, and students,” she shares.

Brodsky received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park in clinical and community psychology, and joined UMBC’s faculty in 1997. She is a professor of psychology and served as associate dean in UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences from 2012–2016.

In 2016-17 Brodsky participated in the prestigious American Council on Education (ACE) fellows program. She was one of just 29 fellows from across the nation to participate that year, selected for their tremendous potential as leaders in higher education. Upon the announcement of her ACE fellowship, she shared, “I am particularly interested in issues of access, inclusion, participation, and retention at all levels of the university, as well as initiatives to promote the co-equal synergy of STEM, the social sciences, and all the liberal arts – a synergy that is necessary to contribute to changes in the real world that serve to enhance the university’s value to the community.”

Brodsky is a community/clinical psychologist whose teaching, research, and practice focus on individual and community resilience in relation to violence, poverty, racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. She has worked with both immigrant and nonimmigrant communities in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area, particularly with single, low-income mothers. She has also traveled extensively throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan for research, and works in the U.S. to raise awareness of the experiences of Afghan women. She is the author of With All Our Strength: The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (Routledge, 2004).

Don Norris, who served as director of MIPAR for 28 years and as director of public policy for ten years, including the transition of UMBC’s public policy programs from a department to a school, will now transition to an emeritus role. He notes that he looks forward to the vision and skill sets Sterett and Brodsky will bring to their new positions, reflecting, “After my 28 years at UMBC, I leave with excitement about the new directions and contributions that Susan Sterrett and Anne Brodsky bring to the School and MIPAR.”

Dean Scott Casper of UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences shares in this excitement, commenting, “Susan Sterett brings to the School of Public Policy an impressive range of academic and administrative experience, including her important work at the NSF. Anne Brodsky’s contributions to UMBC and to community psychology are legion, and her ACE fellowship has deepened her already national field of vision. I look forward to their leadership in thinking expansively about and across the social sciences at UMBC.”

Banner image: Susan Sterett, the new director of the School of Public Policy. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.