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Task Force on Systemic Inequality in the Discipline

Progress Update

The task force is making good progress. The co-chairs held another planning meeting in May 2020. All working group rosters are now complete. As of Friday, June 26, 2020, each working group will have held at least one virtual research planning meeting. Each working group will be analyzing exiting relevant data and is planning on collecting original data via surveys. To that end, the working group co-chairs have submitted survey questions for inclusion on the upcoming APSA graduate placement survey. Below This is a list of the confirmed members of the each of the four ask Force Working Groups.


Working Group Descriptions and Rosters


Citation Working Group

John Garcia, University of Michigan/ICPSR, Chair There is an emerging literature on the citation patterns for women in political science, especially in international relations (Dion, Sumner and Mitchell 2018; Teele and Thelen 2017; Maliniak, Powers and Walter 2013; Zigerell 2015), but the same research does not exist for scholars of color and LGBT scholars in the discipline. Given the quick adoption of the biomedical science approach of using H indices as a measure of influence and merit of an individual’s scholarship in tenure and promotion cases, the careers of women of all races and scholars of color can be severely affected. As Ray (2018) contends inequality is reproduced by citation patterns and is legitimized in the uses of these supposed meritorious metrics.


Working Group Members

  • Eric Juenke (Michigan State)
  • Gabe Sanchez (UNM)
  • Andrea Benjamin (Oklahoma)
  • Karam Dana (U Washington-Bothel)
  • Ashley Jardina (Duke University)
  • Camille Burge (Villanova University)
  • John Ishiyama (Univ. of North Texas)
  • Chris Parker (Univ. Washington)
  • Natalie Masuoka (UCLA)
  • Carrie Liu Carrier (TCU)


Climate Working Group

Carol Mershon, University of Virginia, Chair This working group addresses the climate for underrepresented groups in, and all members of, the profession. The climate primarily at the APSA's Annual Meetings and in other APSA official venues and outlets (e.g., as manifested in the policies, processes, and outcomes of APSA's flagship journals). Yet the group also attends to climate in colleagues’ home institutions, where we build and live out our professional lives. This working group will address the following research questions. How and how much do microaggression, bullying, exclusion, and disproportionate service burdens delay the progress of women, LGBTQ, and minority faculty in the career and at times lead to exit from academe? What does research identify as best practices for building welcoming, inclusive, and equitable environments, and how can APSA support best practices?


Working Group Members

  • Brooke Ackerly, Vanderbilt University
  • Sekou Franklin, Tennessee State University
  • Cyril Ghosh, Wagner College
  • Melissa Michelson, Menlo College
  • Evelyn Simien, University of Connecticut
  • Sophia Jordán Wallace, University of Washington
  • Hongying Wang, University of Waterloo
  • Betina Cutaia Wilkinson, Wake Forest University


Graduate Student Working Group

Niambi Carter, Howard University, Chair This working group seeks to understand whether identity causes students to be marginalized in their graduate departments and whether this influences their decisions to choose an academic or non-academic career. Our task is to elucidate the myriad issues that emerge for graduate students and how these issues influence the choices of underrepresented graduate students to engage the discipline. Toward this end we will address issues of departmental inclusion, disciplinary representation, and professional outcomes. Issues of departmental inclusion include but are not limited to the following: course offerings and syllabi; completion of departmental requirements (i.e. comprehensive exams and dissertation proposals/defenses) mentoring by faculty; ability to compose committees; distribution of research opportunities; and funding for conference participation. Similarly, disciplinary representation captures whether young scholars are participating in annual or regional meetings; their experiences of the climate at these meetings; their inclusion in associational decision-making. Lastly, for those scholars who choose to complete their graduate programs we want to know whether they choose an academic career path or non-academic career path.


Working Group Members

  • Fernando Tormes Aponte, UMBC
  • Zein Murib, Fordham University
  • Najja Baptist, University of Arkansas, at Fayetteville
  • Kesicia Dickson, Michigan State University
  • Sara Sadhwani, California Lutheran
  • Alan Le, University of Minnesota Jair Moreira, UIUC


Tenure and Promotion Standards: Burdens of Faculty of Color Working Group

Cathy J. Cohen, University of Chicago, Chair The journey to tenure is filled with challenges and deadlines. However, once tenure is accomplished it is a significant life milestone. And while the next structured evaluation of one’s work usually comes when being reviewed for promotion to full professor, we know that much can happen to an associate tenured professor to make the move from associate to full difficult. This committee will explore two important moments in a faculty member’s career, their promotion to associate with tenure and their promotion to full professor. We are especially interested in how those two points of evaluation possibly differ for scholars differently or marginalized positioned. Specifically, we the committee will examine what impact race and/or gender and/or sexuality and/or type of institution has on one’s ability to move “smoothly” through the ranks from assistant to associate and once again to full professor. Moreover, we will examine how differentially positioned faculty, based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and institutiontype, perceive and experience structural differences in the standards for evaluation at these two critical junctures.  


Working Group Members

  • Taeku Lee, University of California, Berkeley
  • Christina Rivers, DePaul University, Chicago
  • Janelle Wong, University of Maryland
  • Christina Greer, Fordham University
  • Cedric Johnson, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Todd Shaw, University of South Carolina
  • Regina Freer, Occidental College
  • Ricardo Ramirez, University of Notre Dame
  • Dara Strolovitch, Princeton University