The New President of the American Academy
Kenneth Prewitt has succeeded Douglas Massey as president of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Prewitt, a former director of the U.S. Census Bureau and past president of the Social Science Research Council, has been a long-time champion of the ways in which sound data and good social science can advance the public good and inform public policy. An AAPSS Harold Lasswell Fellow (2001) and former member of the AAPSS Board of Directors, he has been an ANNALS editor and frequent contributor.
Dr. Prewitt is the Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and also serves as Special Advisor to the President on the university’s global strategy. His recent research, funded by the MacArthur and Russell Sage Foundations, is an examination of the consequences of racial measurement for racial identity, politics, and public policy. Prewitt writes that the nation’s racial classification system is at a point of unprecedented instability and uncertainty and, therefore, so are the public policies and institutional practices that depend upon it. With funding from Sage Publications, Prewitt is also focused on the use of knowledge in public policy making: frustrated, as many social scientists are, with how little we know about the ways in which policymakers actually use science in their decision-making, he is leading an effort to advance understanding of that issue, and to more broadly reflect on the future of scholarly knowledge.
Outgoing AAPSS President Massey’s leadership of AAPSS was marked by steady resolve to deepen the unique strengths of the Academy while also pushing the organization to be nimble and responsive to today’s most pressing policy issues. The annual Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize was initiated while Dr. Massey was president, and since its inception prestige of the Prize has grown in academic and policy circles. Dr. Massey also promoted the AAPSS Fellows program, which recognizes the contributions of our nation’s preeminent scholars and policy practitioners. “His versatility and imagination have been essential to the Academy as it has broadened its reach and expanded its impact,” said Prewitt.
Of Prewitt’s noteworthy career, Dr. Massey said, “As a public servant and as a scholar, he’s worked brilliantly and tirelessly to improve the public good through evidence-informed policymaking. We’re very fortunate that he has accepted the Board’s invitation to lead the AAPSS.”