Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Politics of Presence in Academic Professional Associations: A Research Note on Governance at the APSA

  • Amy Atchison (a1)


Professional associations like the American Political Science Association (APSA) are intended to represent the interests of all of the members of the profession. The APSA has worked diligently to increase diversity in its leadership, successfully bringing more women and minorities into APSA governance. However, there has not been a corresponding effort to ensure that members from diverse institution types have a seat at the table. This is important because different institution types have different professional issues and interests. In this research note, I explore the extent to which APSA’s leadership is reflective of the range of institution types in higher education. I find that the APSA’s leadership is disproportionately comprised of members from large doctoral-granting universities and elite graduate programs. I conclude with potential ramifications and suggestions for further research.



Hide All
Adams, Renee B., and Ferreira, Daniel. 2009. “Women in the Boardroom and Their Impact on Governance and Performance.” Journal of Financial Economics 94 (2): 291309.
APSA. 2004. Women’s Advancement in Political Science: A Report on the APSA Workshop on the Advancement of Women in Academic Political Science in the United States . Available at
APSA. 2016. “By-Laws of the American Political Science Association.” Washington, DC: American Political Science Association.
APSA Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession. 2016. Pipeline Practices . Available at
APSA Leadership and Governance. 2016. Available at
Beckwith, Karen, and Cowell-Meyers, Kimberly. 2007. “Sheer Numbers: Critical Representation Thresholds and Women’s Political Representation.” Perspectives on Politics 5 (3): 554–65.
Bratton, Kathleen A. 2002. “The Effect of Legislative Diversity on Agenda Setting: Evidence from Six State Legislatures.” American Politics Research 30 (2): 115–42. doi:10.1177/1532673x02030002001.
Bratton, Kathleen A., Haynie, Kerry L., and Reingold, Beth. 2006. “Agenda Setting and African American Women in State Legislatures.” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 28 (3–4): 7196. doi:10.1300/J501v28n03_04.
Bray, Nathniel J., and Major, Claire H.. 2011. “Status of Journals in the Field of Higher Education.” The Journal of Higher Education 82 (4): 479503.
Brewer, Dominic J., Gates, Susan M., and Goldman, Charles A.. 2004. In Pursuit of Prestige: Strategy and Competition in US Higher Education. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Brown, Nadia, and Banks, Kira Hudson. 2014. “Black Women’s Agenda Setting in the Maryland State Legislature.” Journal of African American Studies 18 (2): 164–80. doi:10.1007/s12111-013-9260-7.
Burawoy, Michael. 2015. “Facing an Unequal World.” Current Sociology 63 (1): 534.
Clark, Burton R. 1987. The Academic Life. Small Worlds, Different Worlds: A Carnegie Foundation Special Report. Washington, DC: Education Resources Information Center.
Clark, Burton R. 2004. “The Organizational Foundations of University Capability.” In Self, Social Structure, and Beliefs: Explorations in Sociology, ed. Alexander, Jeffrey C., Marx, Gary T. and Williams, Christine L.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dill, David D. 1982. “The Structure of the Academic Profession: Toward a Definition of Ethical Issues.” The Journal of Higher Education 53 (3): 255–67.
Erhardt, Niclas L., Werbel, James D., and Shrader, Charles B.. 2003. “Board of Director Diversity and Firm Financial Performance.” Corporate Governance: An International Review 11 (2): 102–11.
Fourcade, Marion, Ollion, Etienne, and Algan, Yann. 2015. “The Superiority of Economists.” Revista de Economía Institucional 17 (33): 1343.
Franceschet, Susan, and Piscopo, Jennifer M.. 2008. “Gender Quotas and Women’s Substantive Representation: Lessons from Argentina.” Politics & Gender 4 (03): 393425.
Gamble, Katrina L. 2007. “Black Political Representation: An Examination of Legislative Activity within US House Committees.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 32 (3): 421–47.
Gerber, Benjamin M. 2007. “Enabling Interlock Benefits While Preventing Anticompetitive Harm: Toward an Optimal Definition of Competitors under Section 8 of the Clayton Act.” Yale Journal on Regulation 24: 107.
Grant, L., and Ward, K. B.. 2013. “Women in Academia.” In Women and Work: A Handbook, ed. Dubeck, Paula J. and Borman, Kathryn, 679: 165–8. New York: Routledge.
Harris, M. 2015. “What Is the Typical Teaching Load for University Faculty?” Available at
Htun, Mala N., and Jones, Mark P.. 2002. “Engendering the Right to Participate in Decision-Making: Electoral Quotas and Women’s Leadership in Latin America.” In Gender and the Politics of Rights and Democracy in Latin America, ed. Craske, Nikki and Molyneux, Maxine, 3256. New York: Springer.
Lückerath-Rovers, Mijntje. 2013. “Women on Boards and Firm Performance.” Journal of Management & Governance 17 (2): 491509. doi:10.1007/s10997-011-9186-1.
Marquis, Christopher, and Lee, Matthew. 2013. “Who Is Governing Whom? Executives, Governance, and the Structure of Generosity in Large US Firms.” Strategic Management Journal 34 (4): 483–97.
Matsa, David A., and Miller, Amalia R.. 2013. “A Female Style in Corporate Leadership? Evidence from Quotas.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 5 (3): 136–69.
Meet the APSA Council and Officers. 2012. PS: Political Science & Politics 45 (1): 151–4.
Meet the APSA Council and Officers. 2013. PS: Political Science & Politics 46 (1): 178–82.
Meet the APSA Council and Officers. 2014. PS: Political Science & Politics 47 (1): 232–6.
Meet the APSA Council and Officers. 2015. PS: Political Science & Politics 48 (1): 202206.
Mendoza, Pilar, and Berger, Joseph B.. 2008. “Academic Capitalism and Academic Culture: A Case Study.” Education Policy Analysis Archives 16 (23): n. 23.
National Center for Education Statistics. 2016. “Number of Full-Time Instructional Staff Employed by Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions by Degree-Granting Status Carnegie Classification 2000 for Fall 2014.” IPEDS Trend Generator. Available at
National Science Foundation. 2016. “What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts) (Political Science).” Available at
New APSA Council Members Elected. 2011. PS: Political Science & Politics 44 (1): 184–5.
Oprisko, Robert L. 2012. “Superpowers: The American Academic Elite.” Georgetown Public Policy Review. Avalable at
Phillips, Anne. 1995. The Politics of Presence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Post, Corinne, Rahman, Noushi, and Rubow, Emily. 2011. “Green Governance: Boards of Directors’ Composition and Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility.” Business & Society 50 (1): 189223. doi:10.1177/0007650310394642.
Preuhs, Robert R. 2006. “The Conditional Effects of Minority Descriptive Representation: Black Legislators and Policy Influence in the American States.” Journal of Politics 68 (3): 585–99.
QS World University Rankings. 2015. “Top Universities.” Available at
Rice, R. Eugene. 2002. “Beyond Scholarship Reconsidered: Toward an Enlarged Vision of the Scholarly Work of Faculty Members.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning 90: 718.
Schwartz-Shea, Peregrine, and Yanow, Dvora. 2016. “Legitimizing Political Science or Splitting the Discipline? Reflections on DA-RT and the Policy-Making Role of a Professional Association.” Politics & Gender 12 (3): doi:10.1017/S1743923X16000428.
Scott, William Ricard. 2013. “The Field of Higher Education in the US: Trends and Challenges.” Revista Universidade em Debate 1 (1): 6674.
Shapiro, Robert Y., and Mahajan, Harpreet. 1986. “Gender Differences in Policy Preferences: A Summary of Trends from the 1960s to the 1980s.” The Public Opinion Quarterly 50 (1): 4261.
Simmons, Charlene. 2012. “Will You Be on Our Board of Directors? We Need Help: Media Corporations, Environmental Change, and Resource Dependency Theory.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 89 (1): 5572.
Stenerson, James, Blanchard, Loren, Fassiotto, Michael, Hernandez, Mark, and Muth, Ann. 2010. “The Role of Adjuncts in the Professoriate.” Peer Review 12. Available at
The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. N.d. “Institution Lookup.” Available at
Tuan, Mia, Robin, Leah, Alvarez, Rodolfo, and Huang, Amily Shui-I. 2013. “Women of Color in Academe.” In Women and Work: A Handbook, ed. Carreon, Sonia, Cassedy, Amy, Borman, Kathyrn and Dubeck, Paula J., 679: 165–8. New York: Routledge.
US News. 2016. “Best Political Science Programs, Ranked 2013.” US News & World Report.
Villiers, Charlotte. 2010. “Achieving Gender Balance in the Boardroom: Is It Time for Legislative Action in the UK?” Legal Studies 30 (4): 533–57.
Wängnerud, Lena. 2000. “Testing the Politics of Presence: Women’s Representation in the Swedish Riksdag.” Scandinavian Political Studies 23 (1): 6791.
Whitley, Richard. 2011. “Changing Governance and Authority Relations in the Public Sciences.” Minerva 49 (4): 359–85. doi:10.1007/s11024-011-9182-2.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed