Social Science Research Council Names Anna Harvey as Next President

Anna Harvey

The Board of Directors of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has named Anna Harvey, a leading scholar of government, law, and inequality, and professor of politics at New York University (NYU), as its 15th president and CEO. Professor Harvey succeeds President Alondra Nelson and will take the helm of the 98-year-old organization beginning July 1, 2021.

“We are delighted that Anna Harvey will lead the SSRC into its second century,” said Helen Milner, chair of the SSRC Executive Committee and search committee chair. “She has a deep understanding of interdisciplinary developments in social science, as well as the need to engage with the challenges and imperatives of today, with a range of stakeholders within and beyond the academy. We are fortunate to have found such a strong successor to build on the transformative tenure of President Nelson.”

The SSRC is an independent, international research nonprofit organization founded in 1923. It works with practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers in the social sciences, related professions, and in the arts, humanities, and natural sciences. The SSRC builds networks, working with partners in the United States and around the world to link research to practice and policy, strengthen individual and institutional capacities for learning, and enhance public access to information. Whether confronting emerging issues, like the global pandemic, or persistent challenges, such as inequality and climate change, the SSRC challenges established knowledge pathways and builds new ones to a better world.

“I am deeply honored to have been asked to lead the SSRC as it approaches its centenary,” said Professor Harvey. “The SSRC was founded to support social science in the public interest, with the ultimate goal of more effective and more equitable public policy. There is much important and hard work to be done to reach that goal, and the SSRC is uniquely positioned to unite the research, policy, and philanthropic communities in the work of understanding how our societies can better support human well-being around the globe. I look forward to contributing to that work.”

Professor Harvey is founding director of the Public Safety Lab at New York University, a community-engaged research initiative that draws on the dual lenses of social science and data science to provide insight into mass incarceration and recommendations for improvement of the criminal justice system. The Public Safety Lab works with communities, researchers, and justice agencies to advance equity in the justice system.

A political scientist by training, Harvey is also an affiliated professor of data science and affiliated professor of law at NYU. Her most recent coauthored book, Judicial Decision-Making, integrates social science and legal approaches to understanding how judges render decisions and settle cases. Her 2013 book, A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy (Yale University Press), investigated how decision-making in the highest court in the United States interacts with Congress. In addition, Harvey has had enduring interest in gender equality and democratic representation in electoral politics, a topic examined in her first book, Votes without Leverage: Women in American Electoral Politics, 1920-1970 (Cambridge University Press, 1998), exploring the dynamics of women’s suffrage. Her research has been supported by grants from Arnold Ventures, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others.

“The work of the SSRC is more critical today than ever before,” said Teresa Caldeira, chair, SSRC Board of Directors. “The kinds of deep knowledge and understanding nurtured by the SSRC are vital to guiding public policy and improving the human condition. At a time when research and researchers are increasingly under attack, the Council is a voice for informed, non-partisan scholarship and fact-based policy solutions. Professor Harvey is the ideal leader to advance this important mission.”

At NYU, Professor Harvey served as chair of the Department of Politics from 2001 to 2004 and as interim dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 2015 to 2017. As dean, Professor Harvey partnered with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on a program to increase the participation of underrepresented students in graduate education.

“Professor Harvey has extensive leadership experience, as both a highly successful department chair and dean at New York University,” said Milner. “And her commitment to issues of justice, democracy, and inclusion will build on the Council’s legacy of work in these areas. I can think of no one better suited to lead the SSRC in this moment.”

“As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is critical that our policies support equitable and inclusive recovery,” said Professor Harvey. “Although there is much that we have learned about policies that can support shared prosperity, there is still much that we don’t know. Closer cooperation between the research, policy, and philanthropic communities can foster improved understanding of how we can most effectively support just, free, and humane societies. As the SSRC enters its second century, facilitating those partnerships will be central to its work, and I look forward to doing so.”

Professor Harvey received her PhD in political science from Princeton University in 1995. She is a 1988 graduate of the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University, where she was the recipient of a Harry S. Truman Scholarship, in recognition of academic excellence and commitment to public service. Harvey currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Ohio University.

May 3rd, 2021

For inquiries, please contact SSRC Communications at communications@ssrc.org.