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Meet our Fellows: Dr. David E. Lewis ('12)

David E. Lewis is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of two books, Presidents and the Politics of Agency Design (Stanford University Press, 2003) and The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance (Princeton University Press, 2008). He has also published numerous articles on American politics, public administration, and management in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Public Administration Review, and Presidential Studies Quarterly. His work has been featured in outlets such as the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, and Washington Post. He is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration and has earned numerous research and teaching awards.

Before joining Vanderbilt’s Department of Political Science, he was an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, where he was affiliated with the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. He began his academic career at the College of William and Mary, where he was an assistant professor in the Department of Government from 2000-02. He is previously served as president of the Southern Political Science Association and president of the Midwest Public Administration Caucus. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Presidential Studies Quarterly and Public Administration. PhD. Stanford University.

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Here is a recent interview with David:

  1. How did you get involved in public service?

I worked for a member of Congress in college doing casework. I enjoyed both helping people and working with the people in the agencies.

  1. Looking at the present and into the future, what do you think a public administration “Grand Challenge” is or might be?

In the United States, the infrastructure of governance, like the nation’s physical infrastructure has been neglected for some time. A grand challenge for the next generation is how to rebuild the infrastructure of governance—the agencies, people, and processes that carry out the will of voters through their elected officials. This means new investments in human capital, technology, and best practices.

  1. Reflecting on your career, is there a highlight, a greatest accomplishment or a funny story you’d like to share?

This is a hard question to answer! I consider among my greatest accomplishments the students I have sent on to careers in government or education, particularly when they tell me that all the work I did to make them write better memos was worth the time and effort!

  1. What is the best advice someone gave you?

Try to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would you want to be treated?

  1. What inspires you?

People who faithfully do the right thing when no one is looking -- even when they are unappreciated, maligned or misunderstood -- inspire me.

  1. What did/do you want to be when you grow up?

I wanted to work for the U.S. Postal Service and deliver mail.

  1. What was the last book you read?

Major Barbara, a play by George Bernard Shaw

  1. What was your first job?

I worked in a pizza parlor in my home town, Morgan Hill, California.

  1. What is the best part about where you live?

Easy access to the outdoors and professional sports teams.

									 David Lewis
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