UMass Amherst Department of Political Science

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Goldman named Distinguished Professor

Goldman named Distinguished Professor

faculty news

2012-06-07

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Board of Trustees has appointed long-time Political Science faculty member Sheldon Goldman a Distinguished Professor. This appointment recognizes Professor Goldman's outstanding research, service, and teaching in the Department of Political Science.

Over the course of nearly 50 years at UMass Amherst, Professor Goldman has become one of the nation's top experts on the politics of judicial selection and confirmation. In the 1960s, he was one of the first scholars who sought to expand traditional public law approaches to the study of the judiciary, and his research effectively shifted the focus of federal court scholarship from a singular examination of the Supreme Court to a broader and more inclusive study of Law and the Courts.  In the 1970s, Professor Goldman began a series of articles in Judicature on federal judicial selection -- a series which he continues to write to this day.

Professor Goldman is the author of Picking Federal Judges, which was selected Outstanding Academic Book for 1998 by Choice Magazine and received Honorable Mention for the 1997 C. Herman Pritchett Award given by The Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. He is recipient of a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and Harvard Fellowship, and he has received grants from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, LBJ Foundation, Harry S. Truman Library Institute, and the Ford Library, in addition to numerous University grants.

In 2004, Professor Goldman was recognized with a Chancellor’s Medal, and in 2006 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Political Science Association's Law and Courts Section. Professor Goldman has appeared on or been interviewed by NBC Nightly News, Bill Moyer’s Journal, CBS, Voice of America, CNN, Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, among countless other regional and national media outlets. 

In addition to this award-winning research agenda, Professor Goldman is also well-known for his excellent teaching. "Shelly’s commitment and passion for teaching has made him a beloved Professor for so many of our current and former students,” says Department of Political Science Chair Brian Schaffner. “Whenever I meet with our alumni I know I can count on hearing a collection of stories about how Shelly Goldman motivated and inspired them when they were students at UMass. I am honored to have Shelly as a colleague.”

Professor Goldman's numerous teaching honors include multiple Outstanding Teaching Awards, a Best Professor recognition from the Collegian, and a Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award. Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honors society, named Professor Goldman the chapter’s Outstanding Teacher in 1988 and again in 2002. He continues to be a tireless advocate for political science students, serving as an advisor to Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Sigma Alpha, and acting as the Department honors coordinator for several years. 

"Shelly has done everything a faculty member should do, and done it all in an exceptional way," says College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Dean Robert S. Feldman. "Not only an extraordinary researcher and teacher, he has had a significant impact on the way legal scholars and practicing lawyers view the Federal judiciary.  He has served the College and University well in every way."

To recognize Professor Goldman's Distinguished appointment and many years of research and teaching, the Department plans to launch a campaign to name a scholarship in his honor this summer. Those interested in donating should contact Michelle Goncalves.

It is only fitting that we honor Shelly with a scholarship that would provide support for the very students he continues to inspire,” says Schaffner.

Alumni who would like to congratulate Professor Goldman or share a favorite memory about Professor Goldman are encouraged to do so through an alumni update or via the Department Facebook page. 

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