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Dean Paula McClain Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Paula D. McClain, dean of The Graduate School, is one of four Duke University faculty members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the highest honors in the country.

“I was stunned when I read the letter from the academy,” says McClain, who is also vice provost for graduate education and a professor of political science and public policy. “It is an unbelievable honor to be listed with some of the world’s most accomplished scholars and practitioners.”

The other new Duke inductees are

•    Susan C. Alberts, a Bass Fellow and professor of biology;
•    Michael Barry Kastan, executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute and the William W. Shingleton M.D. Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology in School of Medicine; and
•    William M. Reddy, the William T. Laprade Professor of History and a professor of cultural anthropology.

The Duke faculty members are part of the 234th class, who will be inducted at a ceremony October 11 at the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

McClain’s election to the academy is the second significant honor for her in less than a month. Earlier in April, she was elected president of the Midwest Political Science Association, the second most prestigious academic organization in the discipline.

McClain, who earned a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in political science from Howard University, joined the Duke faculty in 2000 and became dean and vice provost in 2012. Her primary research interests are in racial minority group politics, particularly inter-minority political and social competition, and urban politics. She has published articles in numerous journals and written three books.

One of those books—Race, Place and risk: Black Homicide in Urban America—won the National Conference of Black Political Scientists’ 1995 Best Book Award for a previously published book that has made a substantial and continuing contribution. Another book—“Can We All Get Along?” Racial and Ethnic Minorities in American Politics—received the Award for Outstanding Scholarship on the Subject of Intolerance from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America. McClain’s most recent book, American Government in Black and White, was named the best textbook published in 2010 on the topics of race, ethnicity, and politics by the American Political Science Association.

Founded in 1780, the academy is one of the oldest and most prestigious learned societies in the country. Its founders were led by John Adams, James Bowdoin, and John Hancock, and it counts among its members the likes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela. It boasts a membership of more than 5,200, which includes leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts.

The academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Its members contribute to its publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts and education.