McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State appoints managing director

October 16, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Public scholar and author Christopher Beem of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, has been named managing director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State. Beem is author or co-editor of five books, including "The Necessity of Politics" (University of Chicago Press) and, most recently, "Democratic Humility" (Lexington Books). He will help raise the visibility of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy and coordinate with the Institute’s two affiliated centers: the Center for Democratic Deliberation and the Center for American Political Responsiveness.

“Chris brings to our Institute tremendous experience and insight,” said John Gastil, director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. “He’ll help us integrate the programs developed by the Institute and its affiliated research centers, and that synergy will strengthen our contribution to Penn State research and public engagement. With him on the team, we will have a greater impact even in this current Presidential election cycle.”

Before coming to Penn State, Beem served as grants and communications manager for Next Door, a nonprofit organization dedicated to early childhood education in Milwaukee’s central city. Before that, he directed the Democracy and Community Program at the Johnson Foundation’s Wingspread Conference Center.

Beem holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Notre Dame, a master of arts in political science from Loyola University Chicago, and a master of arts in religious studies and a doctorate in ethics and society from the University of Chicago.

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State promotes rigorous scholarship and practical innovations to advance the democratic process in the United States and abroad. The institute examines the interplay of deliberative, electoral, and institutional dynamics. It recognizes that effective deliberation among citizens has the potential to reshape both the character of public opinion and the dynamics of electoral politics, particularly in state and local communities. Likewise, political agendas and institutional processes can shape the ways people frame and discuss issues. For more information on the McCourtney Institute, visit

  • Chris Beem, Managing Director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy

    Chris Beem, the McCourney Institute for Democracy's new managing director, will help raise the visibility of the Institute and coordinate with the Institute's two affiliated centers.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated October 19, 2015