Berkman recognized with 2019 President’s Award for academic integration

April 02, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Michael Berkman, professor of political science in the College of the Liberal Arts, has been awarded Penn State's 2019 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration.

Michael Berkman

Michael Berkman, professor of political science in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State.

IMAGE: Penn State

The award is given to a full-time faculty member who has exhibited extraordinary achievement in the integration of teaching, research or creative accomplishment and service.

Berkman is director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State, which promotes scholarship and practical innovations that defend and advance democracy in the United States and abroad through teaching, research and public outreach. He is co-host on the institute’s award-winning podcast series “Democracy Works,” which has tackled issues including gerrymandering, civics education and foreign influence on democracy. The podcast has been downloaded more than 35,000 times.

Berkman also has a hand in the institute’s Mood of a Nation poll that gauges public opinion through responses to open-ended questions. Polling results have been featured in national news outlets such as The Washington Post.

“The podcast brings academic work to a wider audience and engages activists in important discussions about larger democratic principles,” a nominator said. “Importantly, the podcasts are not designed solely to engage the general public. Rather, Berkman encourages the podcast be used for educating a wider audience by pairing each with source material and discussion questions.”

Considered an expert on state politics and educational policy, Berkman is the author of three books. The latest, “Evolution and Creationism: The Battle for Control of America’s Classrooms,” won the Don K. Price Award as the best book on science, technology and politics.

“The college has many world-renowned researchers and excellent teachers,” a nominator said. “But many fewer combine this with a dedication to reaching beyond Penn State’s walls to use their research and teaching skills to solve important societal problems.”

In addition to public outreach, Berkman is considered an excellent educator. He served as director of undergraduate studies for the political science department from 2000-14 and as director of its honors program since 2000. He’s taught the undergraduate thesis writing workshop and served as an honors adviser for dozens of Schreyer Honors College students.

Last Updated April 02, 2019