Inaugural 2016 APSA Pracademic Fellow: Susan Opp

The American Political Science Association is delighted to announce the inaugural Pracademic Fellowships for 2016. Susan Marie Opp, Colorado State University will serve as one of the first Pracademic Fellows supported by the Beryl Radin Fund, and will serve in the Office of Policy at the Environmental Protection Agency. Professor Opp will focus on sustainable communities initiatives.

About the Fellowship
Made possible by a generous future bequest by the 2013 APSA Gaus Lecturer Beryl Radin, APSA created the APSA Pracademic Program supported by the Beryl Radin Fund. Dr. Radin described herself as a “pracademic” because she has moved back and forth between the world of the practitioner and that of the academic.

The public administration, public management, and public policy fields began with a strong commitment to link theory and practice. Many of the pioneers in all of these fields came to the academic world with personal experience in policy development and management. Their writings and relationships to the field reflected that knowledge. These experiences provided them with a perspective that gave them the ability to use their personal experiences not only to look outside the walls of academe, but also to bring the insights gained by practice to the academic setting.

Yet over the past several decades, there has been a limited opportunity for faculty members in these fields to move between the academy and the world of practitioners. This program is designed to create opportunities for faculty members to recreate the historical experience of joining theory and practice.

APSA 2015 in San Francisco
Susan Opp, APSA 2015 in San Francisco

Being granted the opportunity to become a “Pracademic Fellow” at the EPA gives me the chance to more fully integrate into the applied public sector world.  In short, this fellowship will allow me to take one of my favorite tasks from my current job and make it a fulltime job for six months! This Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity for me to fully engage in the public sector in a way that isn’t possible in a University setting.  The lessons I will gain will be very valuable for future research, teaching, and advising students.

– Professor Susan Opp

We asked Professor Opp how the program would complement her scholarly work. She replied, “One of the primary goals for my time in this position will be assisting with building coalitions across federal agencies in a way that helps other agencies integrate climate change mitigation efforts into existing policies and programs. This fellowship will provide me with an up-close and top-down view of the sustainability efforts of the EPA. This unique and valuable perspective will enable me to grow as a scholar and to better understand the higher-level processes that cities face when trying to accomplish their sustainability goals,” she says.

She continued describing her work as primarily “focuses on why cities adopt sustainability policies, the methods of achieving sustainable development for cities, and most recently the challenges of integrating social equity into sustainability planning.”

The 2016 Fellows were selected after a rigorous review conducted by the search committee: Ira Goldstein, Deloitte, Paul Posner, George Mason University, Colleen Shogan, Congressional Research Service, and Beryl Radin, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University.

2016-2017 Fellows
APSA will shortly open the 2016-2017 Fellowship application call. For more information, visit, or email APSA staff Betsy Super at