M. Kent Jennings Receives the 2020 Frank J. Goodnow Award

The Frank J. Goodnow Award is presented annually by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to honor distinguished service to the profession and the Association. 

M.Kent Jennings received his B.A. from the University of Redlands in 1956 and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 1961.  He is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science, UC Santa Barbara, and Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Emeritus Research Scientist, University of Michigan.  Jennings was president of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) in 1989-90 and of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in 1997-98.  He has served on several editorial boards and chaired the APSA search committee to select the first editor of Perspectives on Politics.  His awards include recognition for “meritorious service to the social sciences” from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (2007) and the Harold Lasswell award for “distinguished scientific contribution to the field of political psychology” from the ISPP (2014).  Jennings was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982.  He was a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.  His research interests include political socialization, political participation, political elites, and gender and politics.  He is the author or co-author of eight books, two co-edited volumes, and approximately 100 refereed journal articles and chapter contributions.

Citation from the Award Committee:

Kent Jennings has had a distinguished career of service to the political science community, he has been an intellectual leader in the field, and he has mentored many of today’s leading scholars.

Jennings was president of APSA (1997-98) and served APSA on a variety of committees including, among others, the Program Committee and the Committee on the Status of Women.  He has been a member of multiple editorial boards including the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the Public Opinion Quarterly, and Women and Politics.  He was also President of International Society of Political Psychology and Vice-President of the Midwest Political Science Association.  Jennings was a co-founded the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research and for twenty years associate director of ICPSR.  He was also a founding member of the International Society for Political Psychology (ISPP) and shares the credit for creating an international infrastructure that brings together political psychologists from multiple disciplines and provides a journal, annual meetings and annual training workshops.  For these efforts, Jennings received the Warren E. Miller Prize for Outstanding Career of Intellectual Accomplishment and Service to the Profession from APSA’s organized Section on Election, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior, the Miller Award for Meritorious Service to the Social Sciences from the ICPSR, and the Nevitt Sanford Award for Distinguished Contribution to Political Psychology from the ISPP.

Jennings has been a leader in the fields of political socialization, political psychology, and women and politics.  His books and numerous articles in leading journals in political science opened the field to the study of the early sources of political attitudes and behavior and the changes in those attitudes and behavior over time.  The significance of his scholarship has been recognized by his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and prestigious Fellowships at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Generations of doctoral students have benefited from Jennings’ mentorship, especially a large number of female scholars.  When there were few women in the field and when they faced significant obstacles to professional success, Jennings fostered their careers, bringing them in as research assistants and co-authors; in doing so, he supported the first generation of gender and politics scholars, helping to create a new subfield in the profession.  For this he was named “mentor of distinction” twice by the Women’s Caucus for Political Science.

In recognition of his years of service to the profession, for his path-breaking scholarship, and his mentorship of scores of younger scholars, M. Kent Jennings is a worthy recipient of the Frank J. Goodnow Award.

APSA thanks the committee members for their service: Arlene W. Saxonhouse (Chair), University of Michigan, James P. Pfiffner, George Mason University, and Michele L. Swers, Georgetown University.