Three-year National Science Foundation Grant to Support the RBSI Program Awarded to Dr. Paula D. McClain

Three-year National Science Foundation Grant to Support the RBSI Program Awarded to Dr. Paula D. McClain

Dr. Paula D. McClain, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education at Duke University has been awarded a $462,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support the APSA Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) for 2019-2021. This is the eighth NSF grant that Dr. McClain has received to support the RBSI program. The program is also supported by Duke University’s Office of the Provost, the political science department and the American Political Science Association (APSA).

The RBSI program, currently in its 33rd year, is a 5-week intensive educational and research methodology summer program held at Duke University with the goal of increasing diversity within the political science professoriate. Attendees, rising college seniors, take two graduate level courses, research methodology, and racial and ethnic politics. To date, the RBSI program has taught and trained over 500 undergraduates and has resulted in over 80 PhDs in political science, as well as numerous master’s degrees, PhDs in related fields and countless professional degrees.

Background of the RBSI Program

Named in honor of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner, former APSA President, and the first African American to receive a PhD in political science, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, the RBSI encourages students to pursue academic careers in political science by enhancing writing, research, and analytical skills to increase competitiveness in the application and financial aid process for graduate school; developing statistical skills for data analysis used in political science; exposing participants to the significant questions in the discipline and profession of political science; introducing participants to leading political scientists; and educating participants about political science career opportunities and encouraging their application to doctoral programs in political science.

The APSA Ralph Bunche Fund

In 2016, the APSA launched a major new $2.5 million campaign to support the long-term future of the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute. With $1.25 million designated by the APSA Council towards this effort, a major gift of $200,000 from Rogers Smith and Mary Summers, and numerous contributions by RBSI Alumni and friends, approximately $1.8 million has been raised to date. The goal is to raise the remaining  $700,000 from individual, corporate, and organizational gifts. To learn more about the Bunche Fund and campaign, please contact Jason Sapia at or 202-483-2512.