Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Elections Expert, Distinguished Alum to Speak at FSU

Florida State University alumnus Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida (USF) and a frequent national media commentator on elections and campaigns, shares her considerable expertise with the university community and general public in an upcoming talk on campus. “2016: An Election Like No Other,” will focus on how reaching voters has changed significantly in today’s high-tech world where personalities often “trump” policies.

MacManus’ is particularly well-versed on Florida’s key role in national elections. She says the state is a microcosm of the country with a racial and ethnic makeup that is more like the entire U.S. than any other state.

“Florida also mirrors the country in terms of the key geographies that people look at when they’re trying to figure out how to campaign — rural, urban, suburban,” she told the Tampa Bay Times. “We also have a very interesting age mix that makes Florida so intriguing. Many people feel that everybody in Florida is over 95 years of age. We have almost an equal divide in terms of registered voters between those over 50 and those under 50.”

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, takes place:
7:00 P.M.

An award-winning teacher and holder of a distinguished professorship at USF, MacManus is also a Fulbright Research Scholar. In her busy career she has served as an expert witness before the U.S. Supreme Court on redistricting cases and written a recent book on Florida’s minority trailblazers in state and national politics. She is Florida’s most quoted political scientist, offering her commentary and analysis on every major broadcast and cable television and radio network and interviewed by major newspapers in the state, the U.S., and abroad.

MacManus has also co-written textbooks with Florida State Emeritus Professor of Political Science Thomas Dye, who was her teacher and mentor when she earned her Ph.D. in 1975. She also earned her bachelor’s degree in political science at the university and will accept the Distinguished Alumna Award from the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy while she is on campus.

“Along with her brilliant academic career, Dr. MacManus is also actively engaged with the world beyond campus and the policy issues and challenges our country faces today, and that’s what we aim to instill in our students,” said Interim Dean Tim Chapin. “We’re looking forward to her sharp analysis of this unique campaign season and encourage everyone to take the opportunity to hear her speak.”

MacManus is looking forward to returning to the university to accept her award and deliver the timely lecture.

“Every time I return to Tallahassee for political-related purposes, I still drive around campus and fondly remember my days as a student,” she said. “Back home, my goal is to try to give my USF students the same high quality of teaching and mentoring that my FSU professors gave to me. Once a Nole, always a Nole!”

The talk is part of the college’s continuing Anderson-Ashby Lecture Series in Public Policy Journalism.