Linda Trautman, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Ohio University Lancaster who specializes in American Government and Politics with a focus on legislative politics, mass political behavior and urban public policy.
Before presenting her research on “Racial Advocacy and Bill Sponsorship in State Legislative Politics” and participating in a roundtable discussion about Voting Rights at the upcoming MPSA conference, Trautman will spend two days in March participating with fellow MPSA members in the Consortium of Social Science Association’s Annual Meeting & Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day in Washington DC. As this will be her second time participating in the event, we asked her a few questions about her participation in last year’s event and the importance of her return in 2016.
- Were you involved in advocacy efforts prior to last year’s Consortium of Social Science Association (COSSA) meeting?
I was not involved in advocacy efforts prior to the 2015 COSSA meeting. I became interested in participating as a result of my affiliation with the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) which is a professional national and international organization dedicated to the dissemination of high quality scholarship by political scientists. The decline in Federal funding of social science research, in particular, political science research was a major impetus for me to actively advocate and to get involved to help promote awareness about the loss of federal funding for social science research.
- Will you please give us an overview of how you spent the day on Capitol Hill?
Advocacy Day as a part of the 2015 COSSA meeting was very exciting. I arrived on Capitol Hill early in order to get a sense of the layout of the buildings which gave me an opportunity to start the day by engaging with workers on Capitol Hill about daily affairs and politics. While on the Hill, I worked with an excellent team which consisted of a research professor and demographer to encourage Federal lawmakers to support specified funding levels for National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) research. I met with several congressional staff members to inform them about the importance and necessity of social science research, in particular political science scholarship. As one of the research professors in the group, I specifically detailed the significance of my current research and how it is vitally important to educate, mentor, and train the next generation of students. I also emphasized the positive impact it has on the state’s economy. One of the highlights of my Capitol Hill visit is that I got an opportunity to personally speak to a Congressperson from my state delegation to impress upon the Member of Congress (MC) how social science research and innovation is a driving force for continuing to enhance higher education and learning. COSSA’s advocacy day was an intellectually rewarding experience.
- You’ve signed up again for the 2016 event; why do you think it’s important to participate?
I believe it is important to participate in the 2016 COSSA meeting and advocacy day in order to engage in a sustained dialogue about the necessity of supporting and increasing funding levels for social science research. I think it is vital to build upon the professional relationship with MCs, staffers, and other central personnel to continue to emphasize why social science research is necessary and why there should be Federal investment, in particular, in political science research.
- What do you think is the most important message for members of the political science community to share with their elected representatives?
Encourage elected officials to elevate awareness and the conscious of their fellow MCs (colleagues) by participating in vigorous and serious discourse about the importance of political science research to the livelihood of the academy, student learning and economic innovation. In addition, I believe it is critical to convey that American political science research is intricately linked to the health of our governmental system, democracy and civic literacy.
- Is there anything else you’d like to add?
COSSA is a great way to get involved in important work which drastically impacts researchers and the academy. It is an excellent means to connect with MCs, staffers as well as researchers and professors from other universities.
Travel grants are still available for MPSA members interested in attending the upcoming COSSA Annual Meeting and Social and Behavioral Science Advocacy Day (March 15-16, 2016) or the NHA Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day (March 14-15, 2016) events in Washington DC. MPSA anticipates that those funded will serve as a core group involved in advocacy activities in support of social sciences as the association continues work with COSSA, NHA and other agencies. The deadline for applications is January 25, 2016. Notifications will be made within a week. Click here for more information and to apply.