1976

Donald Matthews, Political Scientist


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Although U.S. Senators and Their World, by Donald R. Matthews, was published in 1960, it is still in print today and is often assigned reading in courses on the U.S. Congress. Describing the book, Senator John F. Kennedy wrote: "this profile of the Senator is sharp, perceptive, instructive and entertaining. Here, with anecdotes and critical comments, with charts, graphs and statistics, is the world of a United States Senator."

Matthews joined the UW political science department as chair in 1976. He earned his doctorate from Princeton and served on the faculty of Smith College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Brookings Institution, and the University of Michigan before coming to the UW.

U.S. Senators and Their World was greeted with praise from many members of the Senate when it first came out. At that time, Senator Lyndon Johnson called it "a landmark in the study of the Senate." Senator Hubert Humphrey described it as "a happy combination of scholarship and wit. It is an immensely valuable study...."

In addition to studying the Senate, Matthews has focused his research and teaching on such topics as the U.S. House of Representatives, voting of Blacks in the South, presidential nominating politics and the news media, and politics in Scandinavia. He is now completing a book on political representation in the Norwegian Parliament.

An exchange program between the UW and the University of Bergen in Sweden, initiated by Matthews in 1979, is fostering the development of new professional ties and collaborative relationships. The exchange program is intended to provide new research opportunities, and to have a stimulating effect on the faculty members through exposure to new ideas and technologies. Between 1979 and 1995, some 38 UW faculty members from oceanography, social work, education, music, political science, and fisheries, among other units, have served as consultants and researchers at the University of Bergen. In turn, 47 members of the University of Bergen faculty have made contributions to departments at the UW including medicine, psychology, engineering, chemistry, and comparative literature.

Outcomes of the program are continuing to benefit both institutions even after participants return home; lasting collaborative research projects have been forged and new courses have been developed and incorporated into the curriculum.

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