What Does the Future Hold for Academic Associations?

Competing associations. A funding drought. Smaller travel budgets. Royalty streams drying up. Surely the future for academic associations is grim. Steven Rathgeb Smith, the executive director of the American Political Science Association, certainly sees challenges all around. But the former president of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action and one-time editor of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly also knows a thing or two about how to snatch opportunity from adversity. Here, Smith outlines the peril and the promise facing associations in a presentation he adapted for Social Science Space from one he gave in January 2014 at the Southern Political Science Association meeting in New Orleans.

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Steven Rathgeb Smith

Steven Rathgeb Smith is the executive director of the American Political Science Association Before joining the association in September 2013, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and the Nancy Bell Evans Professor of Public Affairs at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington, where he was also director of the Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy. His publications include Nonprofits for Hire: The Welfare State in the Age of Contracting (with Michael Lipsky), Governance and Regulation in the Third Sector: International Perspectives (co-edited with Susan Phillips) and the forthcoming book with the Johns Hopkins University Press, Nonprofits and Advocacy (co-edited with Robert Pekkanen). Currently, he serves on the board of directors of the International Society for Third Sector Research.

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