Anna Harvey, founding director of the Public Safety Lab at New York University, has been named the 15th president of the New York-based Social Science Research Council. Harvey takes office on July 1 and succeeds sociologist Alondra Nelson, who has taken a role as a key science adviser to the Biden administration.
A political scientist by training, Harvey is also an affiliated professor of data science and affiliated professor of law at NYU. Her most recent coauthored book, Judicial Decision-Making, integrates social science and legal approaches to understanding how judges render decisions and settle cases. Her 2013 book, A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy, investigated how decision-making in the highest court in the United States interacts with Congress. In addition, Harvey has had enduring interest in gender equality and democratic representation in electoral politics, a topic examined in her first book, Votes without Leverage: Women in American Electoral Politics, 1920–1970 (1998), exploring the dynamics of women’s suffrage. Her research has been supported by grants from Arnold Ventures, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others.
She will be the 15th president and CEO of the 98-year-old Social Science Research Council (SSRC), an independent, international research nonprofit organization.
“We are delighted that Anna Harvey will lead the SSRC into its second century,” said Helen Milner, chair of the SSRC Executive Committee and search committee chair. “She has a deep understanding of interdisciplinary developments in social science, as well as the need to engage with the challenges and imperatives of today, with a range of stakeholders within and beyond the academy.”
The SSRC works with practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers in the social sciences, related professions, and the arts, humanities, and natural sciences. The SSRC builds networks, working with partners in the United States and around the world to link research to practice and policy, strengthen individual and institutional capacities for learning, and enhance public access to information. Whether confronting emerging issues, like the global pandemic, or persistent challenges, such as inequality and climate change, the SSRC challenges established knowledge pathways and builds new ones to a better world.
“The SSRC was founded to support social science in the public interest, with the ultimate goal of more effective and more equitable public policy,” Harvey was quoted. “There is much important and hard work to be done to reach that goal, and the SSRC is uniquely positioned to unite the research, policy, and philanthropic communities in the work of understanding how our societies can better support human well-being around the globe. I look forward to contributing to that work.”
Harvey ‘s Public Safety Lab at New York University, a community-engaged research initiative that draws on the dual lenses of social science and data science to provide insight into mass incarceration and recommendations for improvement of the criminal justice system. The Public Safety Lab works with communities, researchers, and justice agencies to advance equity in the justice system.
At NYU, Harvey served as chair of the Department of Politics from 2001 to 2004 and as interim dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 2015 to 2017. As dean, Professor Harvey partnered with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on a program to increase the participation of underrepresented students in graduate education.
Nelson, who is also Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, began a five-year term as president of the SSRC on September 1, 2017. Earlier this year, the new U.S. president announced plans to re-invigorate the Office for Science and Technology Policy and named her to a newly created position: Deputy Director for Science and Society.