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Political Scientist Jennings Hailed as ‘Giant’ in Social Sciences

By Andrea Estrada

M. Kent Jennings, professor of political science, was given an award for meritorious service to the social sciences.

The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) has honored M. Kent Jennings, professor of political science, with the Warren E. Miller Award for Meritorious Service to the Social Sciences.
The award, which recognizes individuals who have had a profound impact on social science research and infrastructure, was presented at the organization’s meeting last month at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
“This is a fitting honor for a giant in the social sciences,” said Melvin Oliver, dean of social sciences at UCSB. “Practically all empirically based scholars doing social science research have benefited from the superb services of ICPSR. Kent’s original social science surveys, his commitment to empirically based research, and his service as a leader in political science are all aptly captured in this great honor.”
Added John Woolley, chair of the Political Science Department: “The Miller award has gone to an exceptionally distinguished list of scholars who have contributed to large-scale social science research. Kent Jennings is appropriately included among them.
“He has led the field in using large panel surveys—repeated surveys of the same individuals—to disentangle the factors that may change political attitudes.”
The award was established in 1993 and named for ICPSR’s co-founder and first executive director.
“This award has special meaning for me because of my long friendship and admiration for Warren E. Miller,” said Jennings. “He had a rare vision and talent for institution-building. The award is also special because I was able to watch at first hand the development of the ICPSR into a superb resource for researchers and teachers around the world. It is an honor to be associated with its invaluable contributions to the social sciences.”
Jennings is a past president of the American Political Science Association and the International Society of Political Psychology, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982. He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and grants from the Ford Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes for Mental Health.
In 2004, he was listed in the Political Science 400, a compendium of scholars whose work has been cited most frequently by other researchers.