Cherie Strachan named director for Ray C. Bliss Institute


J. Cherie Strachan

J. Cherie Strachan

The Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences at The University of Akron (UA) has named J. Cherie Strachan, Ph.D., as professor of political science and director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics (Bliss Institute). She will begin July 1, 2022, pending approval by the UA Board of Trustees.

The Bliss Institute is a bipartisan research, teaching and experiential learning institute dedicated to increasing understanding of the political process with special emphasis on political parties, grassroots activity, civility and ethics, and hands-on learning through internships and events.

Mitchell S. McKinney, Ph.D., dean of the Buchtel College, noted, “Dr. Strachan emerged from a national search as the ideal candidate to lead the Bliss Institute. Her considerable strengths in scholarship and applied work, especially in the areas of civic engagement and civility in our public discourse, will allow her to continue to build upon the important work of the Bliss Institute to strengthen our civic culture and democracy.”

"I'm delighted that Dr. Strachan will be the next director of the Bliss Institute,” remarked John Green, Ph.D., interim director emeritus of the Bliss Institute. “As a UA alumna, she understands the Institute and the institution; as an outstanding scholar and teacher, she will bring excellence to both. I look forward to working with her on a smooth transition as well as on future projects."

Strachan currently serves as associate executive director of community engagement in the Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, where she is also a professor of political science.

Strachan says she is honored and beyond excited to have been chosen to lead the Bliss Institute, returning to the university where she received her Master of Arts in Political Science with a Certificate in Applied Politics (’94).

“As an alumna, I am dedicated to upholding the legacy of the Bliss Institute, because I know from personal experience the role it plays in transforming students’ lives,” remarked Strachan. “Under the leadership of Dr. John Green, the Bliss Institute has always been committed to curriculum and programming designed to help students become the civic and political leaders that our democracy needs. I am honored that I was selected to carry this tradition forward.”

Strachan’s political science research combines her interest in political participation, voluntary civic and political organizations, and political communication. Her recent work explores how the #MeToo movement affects women’s political ambition, the effects of partisan polarization and rudeness on political engagement, and the role of civility in a democratic society. Her applied pedagogy research focuses on facilitating student-led deliberative discussion sessions and on enhancing the political socialization that occurs within campus student organizations.

Strachan participates in the American Political Science Association (APSA), currently serving on both the Committee on Organized Sections and the Political Science Education Section’s Executive Committee, as well as on a working group titled Rethinking the Political Science Undergraduate Major. She is Reviews Editor for APSA’s Journal of Political Science Education, as well as founder and co-director of a consortium designed to help colleges and universities assess civic education efforts—in both campus-wide initiatives and in political science courses. Strachan also recently co-authored the textbook “Why Don’t Women Rule the World?” with Sage-CQ Press.

Strachan earned a Bachelor of Arts from Murray State University, a Master of Arts in Political Science from UA, and a Doctor of Philosophy from SUNY Albany.

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or