Political Science Department chairman Ian Shapiro not only holds a J.D., Ph.D., and M.Phil from Yale — he has also been a member of the faculty since 1984.
Donald Greene, who co-authored the book “Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory: A Critique of Applications in Political Science” with Shapiro in 1994, said Shapiro is intimate with the University, an asset students and professors have identified as crucial to the position of Yale College dean.
“If anybody’s wondering who’s got blue coursing through their veins, Ian has been here without let-up since 1978,” Greene said. “He’s certainly quite familiar with the city and the University. He’s seen New Haven through all sorts of different phases. And he knows every jot and tittle of University governance and procedure.”
Greene said Shapiro has been a consistent contributor to the University’s vitality.
“He was a smart and judicious graduate student,” Greene said. “Not only did he distinguish himself in school, but he was one of the rare people over the last 30 years with a Yale graduate degree who was hired afterward. It’s a testimony to the respect he earned from departmental colleagues of the time.”
Political Science professor John Wargo, one of Shapiro’s colleagues, said Shapiro’s diverse background gives him a unique perspective.
“Something that’s interesting is that he’s very respectful of science,” Wargo said. “But he also has a long history of scholarship in the area of political philosophy. He’s very thoughtful about ethical issues as well. His understanding of the humanities and the social sciences is extraordinary. He holds a law degree, so he understands the need for professional education.”
Shapiro was unavailable to comment.
April Joyner ’07 said she is impressed with Shapiro’s ability to engage his audience in class.
“When he’s giving a lecture, it’s not like he’s isolated,” Joyner said. “He’s not talking down to you. He’s very involved, and I think that’s indicative of [his] being very receptive to the student community.”
Greene said one of Shapiro’s most important qualities is his vigor.
“He’s very imaginative and incredibly energetic,” Greene said. “He’d make a good dean or good anything because he works tirelessly to make things better. He brings solid judgment to his issues.”
Greene said Shapiro’s rejuvenation of the Ethics, Politics, and Economics Program — he served as the program’s director from 1992-1998 and 2000-2001 and supervised the renovation of the building at 31 Hillhouse Ave. — is an example of his vision and dedication.
Political science lecturer Harry Blair said Shapiro is experienced with working to find harmony among different groups.
“I think he’s very well attuned to program building and establishing a good balance in Political Science between people who do quantitative things and people who do qualitative research,” Blair said.
Shapiro won a Carnegie Scholarship for research in 2000, which he used for a project on democracy and distribution in the United States.
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