Richard Scher, professor of political science and 1997-98 Robin and Jean Gibson Term Professor, has a lot on his plate. Scher's new book, The Modern Political Campaign, comes out this month, just as emerging candidates for the Florida governorship and the US presidency kick off their campaigns. But political campaigns are just one of Scher's interests. His research also focuses on voting rights, government institutions, Southern and state politics, electoral behavior and the interaction of the electorate and the government at the state and local level.
At present, he is writing a book on political culture in Florida. "For this project," says Scher, "I'm interested in analyzing the role politics and government play in Floridians' lives. Is politics up there with finding a nice place to live and putting food on the table, or does it rank more with taking out the garbage?" He intends not only to examine trends of Florida's past and present, but also to look ahead. "I'd like to explore ways in which Florida can create a sense of community...of political common ground," he explains.
In another current project, Scher and fellow political science professor Ken Wald just signed on with publisher M.E. Sharpe to produce a series of books on regionalism in American politics. The series will examine, Scher says, "the rules, rituals and rhythms of politics in different regional contexts across the country."
Scher stresses the impact that winning a term professorship will have on his continued productivity. "In the social sciences research business," Scher notes, "time and access to resources are the most important criteria, and the Gibson Professorship has provided me with more of both. The salary supplement and research stipend have enabled me to hire a research assistant and to attend conferences that I would not have otherwise been able to go to. These enrichments will ultimately make my projects better."