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Government professor Chryl Laird will leave Bowdoin for the University of Maryland – The Bowdoin Orient

Cheng Xing
going home: Professor Chryl Laird, who has attracted national media attention for her research on black political behavior, has accepted a offer to join the faculty of the University of Maryland, his alma mater.

Marvin H. Green, Jr. Assistant professor of government Chryl Laird will leave Bowdoin at the end of the year for a new position at the University of Maryland (UMD), Laird announced on Twitter April 28. media attention for her 2020 book "Steadfast Democrats: How Social Forces Shape Black Political Behavior," co-authored with Ismail White, professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, and has been featured as a frequent guest on various outlets. communications, including CNN MSNBC, both during and after the 2020 election cycle.

Laird, who attended UMD as a student and still has family in the area, was contacted by the university earlier this year. It explained that it took into consideration a number of factors, including academic opportunities and opportunities for the community, in its decision


"The government department here [at Bowdoin] has been fantastic and has been incredibly supportive of my journey … but Maine is far from my family and far from home, and there are also some unique factors of being in Maine that, after you ' I've been here for a while, you start to think about it, "Laird said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. "It is a community with which I had not had much experience … particularly for me, the racial homogeneity of the space comes into consideration."

In the past year, and alongside the 2020 elections and the Black Lives Matter movement, Laird's focus on racial and ethnic politics has proven to be particularly prominent, both nationally and within the university community. She anticipates that when she returns to College Park, Maryland, which is located outside of Washington, D.C., this unique skill set is likely to offer her new career opportunities for collaboration and research.

"I imagine he would be doing various things [in D.C.]," Laird said. “It is a balance when you are someone who works in certain areas that are sought after or in high demand due to the political moment. Right now, because we're in the middle of Black Lives Matter, you don't just need to find the places, spaces, and opportunities that come your way that you think are relevant to your work, but you don't want to be overwhelmed either. with too much demand. "

" I'm excited how those things could look and the opportunities are a little easier when you're located so close to everything, "added Laird." So it's not that hard to do that guy. of collaborations. "

Government Professor Thomas Brackett Reed and Chairman of the Department of Legal and Government Studies Andrew Rudalevige noted that the high demand for Laird's research, in terms of media attention and opportunities for Professional collaboration is a factor in the academic market.

"We want to hire people who are so good that other people steal them," said Rudalevige in an interview with the East. "That is part of the danger of the industry , and it is an industry [itself] to some extent. We can try to think that it is pure and immune to that kind of competitive rivalry, but the fact is that there will always be a demand for good academics. ”

Rudalevige said the department hopes to speed up the process of hiring a replacement for Laird so that the gaps in the curriculum left by his departure are filled quickly.

"Everyone who teaches American politics has We have to deal with the race issue, so it's not a question of where we're missing that from the curriculum, "Rudalevige said. "But given the relevance of racial and ethnic politics to the broader issues of American civic life right now, we obviously see [Laird’s departure] as a void that we must fill."

Rudalevige also emphasized that Laird's replacement process will be accompanied by a broader conversation about how the department should look in the future.

"Over time, we want to keep a very close eye on the diversification of the government department," Rudalevige said. “A priority is making sure that we are teaching a broad curriculum and that we are reflecting what is an increasingly diverse student body at Bowdoin and in the field. We want to make sure we represent that in all kinds of ways. ”

For Laird, the Bowdoin community was a new experience for her, coming from large research universities like UMD, but it has been memorable.

"My time here [at] Bowdoin has been one that I will definitely think fondly of," Laird said. “I have enjoyed all the students and the people that I have interacted with here… I am always completely impressed by what is possible of the students here, so I will miss it, and I will miss many of those opportunities to interact with the students in the way we do it here at Bowdoin, because it's special. ”

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