Prof. Redlawsk, nationally known for political polling, moves to Rutgers

BY EMILY MELVOLD | JULY 14, 2009 7:15 AM

With 10 years of campaign material packed up, his office is getting bare. Books are stacked into boxes and photos taken down.

David Redlawsk is leaving.

Starting this fall, the UI associate political science professor — the man quoted by the New York Times and NPR during the presidential campaign — will become director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and a political-science professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Roughly two years ago, officials at Rutgers mentioned the possibility of a job offer to Redlawsk. At the time, he said he would think about the opportunity.

He accepted the offer in May, and he is now preparing to depart. For him, the move is something of a homecoming; he grew up on the East Coast and earned a Ph.D. at Rutgers.

Colleagues and students said they are sad to see him go but wish him the best. They hold him and all of his work at the UI in high regard, they said.

“He is very hard working, and generous and creative and, most of all, flexible,” said Caroline Tolbert, a UI political-science professor who has worked with him on many projects. “He will be sincerely missed at Iowa.”

Tolbert and Redlawsk led the Hawkeye Poll initiative, a nationally recognized polling source using data collected by UI students. During the 2008 elections, Redlawsk carried three cell phones as more than a dozen major media outlets sought his perspective.

He served as chairman of his caucus precinct and the county and a delegate at the 2008 democratic national convention.

Redlawsk also served on the Student Publications Inc. Board for six years.

He had successfully applied for grants to fund the Hawkeye Poll projects, which included topics from support for gay marriage to predictions on the presidential race.

But now without Redlawsk, the poll will lose grant funding. The Hawkeye Poll will become a sort of co-op group, graduate students will insert their own questions into polls in exchange for their work rather than being paid.

Aside from the reputed poll, Redlawk’s research areas of interest include political psychology and American politics. More specifically, he studies voter decision-making, political corruption, and campaigns and elections. He worked closely with a number of students.

“I’ll definitely miss him because usually you get a handful of professors you work closely with, and he was one of those for me,” said Bill Franko, a third-year graduate student who has worked with Redlawsk as a research assistant since last summer.

In Redlawsk’s new position, he will spend less time teaching and more time on research and building the Eagleton Poll brand name, he said.

Redlawsk’s wife, Aletia Morgan, will stay in Iowa for the fall semester. Also an employee of the UI, Morgan is an information systems director at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. They have two sons — one a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago and another in his senior year at Cornell College.

“We are making a very slow move,” said Redlawsk, who is traveling back and forth between New Jersey and Iowa this summer.

He said his time in Iowa has been fulfilling.

“Iowa was a great move,” Redlawsk said. “It was really good for raising the family, and I have been able to do a lot professionally — and in learning and teaching — that wouldn’t have been possible other places.”

Franko said Redlawsk stands out in the UI political-science department because of his real-world experience and knowledge of politics.

“In terms of theory-building, [his involvement in real world politics] gives him a different insight and outlook on things,” he said.

Redlawsk said the combination of all of his activities help him to make connections between the academia and working worlds that keep his work fresh.

“This move to Rutgers is the next step for me to keep moving my research and work forward, but I will miss Iowa,” he said.

Redlawsk’s interesting tidbits

The UI professor accomplished a lot before even arriving at the UI.

• 1980: A.B., magna cum laude, political science, Duke University
• 1982: M.B.A. in Marketing, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University
• 1983-1986: Woodrow Wilson Administrative Fellow, Fisk University, Nashville, Lecturer in Management; Director of the Computer Center
• 1986-1990: Director of Computing, Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pa.
• 1990-1996: Technology Consultant (self-employed)
• 1996-1997: Associate Examiner (part-time), History & Social Sciences Group Educational Testing Service, Princeton, N.J.
• 1997-1999: Manager, Assessment Division Technology Support Group, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, N.J.
• 1999: Arrived at the UI

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