Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Political scientists honor Weimer with mentoring award

Political scientists honor Weimer with mentoring award

Dave Weimer, the Edwin E. Witte Professor of Political Economy at UW–Madison, received the 2017 Excellence in Mentoring Award in the Field of Public Policy from the American Political Science Association.

Simon Haeder, assistant professor of political science at West Virginia University, led the nomination effort. During his doctoral studies at UW–Madison, Haeder worked closely with Weimer.

“Dave is everything one can hope for in an academic mentor,” said Haeder. “He is kind, yet firm, generous with his time and thoughts, demanding and rigorous, understanding, engaging, patient, and reassuring. But beside that, he is a genuinely good person. He lets you be yourself.”

Weimer joined the La Follette School of Public Affairs and the Department of Political Science at UW–Madison in 2000, after 23 years on the faculty at his alma mater, the University of Rochester. During his distinguished career, he has made countless seminal contributions to the advancement of policy analysis and benefit-cost analysis as well as to the fields of health and energy policy, the nomination said.

Deven Carlson (MPA ’07) said Weimer’s attention to detail “is absolutely legendary – no imperfection, either stylistic or substantive, goes uncorrected.”

Carlson, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma, added that “I now appreciate just how rare it is to receive that degree of attention from such an expert, and recognize the extent to which those experiences influenced my intellectual development.”

Lara Rosen (MPA ’12) took only one class from Weimer; however, “he poured an enormous amount of time and energy into helping me become a skilled policy analyst. He wrote extensive comments on every draft of every paper and met with me many times to discuss his comments; he patiently worked with me to improve my analytical skills and to communicate my findings; and he helped me get published.”

La Follette School Emeritus Professor John Witte also commented on Weimer’s influence on students and colleagues alike. “As a grateful prior recipient of the APSA mentor’s award, I understand that the most important category is mentoring undergraduate and graduate political science students. And David has been superb in this role, but his influence in our department and discipline simply goes further and must be mentioned,” Witte said. “David also mentors research colleagues through an enormous list of collaborative projects – with many different sets of researchers.”

The award recognizes sustained efforts by a senior scholar to encourage and facilitate the career of emerging political scientists in the field of public policy. Weimer will receive his award September 1.

Weimer received his doctorate degree in public policy from the University of California-Berkeley. His research focuses broadly on policy craft and institutional design. Although most of his recent research has addressed issues in health policy, he has done policy-relevant research in the areas of energy security, natural resource policy, education, criminal justice, and research methods.