Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Yackee receives prestigious UW–Madison Kellett research award

Susan Webb Yackee Susan Webb Yackee

La Follette School Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee received a Kellett Mid-Career Award from UW–Madison’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education. The award, which supports faculty who are seven to 20 years past their first promotion to a tenured position, is named for the late William R. Kellett, a former president of Kimberly-Clark Co.

Yackee, one of 11 faculty members to receive a Kellett Award, studies U.S. policymaking, with a concentration on government regulations. Her current research explores the interplay between science and interest group influence during policy creation at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Working in an interdisciplinary area that has long been neglected by quantitative social scientists, Yackee has revolutionized our understanding of regulatory policymaking in the United States,” La Follette School Awards Committee members Greg Nemet and Geoffrey Wallace said in Yackee’s nomination. “Moreover … Yackee’s research has—quite literally—shaped recent congressional debates on interest group politics and regulatory reform.”

Four of Yackee’s peers outside of UW-Madison also wrote letters in support of the nomination, including one who said Yackee is “the dominant scholar on federal rulemaking in the United States.” Another letter writer described Yackee as “widely regarded as one of the (or more likely, the) top empirical scholar working on the administrative state.”

Yackee has 30 published or forthcoming journal articles as well as three book chapters in edited volumes. “This level of scholarly productivity is striking—both in terms of its quantity and quality—especially for someone who is only nine years post-tenure, who often collects her own data, and who since achieving tenure at UW–Madison, has been in almost continuous service in a faculty leadership position for the La Follette School,” the nomination said.

Yackee’s research is widely recognized for its significance. Most recently, she received the Herbert A. Simon Career Contribution Award from the Midwest Public Administration Caucus. Yackee was the youngest scholar to receive the Simon Award, the highest award in the field of political science for the study of bureaucracy and public administration. In 2015, Yackee was elected into the National Academy of Public Administration based primarily on her research accomplishments

“When Susan joined our faculty, we were certain that she would make unusually valuable contributions to the La Follette School and to the broader community of scholars and policymakers,” said La Follette School Professor Emeritus Dennis Dresang. “We were right. She epitomizes excellence in teaching, research, and academic leadership. Her many awards are well-deserved.”

At UW–Madison, she recevied a Collins-Bascom Professorship from the Provost’s Office in 2018, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship in 2015, Romnes Faculty Fellowship in 2013, and Vilas Associates Award in 2011. From the La Follette School, Yackee received the Herb Kohl Public Service Research Competition Award in 2017 and the Goldy Faculty Fellowship in 2015. She is the principal investigator of a $500,000 Innovations in Regulatory Sciences Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and she is co-principal investigator for a $142,388 grant from the Russell Sage Foundation.

Yackee received her doctorate in political science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. Upon graduation, she was selected for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Scholars in Health Policy Research Program, where she served as a post-doctoral Research Fellow for two years at the University of Michigan. She then spent two years on the faculty at the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy.

In 2007, Yackee joined UW–Madison, where she was promoted to associate professor in 2010 and to full professor in 2014. Yackee, who is tenured in the La Follette School of Public Affairs and Department of Political Science, also serves as director of the La Follette School’s Board of Visitors.