Category Archives: Alum

Kenny Lowande: from UVA to UMich

Kenneth LowandeStarting Fall 2018, Kenny Lowande will be an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy (by Courtesy) at the University of Michigan.

Kenny earned his Ph.D. from UVA in 2016, and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University. He studies American political institutions, policymaking, and the executive branch. The University of Michigan political science program is ranked 4th by the U.S. News and World Report.

Kenny spent four years in the program—advised by Jeff Jenkins (Chair), Craig Volden, Rachel Potter, and David Lewis (Vanderbilt). He first met Lewis during the American Politics Speaker Series at UVA. UVA’s Quantitative Collaborative funded portions of his dissertation and supported other research coauthored with Andrew Clarke. His first published paper grew out of a graduate seminar with Sidney Milkis.

A galvanizing moment of awareness occurred during his stint as Editorial Assistant at the Journal of Politics (2015–2016), while at UVA. “Famous” professors’ papers were routinely being rejected. Authors whose previous work was nonpareil, whose reputations were golden, were regularly being denied, and still they submitted. To Kenny this indicated persistence was key, as was listening to the advice of reviewers and maintaining a leathery hide.

He developed tough skin during the series of steps that led to Michigan. The doctoral program at UVA and multiple postdocs exposed him to different academic cultures, varying research pressures, and a broader range of scholars than one might see going straight from Ph.D. to faculty.

Kenny is a first-generation college student from Burbank, CA. When asked for advice for those who follow, he said…

“Being on the market is a full time job. Expect to spend most of Summer and Fall, preparing for, applying to, and getting a job. The periods between feedback are difficult.”

“There are a lot of talented, accomplished people on the market. It often takes time to find the right ‘fit.’”

“Be a good citizen. Read others’ work, share your data, go to talks, and review manuscripts (quickly).”