On July 1, Professor of Political Science Joseph Klesner will succeed Professor of Political Science David Rowe as the director of the Center for the Study of American Democracy (CSAD). Rowe, who has led CSAD since 2018, will be on sabbatical until the fall of 2023 to pursue a Fulbright fellowship in Brussels.
CSAD, which was established in 2007, is dedicated to civil, nonpartisan political discourse between students, faculty and alumni. It regularly invites speakers to campus and holds lectures and panel discussions throughout the school year, in addition to providing research opportunities and internships such as the CSAD Associates Program for students.
Klesner has been teaching at Kenyon since 1985, and has held multiple administrative positions at the College, including associate provost, provost and senior advisor to the president for strategic planning. He specializes in public opinion and comparative politics, particularly in Latin America, and has previously served as director of the College’s international studies program and chair of the Department of Political Science.
“It is an honor to be asked to lead the CSAD at this critical time in America’s political development,” Klesner wrote in an email to the Collegian. “I hope to be able to schedule lectures, panel discussions, and larger conferences that will address the challenges currently posed to American democracy, placing those challenges into historical perspective and drawing on the insights of the most influential American political thinkers.”
Rowe, CSAD’s current director, was awarded a Fulbright NATO Security Studies fellowship and will move to Brussels over the summer to work at the German Marshall Fund. While there, he will focus on the future of the Transatlantic Alliance and transatlantic Liberal democracies. Rowe says he does not plan on reassuming his position at CSAD upon his return to Kenyon.
“I think [Klesner] is going to just do a great job and provide a vibrant dialogue for the campus and broader Kenyon community about the many challenges that confront democracy at this time,” Rowe said.
President Sean Decatur also expressed excitement about Klesner’s hiring. “I am thrilled that Professor Rowe has this opportunity to serve as a Fulbright NATO Security Studies Fellow,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “CSAD will be well-served by Professor Klesner’s deep expertise in comparative politics and his many connections across and beyond the Kenyon faculty.”