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     Donald Downs

Title: Professor
Office: 303 North Hall
Office Hours: https://kb.wisc.edu/polisci/page.php?id=28163
Phone: 608.263.2295
Has Voicemail: Yes
E-Mail: dadowns@wisc.edu
Keywords: Civic and Liberal Education, Civil Liberties, Criminal Law, Free Speech, Military, Psychology and the Law, Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), University Politics

Donald Downs is the Alexander Meiklejohn Professor of Political Science, Law, and Journalism at UW-Madison, and the Glenn B. and Cleone Orr Hawkins Professor of Political Science at the University. He is also the director and co-founder of the University’s Wisconsin Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy (2007-present). The Center is dedicated to instilling critical knowledge and understanding of the core principles, institutions, and processes of liberal democracies, and to the advancement of genuine intellectual diversity on campus. Downs is also the former director of the University’s Legal Studies Program and its Center for the Study of Law, Society, and Justice (2004-7). Also, He is the president (and former secretary) of the independent and non-partisan faculty group, the Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights, one of the nation’s leading campus academic freedom and free speech groups (secretary 1996-2000, president since 2000).

Downs’ scholarship has dealt with a wide range of issues dealing with such issues as freedom of speech; academic freedom; American politics; political thought; political and legal movements; citizenship; campus politics; domestic violence, psychiatry, and the criminal law; and the relationship among the military, the university, and civic education. His prize winning books include Nazis in Skokie: Freedom, Community and the First Amendment; The New Politics of Pornography; More than Victims: Battered Women, the Syndrome Society, and the Law; Cornell `69: Liberalism and the Crisis of the American University; Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus; and the recently published Arms and the University: Military Presence and the Civic Education on Non-Military Students (Cambridge University Press). In addition to winning honors for his research, Downs has also won numerous teaching awards, including the University Teaching Award. He has been interviewed countless times by media and organizations around the world, and has been an active defender of academic freedom on campus (where he serves as the president of the Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights, an independent group) and in the nation.

In 2013, Downs received the national Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award for his defense of academic freedom and freedom of thought at UW-Madison and in higher education generally. He is also the faculty founder and advisor to the UW-Madison chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society, an organization dedicated to thinking about American foreign relations and international politics and the national interest. In 2012, the Madison chapter received the Society's award as the "Best New Chapter" in the country.

Downs was selected to give the "Charge to the Graduating Class" at the December 2013 graduation ceremony in the Kohl Center. The selection was done by a group of student leaders on campus in consultation with Dean of Students.

Downs won the University's 2014 Hilldale Award in the Social Studies for " A Distinguished Career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Research, Teaching, and Service." The award is given to four faculty members campus-wide each year for outstanding achievement in his or her division of research (Biological Sciences; Physical Sciences; Humanities; Social Studies).


Recent Publications

Donald Downs “The Purposes of Higher Education: The Moral Act and Military Education” in Alan I. Marcus, ed.,  Science as Service: Establishing and Reformulating American Land Grand Universities, 1865-1930 (University of Alabama Press, 2015)   
Donald Downs “Liberal Education, Politics, and the Problem of Freedom,” in Daniel Cullen, ed., Liberal Education and Liberal Democracy (Lexington Books, Forthcoming 2016).   
Donald Downs “The Wisconsin Fight for Academic Freedom,” with Stanley G. Payne, Academic Questions, Summer 2016:
Donald Downs “What Boundaries for Science?” Commentary, John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy (2013)
Donald Downs “Overcoming Shalala and the Speech Code Movement” (Acceptance Speech for Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award), Minding the Campus (2013)
Donald Downs “Civic Education versus Civic Engagement,” in "A Crucible Moment? A Forum on the President’s Call for a New Civics,” Academic Questions, National Association of Scholars (2012)
Donald Downs “FIRE Singes the Censors,” (review of Greg Lukianoff’s Unlearning Liberty), Minding the Campus (2012)
Donald Downs “Require a Freshman Course on Academic Freedom,” in "One Hundred Great Ideas for Higher Education," Academic Questions, National Association of Scholars (2013)
Donald Downs “A Misguided Feminist Agenda Curbs Free Speech,” Minding the Campus (2013)
Donald Downs, Arms and the University: Military Presence and the Civic Education of Non-Military Students (Cambridge University Press, 2012)   
Donald Downs, “The Pendulum Swings: The Fall and Return of ROTC to Elite Campuses, and Why It Matters,” The Forum, Vol. 9, no. 3 (2011).
Donald Downs “Watching Out for Number One,” Wisconsin Interest, December 2011   
Donald Downs Essay in “Symposium,” “The Danish Cartoon Controversy and the Challenges of Multicultural Politics: A Discussion of The Cartoons That Shook the World, By Jytte Klausen.” In Perspectives on Politics, September 2011.   
Donald Downs "ROTC and the Future of Liberal Education," Chronicle of Higher Education, The Chronicle Review, May 15, 2009.
Donald Downs "DuPont Circle Diversiphily," 22 Academic Questions (2009), pp. 207-225.   
Donald Downs "Academic Freedom: What It Is, What It Isn't, and How to Tell the Difference" John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, April 2009.