University of South Florida St. Petersburg



Political science professor chosen for Duckwall Professorship during important election cycle in Florida

Judithanne-fl-this week

Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan is often interviewed by local and national media outlets as part of their election night coverage. 

For the first time in its 25-year history at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, a political science professor has been named the Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies.

The newest recipient for the 2022-2024 academic years is Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, an associate professor in political science, a Fulbright Scholar and founding director of the Center for Civic Engagement at the St. Petersburg campus.

The two-year endowed professorship is given to a tenured faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at USF St. Petersburg. It provides access to approximately $12,500 per year in funding to support research activities, travel expenses and events centered on the study of Florida history.

"It's a tremendous honor, and I'm thrilled to be able to include a focus on Florida politics and government from a scholarly perspective," Scourfield McLauchlan said. "It's a prestigious fellowship opportunity and provides funding for programming and the research I would like to conduct."

Scourfield McLauchlan has wanted to apply for the professorship for several years but decided the time was right because of Florida's unique role in the upcoming elections. The professorship falls during the midterm election in 2022 that will feature a key gubernatorial and U.S. Senate race and the presidential election in 2024.

"This provides our Florida Studies students with the opportunity not just to follow Florida politics and campaigns in the media but to have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the scholarly literature, to conduct research related to Florida politics, to travel to Tallahassee and other field trips, to interact with Florida legislators and policymakers, and to intern on Florida campaigns and government offices," Scourfield McLauchlan explained.

Duckwall Professors are expected to teach a graduate-level course each academic year that deals substantively with Florida. During the spring 2023 semester, McLauchlan will teach Florida Politics and Government, and during the spring 2024 semester, she will teach Practical Politics: The Campaign Process, which will focus on campaigns and elections in Florida.

Additionally, the professorship funding will be used to bring guest speakers to the St. Petersburg campus, hold local candidate forums and possibly a U.S. Senate and a gubernatorial debate. For the research portion, Scourfield McLauchlan will study youth participation, civic engagement and civic education in Florida. She will present a series of campus-community lectures related to her research. 

Scourfield McLauchlan is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in civics education and incorporating civic engagement across the curriculum. She has published numerous articles and book chapters and presented her findings at regional, national and international conferences.  She has received national awards for this work from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Political Science Association, and Campus Compact, as well as a Diploma from the Republic of Moldova recognizing fruitful international cooperation and an award from the City of Klos, Albania in recognition of the promotion of democratic values, community engagement, democracy and volunteerism.

As the lead instructor of the USF St. Petersburg campus YMCA Civic Fellows Program, Scourfield McLauchlan developed a statewide civics education program that brings a university-level civics curriculum to selected students in the YMCA Youth in Government Program. As a Fellow of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, she conducted teacher training for new civics teachers across the state of Florida under the Sandra Day O'Connor Civics Education Act. While a Commissioner on the Florida Commission on Community Service, she worked to promote volunteerism and civic engagement throughout Florida.

Scourfield McLauchlan has been interviewed hundreds of times by local, state, national and international media outlets in print, radio and TV, including live analysis during nominating conventions, after presidential debates, and as a part of election night coverage for CBS, NBC and the BBC.

The Duckwall Professorship was launched in 1997 and is supported by generous donations from the Duckwall Foundation. Frank E. Duckwall, a physicist, turned successful businessman who ran an optics company in Tampa, decided to create a foundation dedicated to making the Tampa Bay region a better place. When he passed in 1993, he gave most of his estate to the Duckwall Foundation. The funding has helped support numerous programs and scholarships and innovative research on Florida history and studies over the years.

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