Don Norris, UMBC Professor and Md. Political Commentator, Retires

By Samuel Manas

Donald F. Norris, the director of the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s School of Public Policy and a leading commentator on Maryland and national politics, will retire Friday after 28 years at the university.

Norris, who has headed the School of Public Policy since 2007, also served as director of the university’s Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research, published seven books and was the founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Electronic Government Research. An expert on the relationship between government and technology, Norris has been quoted frequently in The Baltimore Sun, among other outlets, and has appeared on CBS Baltimore.

His commentary on Maryland politics can be pungent and savvy. Speaking of popular Gov. Larry Hogan (R) at the start of the 2017 General Assembly session, Norris told the Sun, “He’s going to really please his base by trying to get things he can’t get. He’s going to be able to appeal to independents and conservative and moderate Democrats by being a reasonable guy in other areas. That’s a hard package to beat.”


The School of Public Policy will continue under a new director, Susan Sterett, a professor at Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy. Sterett has also worked at the National Science Foundation and has taught at the University of Denver.

“I teach, think and write about what people and institutions do with law, particularly in social welfare,” Sterett says on her personal website.

At the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research, Norris will be succeeded on an interim basis by Anne Brodsky, a professor of Psychology and Gender and Women’s Studies at UMBC. Earlier this year, Brodsky completed a fellowship with the American Council on Education.

“Susan Sterett brings to the School of Public Policy an impressive range of academic and administrative experience, including her important work at the NSF,” Scott Casper, dean of UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences said in a statement. “Anne Brodsky’s contributions to UMBC and to community psychology are legion, and her ACE fellowship has deepened her already national field of vision. I look forward to their leadership in thinking expansively about and across the social sciences at UMBC.”

Norris, for his part, transitions to an emeritus role at the university. He told Maryland Matters that he plans to continue his research on local governments and cybersecurity, do volunteer work and spend winters at his Florida condominium.

“After my 28 years at UMBC, I leave with excitement about the new directions and contributions that Susan Sterrett and Anne Brodsky bring to the School and MIPAR,” he said.


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