Goldman appointed Distinguished Professor

The Board of Trustees voted June 6 to appoint Sheldon Goldman of the Political Science Department as a Distinguished Professor.

The appointment recognizes Goldman's outstanding research, service and teaching over the course of his nearly 47 years on the faculty. During that time, Goldman has become one of the nation's top experts on the politics of judicial selection and confirmation. In the 1960s, he was one of the first scholars who sought to expand traditional public law approaches to the study of the judiciary, and his research effectively shifted the focus of federal court scholarship from a singular examination of the Supreme Court to a broader and more inclusive study of Law and the Courts.  In the 1970s, Goldman began a series of articles in Judicature on federal judicial selection -- a series which he continues to write to this day.

Goldman is the author of “Picking Federal Judges,” which was selected Outstanding Academic Book for 1998 by Choice magazine and received Honorable Mention for the 1997 C. Herman Pritchett Award given by the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. He is recipient of a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and Harvard Fellowship and he has received grants from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, LBJ Foundation, Harry S. Truman Library Institute and the Ford Library.

In 2004, Goldman was recognized with a Chancellor’s Medal, and in 2006 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Political Science Association's Law and Courts Section. Goldman has appeared on or been interviewed by “NBC Nightly News,” “Bill Moyer’s Journal,” CBS, Voice of America, CNN, Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, among many other regional and national media outlets.

Goldman is also well-known for his excellent teaching. “Shelly’s commitment and passion for teaching has made him a beloved professor for so many of our current and former students,” says Brian Schaffner, who chairs the Political Science Department. “Whenever I meet with our alumni I know I can count on hearing a collection of stories about how Shelly Goldman motivated and inspired them when they were students at UMass. I am honored to have Shelly as a colleague.”

Goldman's teaching honors include multiple college Outstanding Teaching Awards, a Best Professor recognition from the Daily Collegian and selection  as a Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honors society, named Goldman the chapter’s Outstanding Teacher in 1988 and again in 2002. He continues serve as an advisor to Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Sigma Alpha and has been the department’s honors coordinator for several years. 

"Shelly has done everything a faculty member should do, and done it all in an exceptional way," says College of Social and Behavioral Sciences dean Robert S. Feldman. "Not only an extraordinary researcher and teacher, he has had a significant impact on the way legal scholars and practicing lawyers view the federal judiciary. He has served the college and university well in every way."

To recognize Goldman's appointment and many years of research and teaching, the department plans to launch a campaign to name a scholarship in his honor this summer. Those interested in donating should contact Michelle Goncalves.

"It is only fitting that we honor Shelly with a scholarship that would provide support for the very students he continues to inspire,” says Schaffner.