Distinguished Professor Sheldon Goldman to Retire After 55 Years of Teaching at UMass Amherst

Sheldon Goldman
Sheldon Goldman

Sheldon Goldman, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, has announced his retirement after 55 years of teaching at UMass Amherst. Goldman arrived on campus in 1965 after receiving his Ph.D. at Harvard, and during his more than half century at UMass, has become one of the nation’s leading experts on the politics of judicial selection and confirmation.

In the 1960s, Goldman 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 late 1970s, Goldman began a series of articles in “Judicature” on federal judicial selection, the publication of which continued every other year until 2013. In total, he has published more than 70 articles in professional journals, two constitutional law casebooks and several other books including (with Thomas P. Jahnige) “The Federal Courts as a Political System.”

Goldman is also the author of “Picking Federal Judges: Lower Court Selection from Roosevelt Through Reagan,” published by Yale University Press, which was selected as an 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.

In 2004, Goldman was recognized with a Chancellor’s Medal, the highest recognition bestowed to faculty by UMass Amherst. In 2006, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Political Science Association's Law and Courts Section. In 2012, Goldman was named Distinguished Professor of Political Science. He has appeared on or been interviewed by “NBC Nightly News,” “Bill Moyer’s Journal,” “Voice of America,” “Rolling Stone,” “Ms. Magazine,” “The Wall Street Journal,” “The New York Times,” CBS and CNN, among many other regional and national media outlets.

Goldman is also well known for his devotion to teaching.  His numerous teaching honors include the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, a Best Professor recognition from the “Collegian” and a Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award. Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society, named Goldman the chapter’s Outstanding Teacher in 1988 and again in 2002. He has served as an advisor to Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Sigma Alpha, and was the department honors coordinator for political science for several years.

To recognize Goldman's many years of research and teaching, the political science department launched the Goldman Scholarship in his honor, awarded annually to a junior or senior who has excelled in the study of constitutional law, civil liberties and judicial politics.