January 20, 2016  

Weldon named inaugural director of Purdue Policy Research Institute

Laurel Weldon, Distinguished Professor of Political Science in Purdue's College of Liberal Arts, will serve as inaugural director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute, effective Feb. 15.

The Purdue Policy Research Institute, formerly known as the Global Policy Research Institute (GPRI), is now a part of Discovery Park and has been relocated to Mann Hall. "The integration into the strategic framework of Discovery Park will deepen faculty participation in policy research on campus and maximize the impact on society of the solutions to the grand challenges Discovery Park seeks to address," says Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, chief scientist and executive director of Discovery Park.

Weldon was a key figure in the evolution of GPRI, chairing the presidential task force established for its development and serving as chair and co-chair (with Wally Tyner, the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics) of the Faculty Leadership Committee for GPRI from its inception until 2012. Specializing in public policy, she has authored two books and co-edited the first "Oxford Handbook on Politics and Gender." She is also a founding co-editor of the journal Politics, Groups and Identities.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School for Public and International Affairs, Weldon came to Purdue's political science department in 1999. She was the founding director of the Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion. From 2013 to 2014, she served as interim vice provost for faculty affairs, and also served briefly as acting provost in 2014.

Suzanne Nielsen, a faculty fellow of the Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships and a professor in the Department of Food Science in Purdue's College of Agriculture, is serving as interim director of PPRI until Weldon takes over. "We very much appreciate Suzanne serving in this critical position during the transition phase," Díaz de la Rubia says. 

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