Susan Herbst

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Susan Herbst
15th President of the University of Connecticut
In office
June 1, 2011 – Present
Preceded by Michael J. Hogan
Personal details
Born New York, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Doug Hughes
Children two
Residence Storrs, Connecticut, U.S.
Alma mater Duke University (B.A.)
University of Southern California (Ph.D.)
Profession Academic Administrator, Political Scientist

Susan Herbst, a political scientist, is the 15th and current president of the University of Connecticut. She was named the president of the university on December 20, 2010,[1] and took office on June 1, 2011. She succeeded Michael J. Hogan and is the first woman to be selected as the University of Connecticut’s president since the school’s founding in 1881.

Administrative and academic career[edit]

Prior to her appointment to the presidency, Herbst served as executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at the University System of Georgia, where she led 15 university presidents and oversaw the academic missions for all 35 public universities in Georgia.

She also worked closely with the system’s Board of Regents on all aspects of finance and higher education policy for the state. The system has more than 311,000 students, roughly 10,000 faculty members, and a budget of more than $6 billion a year. Herbst also held a faculty appointment as a professor of public policy at Georgia Tech.

Herbst was previously provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at SUNY-Albany from 2005 to 2007, and also served as acting president of the school for a year. She also served as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University from 2003 to 2005.

Herbst joined Northwestern University as an assistant professor in 1989 and remained there until 2003. She became Professor of Political Science and Communication Studies in 1999, and eventually chaired the Department of Political Science.

Herbst has authored many scholarly journal articles and books, including her most recent book, Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in American Politics (Temple University Press), released in September 2010. Her publications also include Reading Public Opinion: Political Actors View the Democratic Process (University of Chicago Press, 1998), Politics at the Margin: Historical Studies of Public Expression Outside the Mainstream (Cambridge University Press, 1994), and Numbered Voices: How Opinion Polls Have Shaped American Politics (University of Chicago Press, 1995), among others. Along with Benjamin I. Page, Lawrence R. Jacobs and Jamie Druckman, she edits the University of Chicago’s Chicago Studies in American Politics


Herbst received her B.A. in political science from Duke University in 1984 and her Ph.D. in communication theory and research from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles in 1989.


Herbst was born in New York City and raised in the mid-Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y. She and her husband, Doug Hughes, have two children, Daniel and Rebecca. Herbst was appointed to Cenveo's Board of Directors on September 18, 2013.[2]

Herbst has two brothers: Jeffrey, president and CEO of the Newseum in Washington, DC,[3] and Steve, vice president of broadcasting and global media strategy for NASCAR.[4]

Accomplishments and Initiatives[edit]

In December 2011, the UConn Board of Trustees approved Herbst's plan to hire 300 new tenured or tenure-track faculty members, in contrast to trends in higher education that have seen faculty growth flatten or decline at other universities.[5]

Herbst has also overseen two major state investments in UConn: Next Generation Connecticut and Bioscience Connecticut, both of which were passed by the Connecticut state legislature and signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in 2013 and 2011, respectively.

Next Generation Connecticut, which includes $1.5 billion in state spending, is intended to expand research and teaching capabilities in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines at UConn over the next decade, as well as add new faculty in the humanities.[6]

Bioscience Connecticut is an $864 million initiative to revitalize UConn Health by expanding enrollment in the medical and dental classes, building new business incubators, creating centers of excellence with neighboring institutions, and other plans.[7]

Philanthropy and Outreach[edit]

Before her August 2011 inauguration as President of the University of Connecticut, Susan Herbst and her husband Doug donated $100,000 to the University of Connecticut Foundation. The donation funded the Susan Herbst and Douglas Hughes Family Scholarship, an award that is given to an undergraduate humanities student demonstrating academic achievement and need. Of her philanthropy, Herbst told the Hartford Courant:

"Doug and I join so many generous UConn donors in support of students who cannot afford to attend the university without significant help...In these difficult times, UConn desperately needs increased private funding of student scholarships, faculty research, and building projects in order to become the top flagship university the state of Connecticut and its citizens deserve."
Susan Herbst [8]

In a further effort to increase financial endowment for the University of Connecticut, in July 2011 Herbst announced a goal for fundraising of more than $1 billion. Due to state budget cuts, the public university looks to donations from private philanthropists and businesses to avoid further tuition increase (which had spiked 2.5% in Fall 2011).[9]


In October 2013, seven current and former students filed a federal complaint against the University of Connecticut for its allegedly inadequate response to sexual assault complaints on campus. Herbst faced criticism by student activist groups such as the IX Network for failing to investigate the sexual assault reports as required of Title IX stipulations.[10] Though Herbst originally called the criticism of the University's response "astonishingly misguided," she began a campus-wide discourse on further actions the administration could take to improve campus culture, inviting students to personally contact her on ways the University could foster positive change.[11]

In 2016, Herbst was criticized by state legislators after giving raisies to several senior staff. The move came in the midst of funding cuts and tuition raises. Leaders of both parties from both the House and Senate opposed the raises and encouraged Herbst and the University to rescind them.[12]


  1. ^ "UConn Names Susan Herbst Its 15th President | UConn Today". Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  2. ^ "Cenveo Announces Appointments of New Directors". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  3. ^ "Newseum names its next CEO". Washington Post. Washington Post. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Steve Herbst, NASCAR, VP of Broadcasting and Global Media Strategy". Sports Video Group. Sports Video Group. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Mole, Beth. "Bucking the Bad Economy, a Few Universities Plan to Hire Hundreds of Faculty". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Phaneuf, Keith M. "UConn officials say ‘Next Gen CT’ off to a fast start". The CT Mirror. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Staff. "State: Bioscience CT projects on target". Hartford The Hartford Business Journal. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Kathleen. “New UConn President Donates $100,000 for Scholarship.” Hartford Courant. 6 July 2011. Web. Retrieved 13 Nov. 2013.
  9. ^ Reitz, Stephanie."UConn President Susan Herbst: Let's Push Endowment Past $1B."[1] Huffington Post. 7 September 2011. Web. Retrieved 13 Nov. 2014.
  10. ^ Kingkade, Tyler. "UConn Failed to Investigate Sexual Assault Reports and Protect Victims, Complain Claims." Huffington Post. 21 Oct. 2013. Web. Retrieved 12 Nov. 2014.
  11. ^ Sander, Libby. “Spotlight on Campus Responses to Rape Puts Presidents in a Bind.” Chronicle of Higher Education. Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 Nov. 2013. Lexis Nexis. Web. Retrieved 12 Nov. 2014.
  12. ^ "Legislative leaders call UConn tone deaf over raises for top staff"

External links[edit]