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Molly Scudder

Promoted to Associate Professor

School of Political Science

Molly Scudder received a Ph.D. and M.A in Government from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in Political Science and French from Santa Clara University. She joined the Purdue faculty in 2016.

Scudder’s research focuses on democracy, deliberation, and inclusion. She investigates how we can democratize everyday political communication among people in the public sphere. She has published one book and five refereed journal articles that challenge the dominant views in deliberative democratic theory. She argues that listening, not empathy, is key to inclusiveness in democratic processes.

Her theoretical concepts are impacting empirical measurement in the field. Scudder proposes a new instrument for measuring and assessing listening in face-to-face deliberation. The “listening quality index,” or LQI, tackles the observational challenge of measuring the act of listening itself, as opposed to listening outcomes.

Whether teaching in her home department or the Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program, Scudder’s overarching goal is to motivate and prepare students for informed and dynamic political engagement. In 2021 she received the Antonia Syson Cornerstone Teaching Award.

Meaningful inclusion is an important professional commitment. Scudder shares her work with lay audiences and scholars beyond her field, contributing to a deeper understanding of meaningfully democratic practice.