Major areas of research include American politics, the Presidency, and electoral behavior.
Lyn Ragsdale is Radoslav A. Tsanoff Professor of Public Affairs and Professor of Political Science. She served as the Dean of the Social Sciences at Rice University, the first woman to hold this position, from 2006 to 2016. Previously, she was the head of the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2001 to 2006, after having been on the faculty of the University of Arizona for 20 years. Professor Ragsdale received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in 1982. She is the past president of the Western Political Science Association and has served as the editor of the Political Research Quarterly. She has been a fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation and worked on Capitol Hill. She has written four books and numerous articles on the American presidency and electoral behavior. Her book, Vital Statistics on the Presidency in its fourth edition, has received the best book award from the American Political Science Association’s Presidents and Public Executives section. She has a new book forthcoming (with Jerrold Rusk) entitled The American Nonvoter which will be published by Oxford University Press. Her current research is about the major decisions of American presidents.