Douglas R. Hess, PhD
I entered academia relatively late in life after spending two decades working, first, as a community and labor organizer and, later, as an analyst and strategist for several national nonprofit organizations. After college, I worked as an employee or consultant for ACORN, the Teamsters (and campaign stints with other unions), the Human Rights Campaign, Project Vote, and the Food Research and Action Center. I have also done consulting work for philanthropic organizations. Years ago, through a series of strange accidents, I also became involved with Haiti's pro-democracy movement, living there for a time and returning several more times over the years with human rights activists, journalists, and refugee lawyers.
Teaching and Higher Education
Taught policy studies and political science for Grinnell College, Smith College, George Washington University, and Georgetown University.
Research & Teaching Interests
My current research interests include food security and voting rights, both in the US. Regarding the latter, I have been studying the implementation, enforcement, and outcomes of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) since 1994. I am one of the few national experts on the NVRA. I have provided technical assistance on improving implementation of the Act to state and federal officials. I also worked for or with advocacy groups on litigation and remedial strategies for fair implementation of this critical civil rights law. I am currently working with several groups to compile data from NVRA litigation and study the impact of their enforcement interventions. Other recent research projects include a study of food access in neighborhoods using a survey from Housing and Urban Development and compiling a publicly available and historical database of state election policies. My other interests include engaged scholarship in political science and ways to incorporate policy analysis and, more broadly, public problem-solving in undergraduate curricula.