Professor Moffitt’s research focuses on American political institutions and public policy. Her research combines political science and public policy to explain barriers confronting policy development and implementation in government agencies, especially in the fields of public education and public health. Her latest book, co-authored with Michaela O’Neill and David K. Cohen, is "Reforming the Reform: Problems of Public Schooling in the American Welfare State" (University of Chicago Press, 2023). She has published two other books: "Making Policy Public: Participatory Bureaucracy in American Democracy" (Cambridge University Press, 2014), and "The Ordeal of Equality: Did Federal Regulation Fix the Schools," co-authored with David K. Cohen (Harvard University Press in 2009). Her other scholarship has appeared in many journals including: the American Journal of Political Science; Journal of Politics; Perspectives on Politics; and American Journal of Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and an MPP degree from the University of Michigan.
Susan Moffitt’s research focuses on the development of capabilities to support policy making and practice, and to do so in ways consistent with democratic accountabilities.
How can designs of governance – including government agencies, community organizations, and private organizations – support capabilities for frontlines policy action and practice? How do designs of public governance support democratic accountabilities, or not? What problems do policymakers create in reform efforts? How can organizations and policymakers learn from experience? These are the fundamental questions that guide her research program, with particular emphasis on health and education policy.
Her latest book co-authored with Michaela O’Neill and David K. Cohen, "Reforming the Reform: Problems of Public Schooling in the American Welfare State" (University of Chicago Press, 2023), is an expansive study of the problems encountered by educational leaders at every level when they pursue reform, and how these issues cyclically translate into future topics of reform. The book provides a general explanation for problems facing social policy reforms in federalist systems (including healthcare) and offer pathways forward for education policy in particular.
Susan L. Moffitt, Michaela K. O’Neill, David K. Cohen. 2023. Reforming the Reform: Problems of Public Schooling in the American Welfare State. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Susan L. Moffitt, Cadence Willse, Kelly B. Smith, and David K. Cohen. 2021. Centralization and Subnational Capacity: The Struggle to Make Federalism Work Equitably in Public Education. Perspectives on Politics, Released on 8/26/21 through First View: https://www.doi.org/10.1017/S1537592721002012.
Paul Manna and Susan L. Moffitt. 2021. Traceable Tasks and Complex Policies: When Politics Matter for Policy Implementation. Policy Studies Journal 49 (1): 190-218.
Paul Testa, Susan L. Moffitt, and Marie Schenk. 2020. Public Preferences for New Information on Opioids. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 45(2).
Susan L. Moffitt, Matthew J. Lyddon, Michaela Krug O’Neill, Kelly B. Smith, Marie Schenk, Cadence Willse, and David K. Cohen. 2018. Frontlines Perspectives on Instructional Improvement in the Common Core Era. Technical Report, Getting Down to Facts II: Current Conditions and Paths Forward for California Schools.
Susan L. Moffitt, Matthew J. Lyddon, Domingo Morel, Michaela Krug O’Neill, Kelly B. Smith, Cadence Willse, and David K. Cohen. 2018. State Structures for Instructional Support in California. Technical Report, Getting Down to Facts II: Current Conditions and Paths Forward for California Schools.
Margot I. Jackson and Susan L. Moffitt. 2017. The State of Unequal Educational Opportunity: The Coleman Report 50 Years Later. ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 674: special issue.
POLS 2100, Proseminar in American Politics (Fall 2023)
POLS 1832Z, Gender and Public Policy (Spring 2024)