Shanto Iyengar
71MA, 72PhD

Achievement 2006

Shanto Iyengar

Shanto Iyengar, 71MA, 72PhD, is one of the worlds leading scholars on the relationship between media and politics. During his distinguished career as a professor, author, and speaker, he has earned the respect both of experts in the field and a broad popular audience.

After coming to the United States in 1966 to pursue his chosen field of study, Iyengar quickly distinguished himself. Already the recipient of a bachelors degree in his native India, he completed an American undergraduate degree at Linfield College in Oregon. In 1968, when he entered the UI graduate program in political science, he impressed his professors as an outstanding student.

After graduating from Iowa, Iyengar became a member of the political science faculty at Kansas State until 1980, when he was drawn to Yale University by a postdoctoral fellowship to study political psychology. He taught at Yale and SUNY-Stony Brook before UCLA recruited him in the late 1980s. Stanford University approached him a decade later, and Iyengar now holds senior positions in the political science department, which is ranked second in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and in the Department of Communication, where he is Chandler Chair in Communication and director of the Political Communication Lab.

Considered one of the top political scientists in the nation, Iyengar has published in all of the major journals in this field and received the prestigious Murray Edelman Lifetime Career Award from the American Political Science Association. In addition to this area of expertise, he is viewed as a pioneer in the field of political communication. His achievement in these two areas represents no small triumph in an age of high professional specialization.

Iyengar has published six books and countless academic articles. His work on the effects of negative campaign advertisements in American politics, Going Negative: How Political Advertisements Shrink and Polarize the Electorate, has not only gained widespread attention, but also contributed an important voice in the national debate on the subject. Another book that garnered international attention, Is Anyone Responsible?: How Television Frames Political Issues, appeared in paperback and was reprinted in a Spanish edition.

These works, and many others, are examples of how Iyengars writing combines high standards of scholarship even as it grapples with the most pressing questions our nation and world face about the nature of contemporary politics. His research has been supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

While Iyengar has undoubtedly made his mark in the elite academic world, he has maintained strong ties with the University of Iowa and the Department of Political Science. He regularly collaborates with faculty and graduates from Iowa, returns to offer seminars, helps UI graduates in their careers, and generally remains extraordinarily loyal to the university.

In Iowa and much farther afield, Shanto Iyengar is recognized for his impressive service as a teacher and for his invaluable contributions to the national and international discussion of media and politics.