R. Lance Holbert Named to Lead Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics

Holbert will join the Annenberg School in July.

By Annenberg Public Policy Center

Communication scholar R. Lance Holbert, Ph.D., has been named research professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication and director of the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics (LAIC) at Penn’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, where he will direct its widening efforts to bring civics education to diverse audiences.

Holbert, formerly a communication professor at Temple University, will direct LAIC’s work with Annenberg Classroom, the policy center’s initiative providing award-winning videos, games, books, and lesson plans on the U.S. Constitution, and its work as facilitator of the Civics Renewal Network (CRN), a partnership of over 40 nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing no-cost, high-quality civics education resources.

“Professor Holbert’s pathbreaking scholarship on debates, deliberation, and fact-checking couple with his methodological expertise to ensure that under his leadership, LAIC will thrive as it creates research and engagement that matter,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC).

R. Lance Holbert
R. Lance Holbert, Ph.D.

Holbert, who has been an APPC distinguished research fellow for the past decade, will work closely with Andrea (Ang) Reidell, LAIC’s director of outreach and curriculum.

“It is an honor to begin my work as director of the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, a leader in the higher education arena,” Holbert said. “Leonore Annenberg was a tireless advocate for improving civics education and her legacy will remain a bedrock for all future work undertaken by this amazing institute.

“There is a growing understanding, in various sectors, that our nation needs to devote more attention to civics. The contentious nature of the nation’s current sociopolitical climate has revealed the importance of a quality civics education, but it is this same climate that has also made civics education a more contested endeavor. While being mindful of this context, LAIC can aid in the building of civic education’s capital reserves in several ways.”

While maintaining a central focus on K-12 public schools, Holbert said, LAIC will also explore new opportunities for the CRN partners to educate a wide range of publics about civics and make civics education “a lifelong learning process.” He said LAIC plans to work with groups to seek additional funding opportunities in civics and provide research support through data collection and analysis to determine the effectiveness of different educational approaches and efforts.

“Making quality advancements” in these areas, he said, “will increase the financial, human, social and structural capital levels of the civics education community.”

R. Lance Holbert is a quantitative social scientist whose scholarship has focused on media, politics, and persuasion. The author or co-author of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, books or book chapters, Holbert is also a fellow of the International Communication Association and a former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Communication. He received his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Rochester, dual masters’ degrees from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School of Citizenship, and his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Media Contact: Michael Rozansky, Annenberg Public Policy Center, (215) 746-0202, michael.rozansky@appc.upenn.edu