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Mack Shelley, Ph.D.

Mack Shelley serves as Director of the Iowa Family Impact Seminars. He holds the titled position of University Professor at Iowa State University, with a joint appointment in the Departments of Political Science and Statistics. He currently serves as Chair of the Department of Political Science.


His research, external funding, and teaching focus on applications of statistical methods to public policy and program evaluation, with emphasis on education policy and programs. He has received funding from numerous federal agencies, state agencies, and other organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Education, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of State, and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.


His publications include 19 books (several in multiple editions) and monographs, 36 book chapters, 128 journal articles and refereed proceedings, and 260 other publications. 

He was co-editor of Redefining Family Policy: Implications for the 21st National Science Foundation-funded book, Quality Research in Literacy and Science Education: International Perspectives and Gold Standards (Springer, 2009). In addition, he has presented and engaged in other roles (including panel chair, organizer, discussant, and attendee) at nearly 500 professional meetings.


He serves regularly as a consultant and evaluator for researchers, administrators, program staff, and students, and has received awards for research, teaching, and professional practice.

He has served as co-editor and a member of the editorial boards of a number of scholarly journals and other publications, including the Policy Studies Journal, TESOL Quarterly, and the Journal of Information Technology & Politics.


Shelley’s recent research has focused on education policy, particularly regarding K-12 science education, equity issues in mathematics achievement, and the retention and success of undergraduate college students. He also is co-author of a leading textbook in American politics that has appeared in multiple editions since 1984 and in different versions designed for use by diverse student audiences. Much of his research is collaborative, with faculty and students in many departments at Iowa State University and at other institutions of higher education.


He has taught in three different academic departments (Statistics, Political Science, and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) at Iowa State University and in the interdisciplinary gerontology program. His teaching is predicated on constructivist principles, with emphasis on students’ active learning and on enhancing their ability to interpret the findings from research and evaluation analyses. Much of his research addresses the scholarship of teaching and learning, by dealing with issues ranging from K-12 through doctoral studies. 

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