Dean Susan T. Gooden Honored with Prestigious 2023 Rutledge Social Equity Award for Pioneering Work in Public Administration
By Tiffany Murray-Robertson
Internationally renowned scholar Dr. Susan T. Gooden, Dean and Professor of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), has been honored with the prestigious 2023 Philip J. Rutledge Social Equity Award. This award, bestowed by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), underscores Gooden's commitment of over 20 years to advancing social equity.
The Rutledge Award emphasizes Gooden's enduring dedication to promoting social equity, a commitment planted during her tenure at Virginia Tech. She established the Race and Social Policy Research Center there in 2001, an institution dedicated to the study of public policy, with particular focus on race, ethnicity, and equity.
Gooden brought her expertise to the VCU Wilder School as an Associate Professor in 2004, and has served in various leadership roles. During her tenure as Executive Director of VCU's Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, she championed the Minority Political Leadership Institute, enhancing its influence on issues pertinent to minority communities.
In her role as Dean, Gooden has been instrumental in both propelling the Wilder School's ascent in the fields of social policy, urban policy, and urban analysis nationally and establishing the Research Institute for Social Equity (RISE). Funded by a significant $3 million grant from the Virginia General Assembly, RISE has emerged as a national leader in the arena of social equity policy analysis under her stewardship. Gooden's commitment to diversity and equity extends beyond her work at VCU, as evidenced by her presidencies at both the American Society for Public Administration and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, where she made substantial contributions to their respective diversity and equity initiatives.
In the classroom, Gooden has been a pioneer in the integration of social equity in public affairs, catalyzing a focus on the subject that continues to ripple through the discipline. However, her impact is perhaps most profoundly felt in her scholarship. Her groundbreaking book, "Race and Social Equity: A Nervous Area of Government," recipient of the Herbert Simon Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association, continues to be widely cited. With over five books to her credit and more than fifty articles and book chapters in top-tier public affairs publications, Gooden’s influence on social equity in public administration is unparalleled.
The Philip J. Rutledge Social Equity Award highlights the impactful contributions of those advancing social equity in public administration, a distinction fitting for Gooden's remarkable dedication and leadership in the field.
NAPA is a non-partisan, Congressionally chartered nonprofit, providing thought leadership that elevates public administration. This is done through the dedication of their research staff and the contributions of nearly 1,000 elected Fellows, a distinguished group that includes Dean Gooden.