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Gayle Alberda, PhD

Assistant Professor of Politics & MPA Director, Fairfield University

Gayle Alberda joined Fairfield University in 2016 as an assistant professor of Politics and Public Administration. Dr. Alberda teaches undergraduate American politics courses and public administration graduate courses. She is a first-generation college graduate; she obtained her Ph.D. from Wayne State University and her M.P.A. and B.S. degree are both from Central Michigan University.

Dr. Alberda’s research focuses on the intersections of election laws, political participation and civic engagement, and election administration. She has multiple publications including invited chapters for books on elections, and journal articles on both aspects of elections and the pedagogical value of experiential learning on student learning. Dr. Alberda is currently writing her forthcoming book, Early Voting’s Impact on U.S. Local Elections. Her dissertation received the Horowitz Foundation Dissertation Grant Award 2013 and the Robert K. Merton Award 2013.

She received Drake University’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Research Award 2015. In 2017, Dr. Alberda successfully pioneered the effort to bring a nonpartisan women’s political leadership program, Ready to Run Connecticut, to Fairfield University. Ready to Run Connecticut is a one-day workshop designed to empower women to become active participants in Connecticut’s political process. Most recently, she gave the keynote address for the Women in Politics section of the Council of State Government –West’s annual meeting, and spoke on civic engagement and women’s political mobilization at the National League of Cities Annual Conference of Hispanic Local Elected Officials and Women in Municipal Government.

She co-founded the MPA Summit – an annual public forum held every spring at Fairfield University that brings citizens and state and local leaders together to discuss critical issues facing Connecticut, and played an instrumental role in bringing two of the 2018 Gubernatorial Debates to Fairfield University.

Before her career in academia, Dr. Alberda worked the political arena. Her work experience in the political field includes lobbying, party, and campaign experience. Dr. Alberda often serves as a political analyst for the media. She comments on local, state, and national politics and elections for local, regional, national, and international print and broadcast media. She has appeared in the Washington Post, NY Times, Efe, Al Jazeera America, Hartford Courant, CT Post, WNPR, WICC, Associated Press Radio, NBC CT’s Face the Facts, WTHN’s Capitol Report, and many others.

Prior to joining Fairfield University, Dr. Alberda was at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. While there, she taught courses on the American political process, women and politics, political parties, state and local government, methods and statistics, and public policy. Dr. Alberda was a co-instructor for a program where international students studied the Iowa Caucus.

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State Expertise: National, Conn., Iowa
Speaks: English

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