Professor and Lowell G. Battershell University Distinguished Chair of Political Science Caroline Tolbert was awarded the 2022 Goldsmith Book Prize in Academics for her book, Choosing the Future: Technology and Opportunity in Communities. Each year there are two winners of the Goldsmith best book award—one trade book and one academic book.
In the book, Tolbert and co-authors Karen Mossberger from Arizona State University and Scott LaCombe, a University of Iowa alumni working at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, explore disparities in internet access across U.S. communities—states, counties, metro areas, cities, neighborhoods—and the effects of broadband access and use on local economic prosperity and state policy innovation. The book opens by juxtaposing the high connectivity of Sunnyvale, California, to poorer communities such as Flint, Michigan, where many residents are offline and thus disconnected from participating in society.
Presented by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, the Goldsmith Awards Program began in 1991 with the goal of encouraging a more insightful and spirited debate about government, politics, and press.
In 2021, Tolbert was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship recipient for her research on how to make voting in elections more accessible. In 2020, she was named one of two Distinguished University Professors by the UI executive vice president and provost, and in 2019, she was ranked a top 40 female political scientist from PhD granting departments and in the top 400 most-cited faculty in the United States by The Political Science 400.
Tolbert joined the UI faculty in 2006 after eight years at Kent State University and since 2013, she has held a joint appointment in the Public Policy Center and Department of Political Science. Her work focuses on computational social sciences, media and technology policy, local economic development, elections, public opinion, and voter turnout, and modernizing America’s election system.
“I am grateful for my colleagues at Iowa, especially the bright graduate student co-authors who have helped make so many projects a success,” Tolbert says. “I am also thankful for my department, which is always supportive of my research.”