Dr. Carrie Booth Walling Appointed Faculty Director of Ford Institute

A professor in Albion’s Political Science Department for 10 years, Walling brings her expertise in international politics and human rights to the College’s home for students interested in public policy and service.

October 13, 2021

By John Perney

Dr. Carrie Booth Walling, professor of political science, Albion College

Dr. Carrie Booth Walling joined the Albion College Political Science faculty in 2011.

Once again, Dr. Carrie Booth Walling’s career is crossing paths with the legacy of the country’s 38th president, Gerald R. Ford.

In 2008, soon after earning her Ph.D. in political science with a human rights minor from the University of Minnesota, Walling started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. Three years later, she completed her postdoc and joined the Department of Political Science at Albion College as a tenure-track assistant professor.

Over the last decade, while connecting with her students in Albion classrooms and out in the field, Walling has gained international recognition for her expertise in human rights and insights into the United Nations. And starting on December 1, her impact and contributions on and off campus will come together in a new way—as faculty director of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.

The Ford Institute was created in October 1977 by Albion and former President Ford, who as a Michigan congressman and House Minority Leader served for five years on the College’s Board of Trustees during the 1960s. Through its co-curricular program combining traditional coursework and an internship matched to a student’s interests, the Institute has prepared generations of Albion students for graduate or professional school, and careers in all areas of policy, politics, and public service.

Earlier this year, Ford and the College’s other Institutes and Centers formally became part of the newly launched School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement, where students regularly engage with the community in working toward an individually tailored experiential certificate that will enhance and give added focus to their bachelor’s degrees.

“I’m excited to join the leadership team of the Ford Institute as we continue to honor President Gerald R. Ford’s legacy by preparing the next generation of leaders for public service,” Walling said. “In partnership with the School for Public Purpose, we will continue to offer and expand innovative and transformative experiential learning, community engagement, and professional development opportunities for our students.”

Walling’s work and interest in human rights extends to international security and the prevention and punishment of mass-atrocity crimes. She is a security fellow with the Truman National Security Project and a certified instructor with the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program (in which Albion is a participant). Along with multiple peer-reviewed journal articles, Walling is the author of All Necessary Measures: The United Nations and Humanitarian Intervention; her new book, Human Rights and Justice for All: Examining Rights Claims in America and Around the World, will be published by Routledge Press early next year.

“Dr. Walling’s expertise in international human rights will be an incredible asset to the Ford Institute,” said Dr. Ron Mourad, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “She has shared many exciting ideas that would draw from her training and research to support Ford’s experiential certificate pathways.

“At her faculty lecture last year, she shared the stage with two students who had collaborated with her on a human rights advocacy toolkit,” Mourad continued. “This and many other experiences working with students on research and advocacy projects will serve her well in this new role. Dr. Walling is the ideal candidate to lead the Ford Institute through an exciting new phase in its history.”

In recent years, Walling has also served the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program as associate director and director. She is currently phasing out of her Honors leadership post as she prepares for her role within Ford; she will follow Patrick McLean, who has left the College after serving as Ford Institute director since 2013.

“As faculty director of the Ford Institute, I am confident Dr. Walling will continue in her commitment to inclusive excellence and human rights pedagogy,” said Dr. Ashley Woodson, dean of the School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement. “Her leadership and dedication to her craft will help us move toward an enhanced Institute experience for all of our students.”

Walling, who during her time at Albion has also served as Political Science Department chair, will remain a tenured faculty member. And while students can still count on seeing her in the classroom, she is eager to be a part of the continuing evolution of a signature liberal arts college program that can look back on—and learn from—decades of success.

“At the Ford Institute, I have the opportunity to pursue my own passions and fulfill my own purpose while simultaneously guiding students toward the discovery of theirs,” Walling said. “And I’m thrilled to partner with [Associate Director] Eddie Visco as we help students to become empowered citizens, exercise their own voices, and discover the joys of leadership and service.”