Susan Orr, Ph.D

(585) 395-2584
Office: Hartwell Hall 209 C


  • PhD. Political Science, (2010) University of Florida
  • M.A. Political Science, (2004) University of Florida
  • B.A. Economics, suma cum laude (2002), Rollins College

Courses Taught

  • Perspectives on Citizenship                       Politics of Work and Labor
  • Political Science Research Methods          American Politics
  • Perspectives on American Democracy      American Political Issues

Research Interests

My research centres on civic engagement. I am interested to understand what motivates civic engagement on an individual level, and the kinds of institutions that serve to facilitate or thwart democratic engagement at the aggregate level. I approach this topic from both empirical and normative perspectives. One focus of my work is the mechanics of elections – by that I mean the small scale institutions such as the secret ballot that regulate how citizens vote.

A second research focus is the intersection of the workplace and political engagement. One of my projects evaluates the process of forming labor unions through secret ballot elections as per current labor law against alternatives that are potentially more democratic. I have also studied how labor unions influence the political behavior of their members. For example, one of my projects explores the effect of labor union membership on the likelihood that citizens with various demographic characteristics will turnout to vote. More recent projects have examined the impact of worker cooperatives on the political behavior of workers as well as policies that foster the development of worker-owned businesses.


My service broadly tracks my research interests. I serve as President of the campus chapter of United University Professions. Previously I have served as chair and member of the American Democracy Project Committee a group that aims to promote civic engagement on campus. I have served as Chair and as a member of the American Political Science Association’s Status Committee on Contingent Labor and also as co-chair of the American Political Science Association’s Labor Project. I also have the pleasure of being the campus liaison for the Washington DC Internship Program, New York State Assembly Internship Program and the Public Service Internship Program.