Of every 10 stories on a Florida political issue, how many include a quote from Susan MacManus? More than this blogger has the time to sort through. But if you are reading this column, you know her name. You know that she is Florida’s most quoted political scientist, and one of the University of South Florida’s most distinguished professors to boot.
MacManus’ career does what few others in academia can maintain: an active academic life and one that has real world, foot-on-the ground relevance.
MacManus serves as a political analyst for WFLA-TV (Tampa NBC affiliate) and was nominated for a Suncoast Emmy award in 2008. She was chair of the Florida Elections Commission from 1999 to 2003, and was appointed in 2008 by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to the Election Management Guidelines Development Working Group on Elderly and Disabled Voters in Long-Term Care Facilities and the Working Group on Media and Public Relations.
In addition, MacManus has authored or co-authored several definitive Florida-based political science texts, written in a style that engages both the expert and layperson alike. And with her mother Elizabeth, MacManus also authored two books on Florida history.
Reporters call MacManus knowing that she has her finger on the pulse of Florida politics but also that she has a uniquely clean perspective, too. Her commentary and analysis stays fresh and doesn’t just state the obvious, as so often talking heads are asked to do. Props go to MacManus for not only being one of Florida’s brightest political minds, but also to her for teaching the next generation of such thinkers, too.
While by no means a scientific survey, a quick glance at MacManus’s “rate my professors” scores show that she is a professor of enormous quality and clarity — not always easy — but expecting enough of her students to bring value to those who care.