Skip to content Skip to navigation

History of SIPP

By the late 1980s, political psychology was a thriving field of inquiry in political science, psychology, and other fields. But because the core practitioners were scattered across the world and the emerging range of scholarship was broad and varied, graduate training was difficult to accomplish in a single institution. In light of the vitality of the field and growing graduate student interest, the idea of establishing a summer training institute in political psychology was initially developed at a "futures conference" organized by Professor Margaret Hermann at Ohio State University (OSU) in 1988 and sponsored by the ISPP.

The first Summer Institute in Political Psychology was taught at Ohio State University in 1991. That first year, 60 participants came to Columbus, Ohio, for intensive lectures, discussion groups, workshops, and information interactions. OSU offered SIPP every year from 1991 through 2003 and hosted hundreds of participants from around the world. After a break of one year, Stanford University began hosting SIPP in 2005. In 2006, Stanford organized a Virtual Summer Institute in Political Psychology, in which participants watched recordings of some 2005 lectures and engaged in virtual discussions, followed by an optional weekend of in-person gathering at Stanford. SIPP returned to its traditional format in 2007 at Stanford University.

Financial support for SIPP has come from many sources over the years. The Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) at Stanford and the Stanford Graduate School of Business both provided generous support in its first year at Stanford, and IRiSS has been its administrative home at Stanford since then. The National Science Foundation's Political Science and Psychology Programs have provided grant support to SIPP at OSU and at Stanford. The American Political Science Association's Political Psychology section and the ISPP provided financial support to one student per year in some years. In some years, the ISPP sponsored a lecturer, to expand the geographic reach of the curriculum. All of the participants are tremendously grateful to these sponsors for their generosity in supporting the growth of the field.