Robert F. Rich, PhD

Title: Professor of Law, Medicine, and Political Science
Company: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Location: Urbana, Illinois, United States

Robert F. Rich, PhD, Professor of Law, Medicine, and Political Science (retired) at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in law, medicine, and political science.

Dr. Rich was inspired to go into academia by Dr. Donald T. Campbell, Professor of Social Psychology at Northwestern University, who helped him get a research fellowship, and Dr. Gerhard Casper, Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Chicago, who was his thesis advisor. Dr. Rich’s career included research, writing, teaching, and consulting in a variety of fields using empirical data including political science, psychology, medicine, and law. He particularly made strong contributions to the fields of health law, mental health policy and law, and was a pioneer in the field of knowledge management and utilization. Dr. Rich earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government with High Honors from Oberlin College in 1971. From 1971 to 1972, Dr. Rich took coursework at the Free University of Berlin as a Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst/Fulbright Fellow. He received a Master of Arts in political science in 1973 and Doctor of Philosophy in 1975 at The University of Chicago. His dissertation received the Marc Perry Galler Award from The University of Chicago for Best Doctoral Dissertation in the Graduate Social Science Division and the Leonard D. White Award from the American Political Science Association for Best Doctoral Dissertation in the Area of Public Administration submitted in 1974 or 1975.

Dr. Rich started his career at the University of Michigan in 1975 as a project director and assistant research scientist at the Center for Research on Utilization of Science Knowledge at the Institute for Social Research and as a lecturer for the Department of Political Science. In 1976, he started working at Princeton University as an assistant professor of politics and public affairs and a coordinator for the Domestic and Urban Policy Field for the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He joined Carnegie Mellon University in 1982 as an associate professor. In 1986, Dr. Rich became the Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois where he worked until he retired in 2012. Highlights of his career at the University of Illinois also include holding the positions of Director of the Jon David and Elizabeth Epstein Health Law and Policy Program at the College of Law, acting head of the Medical Humanities and Social Sciences Program and professor of law, political science, health policy and administration, community health, and environmental studies. Dr. Rich was also a prominent international scholar.  Highlights include a permanent fellow at the European Center for Comparative Government and Public Policy with the Humboldt, Free, and Technical Universities in Berlin Germany as well as visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law. He was also a guest lecturer in Ecuador, China, and Russia.  In the United States, highlights of his career include guest appointments at the Brookings Institute and Johns Hopkins. During his appointment at Johns Hopkins, he was the commencement speaker for Johns Hopkins University, School of Arts and Sciences. The title of his address in 1994 was: “The Gift of Foresight in an Age of Technological Imperatives.”

Dr. Rich received many awards acknowledging his contributions to research, his strong commitment to mentorship, and his excellence in teaching and scholarship. Amongst those he is most proud of are the Robert F. Rich Research Award from the World Federation for Mental Health Scientific Committee on Mental Health Needs of Victims which he was the inaugural recipient of in 1993, the 2004 University of Illinois Campus Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Engagement, the Emil Limbach Teaching Award, Carnegie-Mellon University, School of Urban and Public Affairs, for “Excellence in the Classroom,” and the Aaron Wildavsky Award for the best publication in policy studies for “Utilization of Policy Research” a chapter in the Encyclopedia of Policy Studies (Second Edition) that he co-authored with Cheol H. Oh.

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