Dworkin appointed to lead Rowan’s new Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship

Dworkin appointed to lead Rowan’s new Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship


Rowan University has established a new Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship and has appointed Ben Dworkin, one of New Jersey’s most astute—and widely quoted—political analysts, as its founding director.

With a focus on informing and engaging Rowan students, faculty and the public, Dworkin will position the institute at the nexus of engaged learning and the issues of the day, further building on Rowan’s reputation as a leading institution of higher learning in New Jersey.

“Ben is connected with the inner workings of government throughout our state,” says Rowan Provost James Newell. “His leadership of our new Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship will give our faculty and students opportunities to work with New Jersey’s political leaders on initiatives that benefit our University and state. We’re pleased that he has joined us.”

Under Dworkin’s leadership, the institute will offer programs and guest speakers focusing on both the practice of politics and citizen participation; support students through academic and career development, internship placement and scholarships; and connect faculty and students from across the University with public entities to facilitate public policy research.

Additionally, Dworkin will teach courses in political campaigning and New Jersey politics. He will continue to serve as a non-partisan commentator on political developments for media in New Jersey and nationally.

“No matter what you do in life, at some point politics will intrude,” says Dworkin. “We want to ensure that the voices of thousands of 'Rowan citizens’ are part of the political and policy conversations that go on. I’m honored to be joining such a dynamic university and excited for the opportunity to spearhead the creation of the institute.”

The institute’s focus on citizenship is critical says, Dworkin.

“In a representative democracy, it is essential that people take responsibility, not just for themselves, but for their government. At the institute, we won’t just teach citizenship. We’ll teach what one can do with citizenship.

“We will be a training ground for individuals, the private sector and the non-profit sector to learn how to navigate, access and lead the political process,” says Dworkin.

About Ben Dworkin

Named one of the 100 most powerful unelected people in New Jersey politics in 2016, Dworkin, 50, joined Rowan in January. From 2008-17, he led Rider University’s Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics.

Dworkin earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in political science from Rutgers University and his bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University.

Before pursuing a career in academia, Dworkin spent several years in both politics and the private sector. He served as president and CEO of Dworkin Strategic Communications. Prior to that, he was vice president at Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, a leading New York-based corporate public relations firm. His clients have included several leading Fortune 500 companies, such as WebMD, Time-Warner, Texaco, Maidenform, and Hollywood Video. His primary areas were media relations, strategic communications and crisis management.

Dworkin formerly served as deputy research director for the New Jersey Assembly Minority Office in Trenton. He helped oversee a staff of several other policy analysts and developed expertise in insurance, health care, public safety and veterans’ issues. In that role, he wrote and edited legislation, policy analyses, floor speeches, and talking points for use in debates and media interviews, as well as leading overall strategy.

Dworkin also has worked as legislative aide to the late state Senator Matthew Feldman, past president of the Senate and longtime chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. His primary responsibilities were speech writing, constituent relations, and legislative monitoring.

Through much of his early career, Dworkin worked on political campaigns, focusing on message development, press relations, advertising development, debate preparation and field operations.

An award-wining journalist for his work with the New Jersey Jewish Standard, the state’s oldest Anglo-Jewish newspaper, Dworkin also has had his work published in newspapers throughout the state. He is recognized as a leading political observer and freelance film critic. Miramax featured Dworkin on the DVD of the Oscar-winning film, Life is Beautiful.