(Boston) – Former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert has become the second member of the U.S. House of Representatives to serve on the Boston University faculty. Boehlert is teaching this semester in the university’s Washington, D.C., program. The moderate Republican, who also now is a pubic policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, represented central New York’s 24th District from 1982 until retiring in December.
“When I decided to retire I had no intention of buying a rocking chair,” said Boehlert, 70. “I still wanted to be engaged in a meaningful way, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than by working with young people and trying to develop in them an appreciation for our system of government. This allows me to dip my toe in the waters of public policy without total immersion. I’m delighted to be involved with a great program like Boston University in Washington.”
Boston University’s Washington Journalism Center offers students the chance to spend a semester working in the Washington bureaus of national news organizations, reporting on Congress and the federal government for New England news outlets, and studying political reporting. Boehlert is teaching the undergraduate “American Institutions” course which overviews the workings of Congress, the executive branch, and advocacy groups which affect the shaping of public policy in the United States. In 2003, former Congressman Toby Moffett (D-Conn.) taught the same course at BU.
“Having reported on and written about Congress for many years as a journalist and author I was very familiar with Congressman Boehlert and his record,” said Professor Linda Killian, who directs BU’s Washington Center. “When I heard that he would be retiring last fall I dared to hope that I could convince him to teach our American Institutions course. He did take a bit of convincing, as he told me he wanted to have a chance to relax after so many years in Congress. But ultimately he decided to give it a go and we couldn’t be more delighted.”
In his two decades in Congress, Boehlert became recognized as a leading GOP environmentalist in the House and champion of federal investment in science and technology. Serving on House Science Committee since taking office and as its chairman since 2001, he wrote the Cyber Security Research and Development Act, the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, and the Investing in America’s Future Act which significantly bolstered funding for the National Science Foundation.
“Congressman Boehlert was a moderate voice of reason, willing to reach across the aisle, compromise, and come up with the best solution to whatever public policy problem was being addressed,” said Killian. “I can’t think of a better teacher for our students, someone who, by example, can show that there truly are dedicated public servants who have the best interests of the country at heart. Our students are extremely lucky to have the chance to benefit from his experience and many years in Congress as well as his extensive contacts in Washington.”
Boston University’s Washington Center (www.bu.edu/com/academics/special-programs/bu-dc/) is joint venture of the BU’s Division of International Programs and its College of Communication. The College of Communication has nearly 2,500 students enrolled in the Departments of Journalism; Film and Television; and Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 in its 17 schools and colleges, Boston University is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.