Dr. Jeff Cummins has been appointed interim dean of the College of Social Sciences, effective May 2020. Before assuming this role, Dr. Cummins served as a Political Science professor for the last 15 years and as co-director and director of the Institute for Leadership and Public Policy for the last four years. His teaching and research areas focus on American politics and public policy, including state politics and policy, public budgeting and the presidency. Dr. Cummins received his Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University in 2003.

Prior to his academic career, Dr. Cummins served as a policy adviser to the California State Legislature with the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). He was responsible for analyzing the budgets of several large state agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He also worked for the California State Auditor conducting financial and performance audits.  

As a professor at Fresno State, Dr. Cummins has taught courses in the political science major, Master in Public Administration program, and in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. As an expert in California politics and public budgeting, he is the author of “Boom and Bust: The Politics of the California Budget” and co-author of a widely used textbook on California politics, “California: The Politics of Diversity.” He has been a frequent commentator for the news media on national and state elections and budgeting for many outlets, including Valley Public Radio, The Sacramento Bee, The Associated Press, and the Los Angeles Times.

As the director of Fresno State’s Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, Dr. Cummins conducted public-opinion surveys of the San Joaquin Valley on problems confronting the region and oversaw leadership training for students, an internship program and a fellowship program. 

In this new role as interim dean of the College of Social Sciences, Dr. Cummins will work to guide the college through the challenging budgetary period ahead and support faculty, staff and students in the changing learning environment. 

“I look forward to working with Dr. Cummins this coming year. The Social Sciences are a fundamental part of our curriculum, and now more than ever we need to leverage their relevance and importance,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval said. “I am confident that Dr. Cummins will lead the college with transparency and efficiency during this transition.”