Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick Chancellor names Elizabeth C. Matto, Ph.D. Director of Eagleton Institute of Politics  

Media Contact 

Jessica Ronan-Frisch 

New Brunswick, New Jersey (September 13, 2023) – Elizabeth C. Matto, Ph.D., who has served as director of the Eagleton Institute’s Center for Youth Political Participation since 2017, has been appointed director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics effective September 1, 2023. The appointment comes as a result of an internal search convened by Rutgers University–New Brunswick Chancellor Francine Conway following former New Jersey Attorney General John J. Farmer, Jr.’s decision to step down from the role earlier this year.  

A political scientist with a doctorate in American politics from the George Washington University, Matto brings expertise as a scholar and educator of democratic education. Serving on the Institute faculty for 15 years, Matto has served as the founding director of Eagleton’s Center for Youth Political Participation (CYPP), a leading research and educational Center celebrating and supporting political learning and engagement among young people through research, public service and education. Matto was the lead editor on the American Political Science Association’s publications Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines (2017) and Teaching Civic Engagement Globally (2021) and author of Citizen Now: Engaging in Politics and Democracy (Manchester University Press, 2017) and the forthcoming Rutgers University Press book To Keep the Republic: Thinking, Talking, and Acting Like a Democratic Citizen. 

In 2022, Matto was invited to serve on a Presidential Task Force for the American Political Science Association focused on rethinking the political science major. For Rutgers University, Matto serves as the co-chair of the Presidential Employee Excellence Committee created by Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway. She also serves as President Holloway’s delegate on civic learning initiatives organized by the Institute for Citizens and Scholars including the Faculty Institute on Dialogue Across Difference and Civil Discourse in the Classroom. 

“For nearly seventy years, the Institute has served as Rutgers University’s resource for the teaching and practice of politics, leading the way in producing and sharing research and public service work that improves American democracy. My vision is to carry the Institute’s mission forward by centering civic learning and engagement in ways that are creative, collaborative, and expansive while being accessible and relevant to the needs of students, higher education, and our democracy. It is a privilege to lead the Eagleton Institute in the next chapter of its history.” said Elizabeth C. Matto. 

Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway said: “At a moment of such import for the future of our democracy, I can’t think of a person more ideally suited to taking on the leadership of Eagleton than Elizabeth, who has already done so much as both scholar and practitioner in helping young people recognize the urgency of their own engagement in civic and political life.”  

Rutgers–New Brunswick Chancellor Francine Conway said: “Dr. Matto is an exceptional political scientist who helps students clearly understand how democracy works and how their civic engagement can help shape the policies that will affect present and future generations. The Eagleton Institute of Politics has a proud tradition of strong and committed leaders who connect students with real-world learning experiences and cultivate an ethos for public service. With her leadership of Eagleton’s Center for Youth Political Participation and deep commitment to Eagleton’s goals, Elizabeth is the right leader to guide Eagleton into the future during a consequential time for democratic education.” 

With the leadership transition, the Institute looks ahead to a successful academic year centering civic learning and engagement, the 2024 presidential election, and commemorating its 70th anniversary in 2026.  


The Eagleton Institute of Politics 

The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University—New Brunswick studies how American politics 

and government work and change, analyzes how the democracy might improve, and promotes political 

participation and civic engagement. The Institute explores state and national politics through research, 

education, and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. 

Rutgers—New Brunswick 

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more 

than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship is a leading public 

research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It has an 

internationally acclaimed faculty, 12 degree—granting schools and the Big Ten Conference’s most 

diverse student body.