John Geer, a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and who also holds the Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt Chair, leads the Vanderbilt Project on Unity & American Democracy and serves as a senior advisor to Chancellor Daniel Diermeier on key strategic initiatives promoting democracy, open dialogue, and diversity of perspective. Geer, who previously served as the Ginny and Conner Searcy Dean of the College of Arts and Science and Vice Provost for Academic and Strategic Affairs, is a founder of both the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and the influential Vanderbilt Poll, which conducts surveys in Tennessee and Nashville to assess the public’s thinking on topics of interest to citizens, policymakers and elected officials. He earned his PhD from Princeton University, securing his BA from Franklin and Marshall College. Geer has published 5 books and more than 20 articles on presidential politics and elections and served as Editor of The Journal of Politics (2005-2009). His most recent book is Gateways to Democracy (2023), which is now it is 5th edition. He also published In Defense of Negativity: Attacks Ads in Presidential Campaigns (University of Chicago Press), which won the Goldsmith Book prize from Harvard University (2008). He has provided extensive commentary in the news media on politics and public affairs, including FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, and NPR. Geer has also authored numerous op-ed pieces for national publications, including Politico, The Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, and Chicago Tribune. His lecturing has earned him several awards at Vanderbilt, including the “Squirrel Award,” the 2004 Birkby Prize, the 2005 Jeffrey Nordhaus Award, and the 2009 Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for teaching excellence. He currently co-teaches a series of courses that advance our understanding of leadership and democracy in America with Jon Meacham, noted presidential historian.