Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement




Due to reorganization at PACE, some webpage content may not be current, but will be updated soon.

About Us

Renewal in civic engagement has reemerged into the nation's consciousness. Public universities have been challenged to rededicate themselves to civic service by stimulating community and government involvement among their students.

The PACE House is located at 305 W. College Avenue in Salisbury, Maryland.  Click here for driving directions.  Salisbury University is committed to undergraduate involvement that enhances the conduct of public affairs.  Under the aegis of the Fulton School of Liberal Arts, PACE was conceived for the University to provide learning opportunities for its students and outreach to assist the communities of Delmarva.

PACE's Mission:

The mission of the Institute is to serve the public communities on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the students and faculty of Salisbury University by enhancing our understanding of the public good, by fostering in a non-partisan way, a more informed and responsible citizenry, and by promoting ethics and good government at the local and state levels. We achieve these goals through policy and polling research, educational programs and events, sponsoring election forums and public policy lectures, and special projects in civic engagement. 

How Will This Partnership Work?
PACE acts as a resource center where local government, non-profit and public groups can easily access knowledge and information.  With the University nearby, PACE draws on the interdisciplinary expertise of the faculty, students and staff.  As a nonpartisan contributor, the Institute organizes projects and programs that are customized to fit the particular needs of the Eastern Shore community.  By providing a forum to discuss current issues and community concerns, PACE actively serves as a venue that benefits the local Eastern Shore communities.  In return, PACE students share in unique government experiences that foster further civic engagement and lifelong learning.




Dr. Adam Hoffman

Adam HoffmanDr. Adam Hoffman, Director of PACE, is assistant professor in the Political Science Department.  His teaching interests include American politics, campaigns and elections, race and politics, public opinion, research methodology, and state and local government. His dissertation, “The Impact of Campaign Contributions on State Legislators,” looks at the role that money plays in affecting legislative outputs at the state level. He is co-author, with James G. Gimpel and Karen M. Kaufmann of the article, “A Promise Fulfilled? Open Primaries and Representation,” which was published in the Journal of Politics (May 2003). At the University of Maryland, he coordinated the Capitol Hill Internship Program. He has worked in the Maryland and New York state legislatures and in Washington, D.C as a policy analyst for both a private sector policy institute and a large nonprofit organization.

He received a B.A. degree in political science and history from SUNY Buffalo (1988), a M.A. degree in political science from the University of New Mexico (1993), a J.D. from Albany Law School (1992) and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park (2005)

Leah M. Reynolds

1Leah M. Reynolds M.S.P.L., Managing Director, has served in leadership positions of non-profit organizations for the past 18 years. She holds a Masters Degree in Professional Leadership, with a focus on non-profits and foundations from Carlow University.  She also has a Legal Studies degree from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Her vast experience in all areas of fundraising and leadership has been shared with students as she has taught classes for the Community College of Allegheny County's Nonprofit Professional Development Academy and continues to mentor people into this exciting field.  

Her mission is to continue to teach political engagement and promote civil discourse through this Institute and help grow PACE in line with the credibility and high profile of Salisbury University.


Elaina Iosue                                                                                                              Elaina Iosue, Staff Assistant, is a senior at Salisbury University and a Presidential Citizen Scholar Alumn.  She is double majoring in Journalism and Political Science and hopes to become involved in the public relations field following graduation.  Her involvement on campus includes being a member of the Salisbury Women’s tennis team, a member of College Republicans and a member of the Student Athletic Mentor Program.  She is also the treasurer of the Communication Honors Society (LPE).  


Sarah Armentrout                                                                                                        1   Sarah Armentrout, Staff Assistant, is a freshman at Salisbury University. She is double majoring in Environmental and Political Science and hopes to go to law school and do advocacy work for endangered animals following graduation. Her involvement on campus includes being a member of the Salisbury Sailing Club and LGBTQ Alliance.




Resident Scholars

Dr. Michael O'Loughlin

Michael O'Loughlin is a professor of Political Science at Salisbury University.  He has served as president of the Faculty Senate as well as Chair of the Political Science Department. He received a B.A. in political science from the University of Pittsburgh (1973) and his Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University (1984). His teaching fields are courses in American politics and government, public policy analysis, and political theory.  Dr. O’Loughlin’s research at PACE focuses on student voting. Beginning in 2001, Dr. O’Loughlin has examined low turnout of student voting, some of the reasons for it and has analyzed state laws as they affect the right of students to vote. In the most recent edition of “Democracy and Student Voting,’ Dr. O’Loughlin along with Class of 2011 PACE Presidential Citizen Scholar Chase Gordon, sharpen their focus theoretically and examine the normative policy question: Where should college students vote and, what is the likely voter eligibility rules that will maximize college student voting?    Building on both the previous studies, they lay out a view of participatory democracy that entails an argument for the maximization of college student voting as citizens of their college or university towns.  E-Mail:

 "Democracy and Student Voting" (4th Ed., February 2012)


Dr. Mark de Socio

Dr. Mark de Socio is an Assistant Professor of Geography and Geosciences at Salisbury University. He studies economic and political forces that shape, and are shaped by, the physical and social landscapes of urban and rural areas. His research focuses on networks of business and social leaders who actively shape urban and rural landscapes through economic activities, policy-making, or both. Current research projects include an exploration of business and social networks shaping the electoral geographies of state-level officeholders in the United States; the rise of universities and hospitals as engines of local and regional economic development; and the geopolitics of the federal J-1 Summer Work Travel Program in Ocean City, Maryland. He has published research in Journal of Urban Affairs, Antipode, Regional Studies, and Growth & Change. He currently serves as President of the Middle Atlantic Division of the Association of American Geographers (MAD-AAG) and on the editorial boards of The Professional Geographer and The Arab World Geographer. He received his Ph.D. (Geography) from the University of Cincinnati, M.S. (Geography) from the University of Alabama, and B.S. (Political Science) from Towson University. He previously taught at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. His teaching duties at Salisbury include Economic Geography, Political Geography, Regional Economic Development, and World Geography: Africa and the Americas.

Dr. de Socio has taught two PACE 1 credit seminars to our Presidential Citizen Scholars. In Spring 2009, Dr. de Socio led a PACE seminar in which the class mapped foreclosures on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore for calendar year 2008. Further, the class explored whether local banks foreclosed on residential properties less than regional and national banks. That project culminated in a research article which is now in the revise-and-resubmit phase at a prominent international journal of geography.  

In Spring 2012, Dr. de Socio is leading students in exploring  the community networks of philanthropy and volunteer fraternal/soronal organizations on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore. Specifically, the class is seeking to explore whether such organizations comprise robust networks of interlocking memberships that collectively produce the kinds of social capital that make rural communities resilient to natural disasters, for example.



PACE History and Co-Founders

PACE was launched in 1999 to reinvigorate the idea of a state university as a place where civic and political involvement could be developed and where students' spirits of generosity and intellectual curiosity could foster engagement. PACE is a non-partisan institute committed to civic learning, engaged citizenship and community involvement that sparks interest in public affairs and civic life for the students and the communities of Maryland's Eastern Shore.

The Institute:

  • provides students with enriching learning experiences through interactive, thought-provoking seminars and classes,
  • sponsors lectures that bring public speakers to campus,
  • serves the region as a non-partisan "public square" for ideas and debate,
  • and offers hands-on student internships.
Dr. Harry Basehart, co-founder of PACE, is professor emeritus of Political Science. Dr. Basehart co-authored the book, "State and Local Government: Politics and Public Policies," which is used extensively across the country in university government courses.

During his 37-year tenure at SU, Dr. Basehart conducted over 15 voter and citizen satisfaction surveys and supervised over 300 students in governmental internships, many in the Maryland General Assembly. Within the community, he served for several years as chair of the City of Salisbury Ethics Commission. 

Dr. Francis Kane, co-founder of PACE, taught in the Philosophy Department at SU for 35 years, primarily in political philosophy, ethics and biomedical ethics. Dan Rather, CBS news anchor, praised Dr. Kane's book, "Neither Beasts Nor Gods: Civic Life and the Public Good" as "necessary to the health of any community."

Dr. Kane developed a nationally recognized policy for teaching about religion in the county school system and, in his spare time, coaches youth soccer.