B.A. Amherst College; Ph.D. Columbia University
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
Former Chairman, Fulbright Scholarship Board
Alan Schechter taught American constitutional issues, politics, and public policy at Wellesley College for 41 years. He was chairman of the Political Science Department from 1970-1976 and from 1979-1982. Before coming to Wellesley, he received a B.A. from Amherst College, studied at Yale Law School, and earned a Ph.D. at Columbia University. He was appointed Professor Emeritus in 2003, but for two years continued to direct the Wellesley Washington Internship Program and a Wintersession course entitled "Washington Decision-Making."
Professor Schechter was appointed to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board by President Clinton in 1994, reappointed in 1997, and selected for a third three year term in 2000. He was vice chairman of the Board in 1997 and 1998, and chaired the Board for three years. The Fulbright Board works closely with Congress, supervises the operation of the exchange program in 140 countries and awards more than 5,000 scholarships annually to foreigners and Americans to study, teach and conduct research in the US and abroad.
Prior to joining the Fulbright Board, Professor Schechter had extensive experience in international educational activities, beginning in 1960 when he was a Fulbright Scholar at the International Court of Justice and the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. His research led to a book on international administrative law published by the Royal Society of International Affairs of the University of London. He returned to Columbia University after the year in Holland to complete his Ph.D. dissertation on the impact of government service on presidential appointees from the business community in the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy eras.
Professor Schechter has frequently lectured abroad on American politics, elections, and law under the auspices of the United States Information Agency and the Department of State. In the past thirty years, he has appeared on commercial and public television and radioprograms broadcast in Italy, France, Germany, England, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Holland, India, Japan, and Malta.
One of Mr. Schechter's books, Contemporary Constitutional Issues, published by McGraw-Hill, focuses on the law and politics of six major domestic issues: voting rights, dissent and the war in Vietnam, crime in the streets, fair housing, public aid to parochial schools, and northern school segregation. He has also written on housing discrimination in American suburbs. Most recently, he has written research papers on the Fulbright Program in Russia and the Newly Independent States and on Linking the Fulbright Program with international organizations and non-profit groups around the world.
Mr. Schechter has written articles on the Supreme Court and the Constitution which have been published in newspapers around the country. These columns focus on such topics as constitutional principles, presidential power, freedom of expression, equality for women, legislative apportionment, individual liberty. He has published articles and reviews in the American Political Science Review, Public Administration Review, Urban Affairs Quarterly, the Columbia Journal of World Business, Fordham Law Review, and Perspective. He also serves as a consultant to law firms on questions of judicial review and statutory interpretation.In the course of his career, Professor Schechter has received numerous awards. In addition to the Fulbright Scholarship noted above, he has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Mental Health, the Ford Foundation, the US Steel Foundation, the Danforth Foundation, and the Huber Foundation for his research and his commitment to undergraduate teaching.