Donald Downs is an emeritus professor of political science, law and journalism at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is also the director and co-founder of the University’s Wisconsin Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy.
Downs’ scholarship has dealt with a wide range of issues dealing with such issues as freedom of speech; academic freedom; American politics; political thought; political and legal movements; citizenship; campus politics; domestic violence, psychiatry, and the criminal law; and the relationship among the military, the university, and civic education.
In addition to winning honors for his research, Downs has also won numerous teaching awards, including the University Teaching Award. In 2013, Downs received the national Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award for his defense of academic freedom and freedom of thought at UW–Madison and in higher education generally.