Herbst has helped the university raise $480 million in its recently completed Passion for the Climb campaign goal, and he has extended that goal in a transformational effort to build the university’s financial aid resources by raising $51 million for needy students in the last two years of the capital campaign. He has highlighted the excellence of the faculty and — unlike many peer institutions — increased the number of tenure-track positions in departments across campus. Herbst has also promoted the further internationalization of the campus and helped lead Colgate’s effort to provide financial aid to needy students studying overseas. Herbst is currently leading a strategic planning effort that is examining issues critical to Colgate’s future.
A consultant for the World Bank, the United Nations, and the U.S. State Department, Herbst was recently featured in the New York Times
Room for Debate series, and his most recent article, "The Fault Lines of Failed States," was published by ForeignPolicy.com in August 2011. In 2012, he published Africa’s Third Liberation: The New Search for Prosperity and Jobs
(Penguin) with Dr. Greg Mills.
Before coming to Colgate, Herbst had served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and professor of political science at Miami University since 2005. He previously held posts at Princeton University, including service as acting associate dean of the Woodrow Wilson School and chair of the university’s Department of Politics.
Herbst maintains an active research agenda, which focuses on the politics of sub-Saharan Africa, including peacekeeping, how the United States can promote democratic liberalization in Africa and what the international community can do to further economic growth in poor regions of the world. His scholarship has taken him throughout Africa, with significant time spent in Zimbabwe, Ghana, and South Africa.
Herbst’s book, States and Power in Africa
, received the Gregory M. Luebbert Prize for the best book in comparative politics from the Comparative Politics section of the American Political Science Association in August 2001. It was also a finalist for the Melville J. Herskovits Award for the best book in African studies awarded by the African Studies Association.
He has served as a consultant to a variety of international organizations and federal agencies, including the World Bank, the United Nations, and the U.S. State Department. He has received two Fulbright scholarships (for work in Zimbabwe and South Africa) and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
Born in Jamaica, Queens, NY, Herbst graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1983 and went on to earn MA, MPhil and PhD degrees in political science from Yale University. He and his wife Sharon Polansky, a marketing executive, have three children.