Paul E. Sum received his PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University in 1996. He came to the University of North Dakota in fall 2000. He teaches courses in Comparative Politics, Democratization, Human Rights, Research Methodology, and Social Entrepreneurship. Sum also is an accomplished international evaluator and consultant. He has worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development, World Bank, Council of Europe, OSCE, National Democratic Institute, International Research & Exchanges Board, and the American Council for Learned Societies.
Sum's research agenda addresses the role of political culture and mobilizing efforts in processes of democratization. His region of expertise is post-communist Europe. His current interests explore determinants of generalized trust in terms of dispositions, experiences, and contexts. Toward this end, he is currently exploring the role that income inequality plays in shaping levels of trust and tolerance. He also continues to be interested in the effectiveness of civil society development assistance, especially the extent to which such assistance furthers the development of social capital though non-governmental organizations.
Sum maintains a special relationship with Romania. He held the position of Lecturer and Fellow at the Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania (1996-1998) under a program funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since 2007, he has held an academic appointment at the same faculty for the Masters in Research Design and Data Analysis Program. In 2009-2010, Sum was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award to Romania where he lectured and conducted research.