Marion Orr is the director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and the Fred Lippitt Professor of public policy, political science and urban studies at Brown University. He is affiliated with the Brown's urban studies program. Orr was previously a member of the political science faculty at Duke University.
Orr is the author and editor of four books, Black Social Capital: The Politics of School Reform in Baltimore (University Press of Kansas), which won the Policy Studies Organization's Aaron Wildavsky Award for the best book published in 1999, and The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics and the Challenge of Urban Education (Princeton University Press), which was named the best book in 1999 by the American Political Science Association's (APSA) urban politics section. He is the editor of Transforming the City: Community Organizing and the Challenge of Political Change and Power in the City: Clarence Stone and the Politics of Inequality. He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles, essays, and reviews.
Orr is currently gathering data for a study of the community organizing efforts of local affiliates of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a national network of local, community-based organizations founded by the late Saul Alinsky. He also conducts research on various aspects of politics and urban policy pertaining to Providence, Rhode Island.
Orr has held a number of fellowships, including an appointment as research fellow at the Brookings Institution, a presidential fellowship from the University of California, Berkeley, and a fellowship from the Ford Foundation.
Orr has served as President of the APSA's organized section on urban politics. From 2000-2006 he was an elected member of the governing board of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA), an international organization devoted to the study of urban issues. In 2005-2006 he served as Chair of UAA's governing board. He is currently on the board of the Providence Plan, and has also served as a member of the executive councils of the American Political Science Assocation and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. He has served, or is currently serving, on the editorial boards of the Journal of Urban Affairs, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Urban Affairs Review.
A native of Savannah, Georgia, Orr earned his BA in political science from Savannah State College, his MA in political science from Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University), and a PhD in government and politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.