Elisabeth R. Gerber is the Jack L. Walker Jr. Collegiate Professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement, Professor of Political Science (by courtesy), and Research Associate at the Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research. Her poverty-related research focuses on urban, regional, and metropolitan policy especially in the areas of: transportation and water policy; climate adaptation; and community, workforce, and economic development. Gerber is co-PI of the Detroit Metropolitan Area Communities Study. She is the author of The Populist Paradox: Interest Group Influence and the Promise of Direct Legislation (1999), co-author of Stealing the Initiative: How State Government Responds to Direct Democracy (2000), and co-editor of Voting at the Political Fault Line: California's Experiment with the Blanket Primary (2001) and Michigan at the Millennium (2003). Her recent publications include “Motivational Crowding in Sustainable Development Interventions” with Arun Agrawal and Ashwini Chhatre (APSR 2015, 109(3): 470-487) and “Spatial Dynamics of Vertical and Horizontal Intergovernmental Collaboration” with Carolyn Loh (JUA 2015, 37(3): 270-288). Gerber was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012 and currently serves as vice-chair of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.
Awilda Rodriguez is an assistant professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at U-M. Her research is at the intersection of higher education policy, college access and choice, and the representation of Black, Latino, low-income and first-generation students in postsecondary education. Her most recent project examines issues of equity in access to rigorous high school coursework and was recently named a William T. Grant Scholar to further this line of inquiry. Along with many policy reports and contributions to edited volumes, Rodriguez’s work has been published in Research in Higher Education, Educational Policy, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and previously worked as a research fellow at American Enterprise Institute’s Center for Higher Education Reform as well as a research associate at The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
Joseph Ryan is an Associate Professor at the U-M School of Social Work and serves as co-director of the U-M Child & Adolescent Data Lab. Ryan received an MSW from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Ryan worked in a variety of residential and community based programs serving adolescents involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. He has extensive experience conducting applied research is social service settings and has been a part of numerous studies focusing on child maltreatment, parental substance abuse, childhood trauma, and juvenile delinquency. Ryan is currently the principal investigator for the Title IV‐E waiver demonstration projects in Michigan and Illinois. He was appointed by Governor Snyder to serve on the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice and also serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals that publish research on child welfare, including Child Maltreatment, Child Welfare, Social Work Research, and Residential Treatment for Children and Youth.
H. Luke Shaefer is an Associate Professor at the U-M School of Social Work and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the inaugural director of Poverty Solutions. His research on poverty and social welfare policy in the U.S. has been published in top peer-reviewed academic journals including the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and Health Services Research, and has been supported by the National Science Foundation. Shaefer has presented his research at the White House and before numerous federal agencies, has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, and has consulted with a number of the nation’s largest social service providers as well as numerous community-based agencies. His work has also been cited in national news outlets and he has been featured on such programs as Marketplace and CNBC’s Nightly Business Report. His recent book with Kathryn Edin, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2015 by the New York Times Book Review and won the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism.
Trina Shanks is an Associate Professor at the U-M School of Social Work. Her research interests include the impact of poverty and wealth on child well-being; asset-building policy and practice across the life cycle; and community and economic development. She is co-editor of The Assets Perspective: The Rise of Asset Building and its Impact on Social Policy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and co-author of A Twenty-First Century Approach to Community Change: Partnering to Improve Life Outcomes for Youth and Families in Under-Served Neighborhoods (Oxford University Press, 2017). Shanks’ recent work includes a long-term follow up of MI-SEED pre-school participants and their families as they enter high school with 529 college savings accounts and evaluation of summer youth employment programming in Detroit, Michigan.
Frank E. Vandervort, JD, is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School where he teaches in the Child Advocacy and Juvenile Justice Clinics. His research interests include child protection, juvenile justice and interdisciplinary practice. Most recently, he has focused on the impact of substance abuse during pregnancy and on the linkages between child maltreatment and subsequent violence by children. He is a co-author of the book “Seeking Justice in Child Sexual Abuse: Shifting Burdens and Sharing Responsibilities,” and has written numerous articles and book chapters relating to child protection and juvenile justice. Professor Vandervort is the Immediate Past President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) and Chairs the organization’s Amicus & Public Policy Committee. He received a Pro Humanitate Award in 2017 from the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare and was given APSAC’s 2016 award for Outstanding Service.