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Trina R. Shanks

Director, School of Social Work Community Engagement, Harold R. Johnson Collegiate Professor of Social Work and Faculty Associate, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research

Trina R. Shanks

Dr. Shanks’ 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. As Director of the Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being, she continues ongoing research and intentionally seeks and responds to new opportunities that will empower families and communities to thrive.

Since 2018, she has overseen the School’s strategic goal of community engagement and leads the evolving ENGAGE team that promotes, coordinates and facilitates greater impact in community and social justice. Shanks also serves as faculty advisor to the New Leaders in African-Centered Social Work Program. She has also been a research investigator for the Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) demonstration program and consults with several other child savings account initiatives, including one started in Lansing Public Schools.

As a faculty affiliated with the Technical Assistance Center funded by the Skillman Foundation, over a ten-year period Trina Shanks was actively engaged in six Detroit communities as part of the Good Neighborhoods program. She also has conducted multiple evaluations of Detroit’s Summer Youth Employment Program—Grow Detroit’s Young Talent.

From 2010 to 2012 Shanks was appointed by Michigan Governor Granholm to serve two years on the State Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity. She is currently one of the national network co-leads for the Social Work Grand Challenge: Reversing Extreme Economic Inequality and a non-resident fellow at the Urban Institute.

Shanks earned a PhD in Social Work from Washington University and an M.S. in Comparative Social Research from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

Research Interests/Focus

Child well-being, asset building, 529 college education plans, SEED, Rhodes scholar, economic development

Education

Year Degree   School
2003 PhD Social Work Washington University, St. Louis, MO
2000 MSW Social Work Washington University, St. Louis, MO
1996 MPh Comparative Social Research University of Oxford, Oxford, England
1992 BS Business Administration John M. Olin School of Business, St. Louis, MO

Websites

Social Work Grand Challenges
Reducing Extreme Economic Inequality
Center for Equitable Family & Community Well-Being
Year Description
2018 Huang, J., Shanks, T., Grinstein-Weiss, M., & Loke, V. (2018, January). "Child Development Accounts: A Universal and Progressive Asset-Building Policy for Economic Equality" Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Roundtable, Washington, DC.
2018 Blumenthal, A. & Shanks, T. (2018, January). The Long-Term Impact of Child Savings Accounts: Youth Voices. Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Poster, Washington, DC.
2017 Tillotson, A., Lein, L, Shanks, T. & Henley, J. (2017, October). Teaching and Doing Social Work in the Context of Extreme Economic Inequality. Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Dallas, TX.
2017 Muchomba, F., Sieminski, D., Modestino, A., Graff, M. & Shanks, T. (2017, November). Assets and Savings Behavior. Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) Research Conference. Chicago, IL.
2017 Shanks, T. & Blumenthal, A. (2017, November). Housing Volatility Among the Cohort of Head Start Families in Michigan SEED. Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) Research Conference. Chicago, IL.
2017 Romich, J., Elliott, W., Henly, J., Lein, L., Shaefer, H. L., Shanks, T., & Sherraden, M. (2017, January). Competing Strategies to Reverse Extreme Economic Inequality. Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR). New Orleans, LA.
2016 Shanks, T. & Blumenthal, A. (2016, November). Long-Term Impacts of Michigan SEED and Enduring Challenges to Saving for Low-Income Families. Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM). Research Conference. Washington, DC.
2016 Sherraden, M., Sherraden M.S., Huang, J. Birkenmaier, J. Lein, L. Shanks, T. & Romich, J. (2016, November). Social Work’s Grand Challenges: Next Steps in Building Economic Security and Financial Inclusion. Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting. Atlanta GA.
2016 Lein, L. Romich, J., Sherraden, M. Elliott, W., Lambert, S., Shaefer, L., & Shanks, T. (2016, January). Social work grand challenges: Reversing extreme economic inequality. Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Research Conference, Washington, DC.
2016 Shanks, T., & Kursik, M. (2016, February). Review of College Savings Field. College Access + Savings, Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM). Lansing, MI.
2016 Shanks, T., & Blumenthal, A. (2016, April). Long term follow up of Michigan SEED program participants: Tracking child development accounts from pre-school to high school. Learning Community on Poverty and Inequality. Ann Arbor, MI.
2016 Shanks, T., & Blumenthal, A. (2016, January). Long-term benefits of child development accounts and enduring challenges to college attendance for low-income children. Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Research Conference, Washington, DC.
2015 Shanks, T. (2015, August). Applying lessons from SEED to today's youth savings programs. Michigan Financial Empowerment Summit, Detroit, MI.
2015 Shanks, T. (2015, October). Lessons from research: What's the impact of children accounts? 529S and Child Savings Accounst: New Strategies to Promote Savings and Development for America's Children, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.
2015 Davis, L., Díaz, H., Shanks, T., & Torres, M. (2015, October). Latinos and blacks:  A dialogue sharing similarities—acknowledging differences. Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting, Denver, CO.
2015 Shanks, T. (2015, April). The United States of Opportunity: ​Advancing a new social contract for a fair and inclusive economy. Invited participant at Color of Wealth 2015 Policy Summit, , Washington, DC.
2015 K Shanks, T. & Meehan, P. (2015, January). Tracking financial habits in Detroit: youth employment and perceptions of saving. Presentation to the Learning Community on Poverty and Inequality. Ann Arbor, MI.
2015 Shanks, T. (2015, February). Understanding saving and asset building among low- to moderate-income families. Southeast Michigan Alliance for Economic Inclusion 2015 First Quarterly Meeting, sponsored by FDIC Detroit Field Office. Detroit, MI.
2015 Shanks, T. (2015, April). Mobility across generations. Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference. Washington, DC.
2008 Shanks, T. (2008, May). Wealth and assets among the elderly black population. Poster presentation at Annual RCMAR meeting, Research Centers for Minority Aging Research, Ann Arbor, MI.
2008 Shanks, T, (2008, January). Disparities and economic injustice within low-income communities: What are the costs and where do we from here? Presented at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, Grand Rounds-Pediatrics, Ann Arbor, MI.
2008 Shanks, T. (2008). Opening remarks and statement of purpose. Presented at the Economic Development Forum for Skillman Good Neighborhood Communities, Detroit, MI.
2007 Shanks, T. (2007, November). Can asset-building policy improve the well-being of low-income children? Discussant at the 2007 Research Conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), Washington, DC.
2007 Shanks, T. (2007, November). Consideration of place in the asset-building/wealth gap closing agenda. Presented at the Affiliated Scholars of Color Research Conference, St. Louis, MO.
2007 Shanks, T. (2007, June). Having an impact with grassroots programs (in the US): Examples from individual development accounts and the saving for education, entrepreneurship, and down-payment (SEED) policy and practice initiative. Presented at the 2007 OCFT Grantee Workshop, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC.
2007 Okech, D., Shanks, T., & Adams, D. (2007, January). College savings for low-income children: Measuring parental well-being of account openers and non-openers. Presented at the Society for Social Work and Research, San Francisco, CA.
2006 Williams Shanks, T. R. (2006, January). Household wealth and child development across different ages. Presented at the Society for Social Work and Research, San Antonio, TX.
2006 Clancy, M., Page-Adams, D., & Shanks, T. (2006, September). SEED policy and research initiative: A test of children's savings accounts. Presented at the 2006 Assets Learning Conference-A Lifetime of Assets: Building Families, Communities & Economies, Phoenix, AZ.
2005 Williams Shanks, T. (2005, January). Measuring the impact of household wealth on child development outcomes. Presented at the Society for Social Work and Research, Miami, FL.
2005 Williams Shanks, T. R. (2005, July). Children: Safeguarding the next generation. Presented at the Rhodes Scholar Centennial Reunion, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
2005 Williams Shanks, T. R. (2005, November). Income poverty, asset poverty, and their consequences for children. Presented at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Research Policy Roundtable, Poverty, Race, and Policy: Strategic Advancement of a Poverty Reduction Agenda, Washington, DC.
2004 Davis, L., Saunders, J., & Williams, T. (2004, February). Lessons learned: Keys to academic success among African-American youth. Presented at the Council on Social Work Education, Anaheim, CA.
2004 Williams Shanks, T. (2004, November). The influence of household wealth on child outcomes. Presented at the PSID/CDS On-Campus Seminar Series, Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI.
2003 Sherraden, M. S., Williams, T., Moore McBride, A., & Ssewamala, F. (2003, January). Creating hope for the future: Building assets in low income households. Presented at the Society for Social Work Research, Washington, DC.
2003 Sherraden, M. S., Williams, T., Moore McBride, A., & Ssewamala, F. (2003, February). Overcoming poverty: Supported saving as a household development strategy. Presented at the Council on Social Work Education, Atlanta, GA.
2002 Williams, T. (2002, February). The Homestead act and asset inequality. Presented at the Council on Social Work Education, Nashville, TN.
2001 Davis, L., Saunders, J., Williams, T., & Williams, J. H. (2001, January). A longitudinal study of high school graduation among African-American youth. Presented at the Society for Social Work Research, Atlanta, GA.
2001 Davis, L., Saunders, J., & Williams, T. (March, 2001). High school graduation among African American youth. Presented at the Council on Social Work Education, Dallas, TX.
2000 Davis, L., Miller-Cribbs, J., Johnson, S., Williams, J. H., Saunders, J., & Williams, T. (2000, January). Predicting academic success of African American high school students. Presented at the Society for Social Work Research, Charleston, SC.
2000 Hodge, D., & Williams, T. (2000, March). Assessing African American spirituality with spiritual eco-maps. Presented at the Council on Social Work Education, New York, NY.
2000 Williams, T. (2000, September). The Homestead Act: Our earliest national asset policy. Presented at the Inclusion in Asset Building: Research and Policy Symposium, St. Louis, MO.

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