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H. Luke Shaefer Appointed as the Ford School’s Inaugural Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy

March 26, 2020

Today the Regents of the University of Michigan approved H. Luke Shaefer’s appointment as the inaugural Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, for a five-year term, through February 2025.

In 2018, with a generous gift to the Ford School, U-M alumnus Harold L. Kohn and Carol K. Kohn and the Kohn Charitable Trust established the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professorship in Social Justice and Social Policy. The gift supports a faculty member whose scholarly work and research focus on social justice and gives a voice to those who are disadvantaged in society.

 Shaefer has established himself as a major scholar of contemporary American social welfare policy. He is co-author with Kathryn Edin of the acclaimed book, $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Shaefer is the inaugural director of U-M’s Poverty Solutions, an interdisciplinary, cross-campus presidential initiative to inform, identify and test innovative strategies to prevent and alleviate poverty.

“I am deeply honored to be named the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy,” says Shaefer. “Above all else in my work, I seek to use evidence and analysis to drive real, positive change for families who are vulnerable. The Kohn family’s generous gift, in memory of Hermann and Amalie, inspires me to continue on in this to the fullest extent I know how.

Shaefer holds a joint appointment with the School of Social Work and the Ford School. Michigan Social Work Dean Lynn Videka, states, ”Luke Shaefer is an exemplary interdisciplinary scholar and leader in the proudest Michigan tradition. The Hermann and Amelie Kohn Professorship in Social Justice and Social Policy supports the important social justice work that Shaefer’s research informs, and it supports collaboration between Social Work and the Ford School.” 

As our country confronts the economic fallout from the coronavirus, Shaefer has been actively engaged as a public voice in the New York Times, and other outlets, on the consequences facing low-income families, and in developing policies to help families weather the crisis here in Michigan.

Shaefer received his Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College in 2001, and his M.A. in 2005 and Ph.D. in 2008, both in social service administration, from The University of Chicago. 

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