Trina R. Shanks

Associate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Faculty Associate, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research


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. She has 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 and at a non-profit organization in Detroit. 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 Dr. Shanks was appointed by Michigan Governor Granholm to serve two years on the state Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity. Dr. Shanks is currently one of the national network co-leads for the Social Work Grand Challenge: Reversing Extreme Economic Inequality.

Ph.D. in Social Work from Washington University; M.S. in Comparative Social Research from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar