Event Series at the University of Kansas on Poverty, Assets, and the American Dream

Blog Post
Sept. 6, 2013

The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI), and the KU Social Work Administration and Advocacy Practice are convening a series of events over the next few months about the interplay of assets with upward economic and social mobility. Learn more about the series and RSVP for the first event here.

The first event kicks off next week on September 11 at the University of Kansas. Keynote speaker Dr. Mark Rank, a widely-recognized expert on poverty and inequality, will be discussing his research, including a finding that nearly 60 percent of Americans experience poverty at some point between the ages of 20 and 75. His talk, and the panel discussion to follow, will examine why poverty is portrayed as an individual failing despite its prevalence and structural origins, and how institutions can support (or stop hindering) upward economic mobility. 

Check out the details for Wednesday's event below and make a note of the dates of forthcoming events. In particular, note that our Senior Research Fellow, William Elliott, will be speaking at the November event about his work on improving children's educational outcomes through access to savings. The early 2014 events will feature Tom Shapiro, whose work with the Institute on Assets and Social Policy has greatly informed the national conversation on the causes of racial wealth disparities, and Michael Sherraden, whose work laid the earliest foundations of the asset building field.

The series will be available on livestream for those not able to travel to the Lawrence, Kansas area.

WHAT: Shifting Our Understanding of American Poverty

WHEN: Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 12-2 p.m. CDT

WHERE: University of Kansas Union, Alderson Room, 1301 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 


  • Introduction
    • Krissy Clark, Senior Reporter, Wealth and Poverty Desk, Marketplace 
  • Keynote Speaker
    • Mark Rank, Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Welfare, Washington University in St. Louis 
  • Panel Discussion
    • William R. Emmons, Senior Economic Adviser, the Center for Household Financial Stability 
    • David N. Smith, Professor of Sociology, University of Kansas 
    • Derrick Darby, Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Kansas 
    • Deb Adams, Associate Professor, School of Social Welfare, University of Kansas 

Event II: Nov. 7, 2013
Rethinking the American Dream: Education, Student Debt, and Asset Building 
Keynote: Dr. William Elliott III

Event III: Feb. 5, 2014
Race, Wealth and the New Demographics of Poverty
Keynote: Dr. Thomas Shapiro

Event IV: March 28, 2014
Inclusion in Asset Building as a Development Strategy
Keynote: Dr. Michael Sherraden