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Steve Anderson

Emeritus Dean, Professor

headshot of Steve Anderson


(217) 333-2260

School of Social Work

1010 W. Nevada St.

Urbana, IL

Office Suite 2002

Areas of focus

Social Innovation

What I Do




BSW and MSW – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

MA and Ph.D. in Political Science – University of Michigan


Dr. Anderson’s research interests primarily center on factors associated with the access low-income families have to social benefits, and he is particularly interested in how innovative policy and program strategies can improve access to benefits. His work has been published extensively in leading social work and social policy journals. He has led many funded research projects evaluating the impact of welfare reforms as well as other social welfare programs, including the implementation of child care, health care, financial training and other support services designed to assist low-income working families. He also has examined the use of subsidized relative caregivers in providing child care, foster care, and home-based services for the frail elderly. His projects typically have involved collaborations with state and community organizations to help develop policies and program strategies designed to improve services to low-income populations. Most recently, he has begun exploring the utility of social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, and other market-oriented social change strategies, both in the U.S. and in the developing world.

Before his return to the University of Illinois, Dr. Anderson served as Director of the Schools of Social Work at both Michigan State University and Arizona State University. He was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to China in 2010, where he taught at the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University and studied social work and nonprofit agency development in China. He more generally has been involved in teaching and research collaborations in China with several universities over the past 10 years, especially through the Council on Social Work Education supported China Collaborative.

Professor Anderson has taught social policy, program planning, leadership and social change, social entrepreneurship, and research methods courses for undergraduate, MSW, and PhD students. Before entering academia, he was Associate Director for Human Services for the Michigan House Fiscal Agency, and in that capacity was responsible for the annual development of the state human service agency budgets for the Michigan House of Representatives. He maintains an active interest in social service politics, and emphasizes the political aspects of policy development and implementation in his courses.

Selected Publications

New Strategies for Social Innovation: Market-Based Approaches for Assisting the Poor, published 2014 by Columbia University Press.

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