Dan A. Lewis

Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research
Professor of Human Development & Social Policy, School of Education & Social Policy
Director, Center for Civic Engagement
Faculty Director, Engage Chicago


Dan A. Lewis’ research agenda provides an approach to studying social policy that meets the challenge of a profound transformation in social policy over the last 40 years. Gone are the days of new federal programs to solve national problems. The New Deal and the Great Society are seen by many as the source of our problems rather than solutions. Lewis’ work responds to these changes in the political climate. His latest book, Gaining Ground in Illinois: Welfare Reform and Person-Centered Policy Analysis, draws on Lewis' four-year study of the impact of federal welfare reform on Illinois citizens. The book summarizes the study's key findings, addresses individual experiences of life under welfare, and offers direction for improving the system as a whole.

Lewis has written or edited six other books in these areas, including The State Mental Patient and Urban Life (1994), and Race and Educational Reform in the American Metropolis (1995). At the Institute for Policy Research he has directed major program projects on community reactions to crime, deinstitutionalization of state mental health patients and Chicago school decentralization. More recently, he conducted evaluations of the homelessness problem in the Chicago suburbs. Lewis also recently headed a large-scale university consortium that studied welfare reform efforts in Illinois for the state legislature and interested citizens.

Lewis serves on many nonprofit boards and civic committees. At Northwestern, he served as director of undergraduate education at the School of Education and Social Policy from 1997 to 2007. Currently, Lewis directs the Center for Civic Engagement and the San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Field Study Programs.


2008 - ASG Faculty Honor Roll
2007 - Outstanding Professor Award June 07


Annenberg Hall
Room 206
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-0001
Phone: (847) 491-3715
Fax: (847) 491-3395


1980 - PhD, History of Consciousness - University of California at Santa Cruz
1968 - BA, Political Science - Stanford University

Selected Publications
Lewis, Dan A. (2010). Gaining Ground in Illinois: Welfare Reform and Person-Centered Policy Analysis. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press.
Lewis, Dan A. (2007). Moving Up and Moving Out? Economic and Residential Mobility in Low Income Chicago Families. Urban Affairs Review.
Lewis, D.A., Lee, B.J., Altenbernd, L. (2006). Depression and Welfare Reform: From Barriers to Inclusion. Journal of Community Psychology.
Lewis, D. A. (2005). New Deal to no deal: The movement toward less government is shifting social responsibility to the states. Illinois Issues.
Lewis, D. A., with K. S. Slack and B. J. Lee. (2004). Are welfare sanctions working as intended?. Social Science Review. 78(3): 370-403.
Lewis, D. A., with B. Nelson. (2004). Suburban homelessness. In Encyclopedia of Homeless, Sage Publications/Berkshire, ed. D. Levinson. Great Barrington, Mass.: Reference Works.
Lewis, D. A., with I. Carvalho (2003). Beyond community: Reactions to crime among inner-city residents. Criminology 41(3): 779-812.
Lewis, Dan A., & Nakagawa, K. (1995). Race and Educational Reform in the American Metropolis: A Study of School Decentralization. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Lewis, Dan A., Lurigio, Arthur J., et. al. (1994). The State Mental Patient and Urban Life: Moving In and Out of the Institution. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Lewis, Dan A. (1991). The Worlds of the Mentally Ill. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Selected Presentations
Pareja, A. S., & Lewis, D. A. (2006). The effect of parental employment on children's academic achievement in the context of welfare reform. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. Montreal, Canada.

Civic Education Project
Illinois Families Study
Center for Civic Engagement
Engage Chicago

Other Research/Scholarship
Book reviews: Civil Commitment: A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Model, by Bruce J. Winick, The Law and Politics Book Review, Vol. 16, No. 1, January 2006.

Research Interests
Lewis currently heads a large-scale university consortium to study welfare reform efforts in Illinois. In another current project he is developing a new Suburban Action Research Project that will deliver technical assistance to suburbs struggling with social problems. It will concentrate on issues of homelessness and crime prevention in its initial phase.


Soc Pol 351 - Civic Engagement
This is a class designed for seniors who have been engaged in civic activities in their time at Northwestern and want to reflect on and analyze that experience.

HDSP 440 - The Politics of Public Policy
Framework for understanding the structure and process of development. How existing social policies can be analyzed and new policies developed.

Soc Pol 304 - Social Policy & Human Services
Development of social policy for human services in the United States.  Human service policies for education, mental health, physical health, income, and aging.

HDSP 433 - Modern Theories of the State and Social Policy
Recent theories of social policy in the context of the welfare state. Analysis of alternative theories and their implications for contemporary problems in social policy.

Committees (PhD)
2007 - Monte - Member
2007 to 2009 - Altenbern - Member


Editorial Boards
2008 - Urban Affairs Quarterly - Reviewer
2008 - Journal of Crime and Delinquency - Reviewer
2006 - Urban Affairs Quarterly - Manuscript Reviewer
2006 - Social Science Quarterly - Manuscript Reviewer
2006 - Criminology - Manuscript Reviewer