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Jim Kunz

I am a professor of Social Work and director of our Social Work Program. I have a BA in Economics, a master's in Social Work, a master's in Economics, and a Ph.D. in Social Work and Economics. Before coming to McDaniel, I taught at Columbia University and the University of Maryland, and was a visiting scholar at the Joint Center for Poverty Research (University of Chicago/Northwestern University).

My research interests have centered on the determinants of employment and earnings. I have co-authored several articles that examine the impact of childhood background and psychosocial factors on adult earnings, as well as the impact of public programs, such as welfare and child support, on economic well-being. More recently, my research has been in the area of financial social work – examining the relationship between psychosocial well-being and financial capability – and homelessness, especially among unaccompanied minors.


Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., University of Michigan
Master of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore
B.A., University of Virginia

Research Interests

  • Financial social work

  • Unaccompanied youth homelessness

  • Economic consequences of childhood poverty

  • Cost-benefit analyses of social programs

Recent Courses

  • SWK2217; Social Work & Marginalized Populations

  • IDS 2018: "HBO's 'The Wire': Through a Cinematic and Social Lens

  • SWK3365: Global Perspectives on Poverty

  • SWK2141: Faces of Homelessness

Selected Publications

  • Birkenmaier, J., Kennedy, T., Kunz, J., Sander, R., and Horwitz, S. (2011). The Role of Social Work in Financial Capability: Shaping Curricular Approaches. In Birkenmaier, J. & Sherraden, M. (Eds.) Financial Education and Capability: Research, Education, Policy, and Practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Frick, K., & Kunz, J. (2008). Understanding Cost-Effectiveness Research Applied to Social Work. Social Work in Public Health, 23(6): 7-21.

  • DePanfilis, D., Dubowitz, H., & Kunz, J. (2008). Assessing the Cost-Effectiveness of Family Connections. Child Abuse & Neglect, 32(3): 335-351.

  • Corcoran, M., & Kunz, J. (2007). Do Black and White Children Start Out on Equal Footing in the Race for Economic Success?. In Kim, M. (Ed.) Race and Economic Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century. London: Routledge Press.

  • Kunz, J., Page, M., & Solon, G. (2003). Are Single-Year Measures of Neighborhood Characteristics Useful Proxies for Children’s Long-Run Neighborhood Environment? Journal of Economic Letters, 79: 231-237.

Clubs and community involvement

  • Member, Influencing Social Policy

  • Co-Chair, NASW-MD Student-Faculty Committee

  • Member, Youth REACH MD (Youth Homelessness) Advisory Committee

  • Steering Committee Member, Financial Social Work Initiative

Awards and Honors

  • Charles A. Boehlke, Jr., Engaged Faculty Fellow, 2019

  • Alan G. Penczek Service-Learning Faculty Award, Maryland-DC Campus Compact, 2014

  • Social Work Educator of the Year, National Association of Social Workers, Maryland, 2011

Jim Kunz