McCormack Speaks

September 4, 2018
by saadiaahmad001

Updates on the Center for Social Policy From Director Susan Crandall

“Stars are born out of dark moments.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo

It has been a year of crisis and upheaval across our campus, the nation, and the world. In spite of it all, the Center for Social Policy has made significant progress in our quest to shepherd meaningful change for low-income families. The Center for Social Policy leverages its unique strength as a research center at an urban public university rooted in the community it serves, and taps the talents of our faculty, staff, and students in order to:



  • CSP Director Susan Crandall was appointed to the City of Boston Mayor’s Office Economic Roundtable.
  • CSP Research Director Francoise Carré was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Community Development Research Advisory Council.



  • Center for Social Policy student employees obtained employment with the City of Boston, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and the Community Economic Development  Assistance Corporation (CEDAC).
  • Public Policy Doctoral Student Caitlin Carey was awarded the Beacon Graduate Leadership award.
  • Public Policy Doctoral Student Bianca Ortiz-Wythe was selected to present her research on youth inclusion for the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees.
  • Uchenna Nwangu, a third-year doctoral student at the UMass Boston School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, joined us as our summer Werby Intern.


  • CSP Research Director Francoise Carré’s Where Bad Jobs are Better book was cited in the New York Times, The Nation, CBS News, and Le Monde.
  • CSP Director Susan Crandall’s research on Open Book Management profit-sharing for restaurant employees was featured in the Boston Globe.

I am so proud of the accomplishments of our CSP team! I am especially proud of our hardworking students, who, without the resources of a private university, dedicate themselves to produce high quality, award-winning research. I am deeply indebted to our funders, sponsors, partners, family engagement advisors, and UMass Boston faculty, staff, and students. With the Center for Social Policy receiving less than 15% of its funding from the state, we need your support to continue our efforts to systematically research policies and reveal the stories of those living in poverty, and develop policy solutions for a much brighter world for all families.

With appreciation,
Susan Crandall

January 23, 2018
by McCormack Speaks

Center for Social Policy: Students Inspiring Optimism

by Susan Crandall, Director, Center for Social Policy

Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

image of college students

It is said that history repeats itself, but who knew it would do so all at once? Daily living is like walking into a control room where screens are blaring a century worth of news simultaneously: growing income inequality, the rise of Nazism, the threat of nuclear war, massive civil unrest, presidential abuse of power, and so on—with destructive natural disasters occurring in rapid succession.

My secret to finding hope during these times? Working with, and learning from, our Center for Social Policy students, whom I count on for a fresh perspective, insightful analysis, and new directions leading to a much brighter future. Let me introduce you to a few of them:

Vishakha Agarwal is a second year doctoral student in public policy at the McCormack Graduate School, interested in improving access and quality of education for low-income students. One of our Werby interns, she is analyzing data on cliff effects, generating solutions so that increases in earnings from work do not cause low-income families to lose essential benefits like housing and childcare.

Vishakha’s colleague, fellow Werby Intern Jason Wright, is also a second year doctoral student in public policy. He is interested in the politics of poverty and the application of systems thinking to social policy. Jason is identifying policy levers to resolve cliff effects, which we will provide to our On Solid Ground coalition partners, who advocate for housing stability and economic mobility.

Rolando DelVillar supports economic mobility through his work on the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition, which builds the capacity of job training providers across the state to help unemployed workers access better careers. A senior in the College of Management studying leadership and organizational change, Rolando was selected to participate in the Mayor’s Symposium on Housing for a Changing City (where our colleague, Public Policy Professor Michael Johnson will be facilitating). There Rolando will collaborate with UMass Boston students to generate new approaches to improve housing for low-income communities, which will be shared with elected officials.

Bianca Ortiz-Wythe is a second year doctoral student in public policy, researching the creative economy in Roxbury. She’s excited about the project because it amplifies youth voices from the community, which often go unheard when conversations of equitable development arise. Her research interests include rural poverty, the politics of poverty reduction, and gender and ethnic minority issues. She would like to gain experience as a policymaker and run for public office.

Learn more about the Werby Internship program which helps students contribute their gifts to the Center for Social Policy, and to create a better future for all families.


The Center for Social Policy strives to reshape poverty policy by connecting research, evaluation, and communities with lived experiences in Boston and beyond.

December 21, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Bad Retail Jobs Are Not Inevitable – New Book by Françoise Carré and Chris Tilly Explains Why

book cover: Where Bad Jobs are Betterby Robert Turner, McCormack Graduate School

Retail, the largest U.S. employer, is not inevitably the domain of dead-end jobs with low pay, few benefits, and problematic work schedules. A new study of seven countries demonstrates that better retail jobs are not just possible but already exist.

Françoise Carré of UMass Boston and Chris Tully of UCLA, the study authors, say that changes in government policies and broadly-held values could improve the quality of retail jobs in America, as they have in Europe. New York Times columnist and Economics Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman tagged the study findings as “Supremely important. We have low wages in large part because of political choices, not ineluctable logic of markets.”
Continue Reading →

July 25, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Center for Social Policy Highlights FY 2017

Center for Social Policy team

CSP Research Director Francoise Carre, Administrative Assistant Rolando Del Villar, and Director Susan Crandall

As the new fiscal year gets off to a warm start, the Center for Social Policy (CSP) reviews its accomplishments over the past year to celebrate successes as they gear up for the year ahead.

The center focused on releasing  impactful research, influencing policy, building capacity in the field, supporting student growth, and sharing their scholarship with the media.

CSP Director Susan Crandall notes, “I am grateful for the support of our constituent advisors, the Emerging Leaders Program, our partners, sponsors, and funders. I look forward to our ongoing work together!”

Continue Reading →

April 7, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Center for Social Policy Leads Statewide Workforce Development Capacity Building

service workerEach year over 300 workforce development professionals from across the state come together for the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition (CWC) annual Sharing Skills~Building Connections conference.

The CWC, a new program in McCormack Graduate School’s Center for Social Policy (CSP), is the largest provider of capacity building for workforce development organizations across the state.

The center is coordinating the May 11 conference to provide agency staffers from across the Commonwealth with the opportunity to improve their workforce programs and practices, build connections across the range of provider systems, and share skills and experiences. Continue Reading →

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