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Melinda Lewis

Associate Professor of the Practice
Primary office:
Twente Hall
Room 312



Teaching Interests

  • Policy Analysis
  • Advocacy
  • Poverty and Economic Justice
  • Community Organizing
  • Social Change
  • Higher Education and Economic Mobility


As Assistant Director of the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion (AEDI), Lewis studies asset-based strategies for improving educational outcomes and restoring higher education as an arbiter of equity and social mobility. She communicates AEDI research to policymakers and practitioners, with a goal of leveraging a public commitment to asset empowerment and equitable opportunities for upward mobility, through the mechanism of educational attainment, for a generation of American children.

Research Interests

  • Asset-based strategies for restoring higher education as a catalyst for economic mobility
  • Financial aid reform
  • Economic inequality
  • Strategies for effective policy advocacy by nonprofit organizations
  • Advocacy evaluation
  • And advocacy capacity-building for individuals and social service organizations.


As a Truman Scholar, Ms. Lewis serves on the University of Kansas' Truman Scholar selection committee, mentoring applicant Scholars on their career plans and policy proposals. Ms. Lewis also mentors adjunct faculty and GTAs in the School of Social Welfare's policy courses. Off campus, Ms. Lewis advises nonprofit organizations on policy advocacy, advocacy strategy evaluation, and coalition-building for successful social change.

Selected Publications

Elliott, W. & Lewis, M. (2015). The real college debt crisis: How student borrowing threatens financial well-being and erodes the American dream. , Broomfield, CO: Praeger.

Elliott, W. & Lewis, M. (2015). Transforming 529s into Children's Savings Accounts: The Promise Indiana Model.

Lewis, M. & Elliott, W. (2015). A Regional Approach to Children's Savings Accounts: The Case of New England.

Lewis, M. & Elliott, W. (2014). Examining the Canadian Education Savings System and its Implications for U.S. Children’s Savings Account (CSA) Policy . Lawrence, KS: Assets and Education Initiative.

Social Welfare Events