Ronald Mincy Awarded Tenure at the School of Social Work

June 4, 2008 @ 4:00 am

For Immediate Release

June 4, 2008

New York, NY – The Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) is pleased to announce that Dr. Ronald Mincy, the Maurice V. Russell Professor of Social Policy and Social Welfare, has been awarded tenure by Columbia University. Renowned for his groundbreaking conceptualizations and his innovative perspectives on some of our nation’s most challenging social concerns, Professor Mincy created, conceptualized, and advanced the development of research on “fragile families,” disadvantaged families with low-income fathers.

Dr. Mincy’s work was motivated by an interest in utilizing rigorous research to enable responsible fatherhood and its implications for family well-being to become legitimate foci in the policy landscape. Hence, his research has examined the involvement of low-income fathers in the lives of their children, union transitions among unmarried parents, transitions of ex-offenders into their communities, the effects of income security policies and work incentives on low-income fathers and their families including fathers’ ability to meet child support obligations, and more. Additionally, Dr. Mincy’s book, Black Males Left Behind has stimulated the discussion of program and policy efforts aimed at young black males.

Seen as “one of the architects for the study of poor families” by other leading scholars, Dr. Mincy, according to Dean Jeanette Takamura, has “always tackled big social issues.” His early scholarship caught the attention of leaders in policy circles when he and his coauthors, Isabell Sawhill and Douglas Wolf, offered “The Underclass: Definition and Measurement” in Science, examining how the underclass has been conceptualized and the ramifications of each conceptualization. Their article set the standard by which the underclass could be understood. Professor Mincy’s Journal of Policy Analysis and Management article with Elaine Sorenson, “Deadbeats and Turnips in Child Support Reform,” is widely recognized as a classic. It challenged prevailing policy assumptions about child support enforcement instead of legitimizing prevailing moral judgments about the character of non-custodial fathers who failed to provide child support. The Mincy and Sorenson article argued, based upon their analysis of Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data, that young non-custodial fathers were unable to meet their obligations because they were low-income. A seminal article, it turned child support research and policy in the U.S. on its head.

Dr. Irwin Garfinkel noted, “Ronald Mincy is a scholar who has had a profound influence upon social policy.” Dr. Mincy has provided technical assistance based upon his research to government officials, foundations, private sector leaders, and community organizations. Based particularly upon the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study, which Dr. Mincy spearheaded, Congress offered The Fatherhood Counts Act of 1998 and provisions in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. Over the last several years, Dr. Mincy’s scholarship has informed the Enhanced Non-Custodial Parent Earned Income Tax, Responsible Fatherhood, and domestic violence-funding provisions of U.S. Senator Obama’s Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Area Marriage Act of 2007 that sought to address fragile families through the inclusion of attention to low-income fathers and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer’s Recidivism Reduction & Second Chance Act of 2007, that provides employment and transitional services to assist reentry of  adult and juvenile ex-offenders into the community.

Dr. Mincy is an advisor for the noncustodial parents demonstration program operated by the New York City the Department of Community and Youth Development. He serves on the advisory committee for Mayor Bloomberg’s fatherhood initiative. Immersed in the New York community, he has also provided consultation and support to initiatives being developed by several philanthropic and business leaders, following the New York Times article on the plight of young Black males. Dr. Mincy has provided technical assistance to the Open Society Institute, which launched a $2 million special initiative targeting black males. He is an advisor to the Russell Sage, Spencer, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, which are launching grant-making initiatives aimed closing the achievement gaps between minority and other students, and to the Children’s Aid Society, which launched an African-American Male Initiative designed improve the educational attainment of a cohort of young black males who will enter elementary school over the next two years. Dr. Mincy is also working with the Urban Institute.

Prior to joining the faculty of CUSSW, Dr. Mincy was a Senior Program Office at the Ford Foundation.  While there, he was instrumental in establishing the infrastructure for the development of the human service called responsible fatherhood. His leadership enabled the National Partnership for Community Leadership (NPCL), the Institute of Responsible Fatherhood and Family Revitalization, the National Practitioners Network Fathers and Families, the Center for Fathers and Workforce Development (CFWD), and the Wisconsin Center for Fragile Families to serve as technical assistance and training resources for responsible fatherhood programs throughout the nation.

For more information, please contact Jeannie Hii at or 212-851-2327.