Professor Michelle Miller-Adams

Michelle Miller-Adams

Fields: international relations, U.S. social policy, economic and community development

Courses Taught
PLS 211 - International Relations
PLS 301 - Poverty, Inequality, and U.S. Public Policy

Selected Publications

Promise Nation: Transforming Communities Through Place-Based Scholarships, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, WE Focus series, 2015

The Power of a Promise: Education and Economic Renewal in Kalamazoo, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2009

Owning Up: Poverty, Assets, and the American DreamBrookings Institution Press, 2002

The World Bank: New Agendas in a Changing WorldRoutledge, 1999

 “Understanding the Philanthropic Character of Communities: Insights from Two West Michigan Communities,” Report co-authored with Grace Denny, Teri Behrens, and Michael Moody, Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, 2017

Promise Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, Co-created with Jennifer Iriti. Web-based tool for Promise stakeholders created with funding from the Lumina Foundation. 2016


Recent Papers and Presentations

“Evidence for Program Design and Evaluation,” White House Community College Convening, Washington, DC, October 2016

“The Impact of Place-Based Scholarship Programs: What Do We Know?” (with Jennifer Iriti), PromiseNet 2016 Research Plenary, Washington, DC, October 2016

“College Promise: Transforming Communities through Place-Based Scholarships,” Keynote speech at Michigan Community College Association Fall Board Meeting, Grand Rapids, MI, October 2016

“Growth, Scope, and Impact of College Promise Programs,” National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges, Mackinac Island, MI, August 2016

Remarks to Education Scholars Convening on Community College Research, The White House, January 2016

“The Evolution of the Promise Scholarship Movement: Policy Diffusion, Reinvention, and Critical Design Issues,” paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Chicago, April 2015

"The Economic Development Impact of Place-Based Scholarship Programs: Initial Results from Kalamazoo, Michigan," paper presented at the 71st Midwest Political Science Association Conference, Chicago, IL, April 2013

"The Kalamazoo Promise and the Revitalization of an Urban School District,” presentation at Looking Back, Moving Forward, A conference on race, class, opportunity and school boundaries in the Richmond region, Richmond, VA, March 2013

"Promise Scholarship Programs: Building Assets for Community Change," presentation at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland 2012 Policy Summit, Cleveland, OH, June 2012

Background and Interests

I have been on the Political Science faculty of Grand Valley State University since 2006, currently teaching courses in international relations and U.S. social policy. I have also taught International Political Economy and the capstone seminars for Political Science and International Relations majors. I have had the privilege of participating in faculty exchange programs to Perugia, Italy, and Debrecen, Hungary, and was honored to receive a Pew Teaching Excellence Award. As a recipient of the Dr. Russell G. Mawby Fellowship in Philanthropic Studies for two successive academic years, I collaborated with faculty and staff of GVSU's Johnson Center for Philanthropy to study the philanthropic cultures of Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

In addition to my teaching position at GVSU, I am a research fellow at the W.E. Upjohn Institute in Kalamazoo, where I write about the Kalamazoo Promise and other place-based scholarship programs and consult with communities interested in implementing such programs. I am on the planning committee for PromiseNet 2017 and in 2014-16 served as co-project director for a Lumina Foundation grant to study the post-secondary and community outcomes of Promise scholarship programs. I am currently co-project director for a Strada Education Network grant to study the workforce outcomes of such programs.

A native of Los Angeles, I live in Kalamazoo with my daughter and two dogs. I serve on two nonprofit boards: Wellspring/Cori Terry and Dancers, and First Day Shoe Fund. My extracurricular interests include music, dance, yoga, Zumba, quilting, and other crafts.