I’m an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at UNC Greensboro, a Visiting Scholar with the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill, and a Faculty Associate with the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion at the University of Michigan. I conduct research on financial health and economic mobility with a focus on low- and moderate-income households, and on the capacity of nonprofit organizations serving these households. I’ve taught graduate courses in social work for 14 years (nonprofit management and leadership, financial social work, community practice, and social policy) and business.

Previously, I was a faculty member with the Schools of Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill (2006-2015) and University of Michigan (2015-2017). Before joining academia, I practiced for 16 years, mostly in management and community practice positions with nonprofit organizations serving lower-income people. 

Currently, with my colleagues at Wash U, I’m doing research on the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on US households, digital platforms to promote financial health in the workplace in partnership with the Financial Health Network, financial wellness programs among and conditions of work affecting low- and moderate-income employees, tax-time savings in partnership with Intuit Corporation, and behavioral experiments to promote financial health with the Common Cents Lab at Duke University. I’m also conducting research on a range of other topics such as student debt, the Earned Income Tax Credit, precarious employment, financial inclusion, medical debt and charity care programs, and the U.S. nonprofit safety net.

Click here for my C.V. and follow me on Twitter @DespardMat and on Research Gate.