Faculty associates are faculty who have collaborated on papers, grants, or reports with AEDI core staff and/or have worked on AEDI projects. Project directors work to develop faculty associates with expertise that can help their projects reach their goals.

Faculty Associates with the CSA Project

Gregory A. Cheatham, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Special Education Department
401 Joseph R. Pearson Hall
Phone n/a

Bio: Greg Cheatham holds an MSW from the University of Illinois and was a school social worker in Illinois public schools where he served students with disabilities and their families. Greg’s scholarship focuses on the provision of effective, appropriate, and equitable services for children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including children with disabilities and those considered at risk. He has a particular interest in language diversity including bilingualism for families and children considered at risk and those who have disabilities. He has been an associate editor for the journal Young Exceptional Children, and recently co-edited Young Exceptional Children Monograph #14, Supporting young children who are dual language learners with or at-risk for disabilities, published by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Division for Early Childhood (DEC). Dr. Cheatham serves on the editorial boards for Journal of Early Intervention and Topics in Early Childhood Special Education. Dr. Cheatham primarily teaches courses in the Unified Early Childhood (Bachelors degree level) and Early Childhood Unified (Masters degree level) programs within the Department of Special Education.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Work Together:

  • Cheatham, G. and Elliott, W. (2013). The effects of college savings on postsecondary school enrollment rates of students with disabilities. Economics of Education Review, 33(1), pp. 95-111.
  • Cheatham, G., Smith, S. J., Elliott, W., & Friedline, T. (2013). Family assets, postsecondary education, and students with disabilities: Building on progress and overcoming challenges. Children and Youth Services Review 35(7), pp. 1078-1086.


Toni K. Johnson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
304 Twente Hall
Phone (785) 864-3825

Bio: Associate Professor at the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare. Professor Johnson came to KU from the University of Texas at Austin where she received a Masters of Science in Social Work degree (1990) and a doctorate in Social Work (2005). Toni has over 15 years experience teaching in higher education and over 20 years experience providing direct mental health services to women, children, and families in a variety of clinical settings.  Her professional and research interests include a focus on children’s mental health and families at risk for negative outcomes, especially the children and families of prisoners. She has led several research studies and co-authored publications and reports related to intervention services for at risk families.


Curriculum Vitae

Selected Work Together:

Dr. Johnson is heading up a new an exciting area of work at AEDI on children of incarcerated parents and the potential for assets to improve their psychological, social, economic, and health outcomes. Here are some titles of works in progress:

  • Discrepancies Between Perceptions of Needs by Adolescent Children of Incarcerated Parents and Their Social Service Providers.  By Johnson, Moses & West
  • Do the Health Outcomes of Children of Prisoners Differ From Those Whose Parents Have Never Been Incarcerated?  By Johnson, West & Moses
  • Do the Wealth Outcomes of Children of Prisoners Differ From Those Whose Parents Have Never Been Incarcerated?  By Johnson
  • Are Household Assets Associated with Prosocial Behavior in Children Affected By Parental Incarceration?  Evidence from the  Fragile Family Child Wellbeing Study. By Moses & Johnson

Faculty Associates for the Financial Inclusion Project


Johnny S. Kim, Ph.D., LICSW
Associate Professor
Craig Hall, Room 334
Phone (303) 871-3498 

Bio: Dr. Johnny S. Kim is an Associate Professor at the University of Denver. Dr. Kim received his Master’s degree in social work from Boston College, Ph.D. in social work from the University of Texas at Austin, and was a Council on Social Work Education Minority Clinical Fellow. His teaching areas include clinical social work practice and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. Dr. Kim’s research areas focus on evaluating school-based interventions, solution-focused brief therapy, quantitative research methods, and asset-building. Prior to his doctoral studies, Dr. Kim worked as a school counselor and case manger for community based mental health agencies in Seattle, Washington.



Mahasweta M. Banerjee, Ph.D.
121 Twente Hall
Phone (785) 864-8950

Bio: Mahasweta M. Banerjee is professor at the School of Social Welfare, University of Kansas (KU). She has a master’s degree in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), India, and a masters and Ph.D. in Social Work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis. She has been teaching at KU since 1992. She teaches quantitative and qualitative research, and leads a Study Abroad in India course in collaboration with TISS. Her research and scholarship focus on poverty and social justice. She had a Fulbright Research Award to India, where she applied insights from the capability approach to explore capabilities that allow income-poor people to work and earn a living. More recently, she is examining financial capabilities and its outcomes on well-being. She presents frequently at national and international conferences, and publishes her works in national and international journals. In 2012, she received the Journal of Social Work Education Award for best conceptual article. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Social Work Education, has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Community Practice, is a board member of the International Consortium of Social Development, and a member of the Council on Global Learning, Research and Practice. 


David Rothwell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
McGill University
School of Social Work

Bio: David Rothwell is an Associate Professor at the McGill University School of Social Work. David studies poverty and economic inequality and specializes in social developmental and asset-based interventions. He is particularly interested in working with Indigenous/Native communities to reduce poverty and social exclusion. David is currently the Principal Investigator on a study to define and measure asset poverty in Canada and leading a collaborative research project on homelessness with the Old Brewery Mission in Montreal. He is a Faculty Associate with the Center for Social Development at George Warren Brown School of Social Work (Washington University in St. Louis). David earned his doctorate in social welfare from the University of Hawai'i where his dissertation examined social development and economic mobility among low-income Native Hawaiians. 


Mathieu Despard
Assistant Professor
University of Michigian - Ann Arbor
School of Social Work

Bio: Dr. Despard’s research focuses on the financial security of lower-income families and the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations that serve these families. Currently, Mat is conducting research on the outcomes of a large scale tax-time savings experiment and on employer-based financial wellness programs in partnership with colleagues at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. Mat is also working on research concerning summer youth employment, the relationship between access to and use of financial services and household financial outcomes with the University of Kansas Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion (AEDI), and the capacity and financial health of nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.

Prior to joining the School of Social Work in the fall of 2015 as an Assistant Professor, Mat was Clinical Associate Professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work, where he also received his PhD and MSW degrees. At UNC, Mat taught management, community practice, and social policy courses, coordinated the Nonprofit Leadership Certificate program, and served as adjunct instructor at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Before joining UNC, Mat worked for 12 years post-MSW in nonprofit organizations and applied research settings focusing on asset development, early childhood development, HIV care, and access to health care among low-income persons and communities.

Curriculum Vitae

Faculty Associates for the College Debt Project


None currently


Faculty Associates for the Wealth Transfer Project


None currently

New Book Released

Today’s student loan system is in place because of a political compromise, and growing discontent with student debt may signal that this arrangement has run its course. While there are resources and organizations in place to help those struggling with debt, the time has come to consider a new direction for financial aid, William Elliott III and Melinda Lewis argue in “Student Debt: A Reference Handbook.”

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