Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, February 12, 2018

Cancian, Collins honored with top UW–Madison research awards

Maria Cancian and J. Michael Collins Maria Cancian and J. Michael Collins

Two La Follette School faculty members have received major awards from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Professor Maria Cancian received a Kellett Mid-Career Award, and Associate Professor J. Michael Collins received an H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship.

“These are among UW–Madison’s most competitive awards, with only two or three faculty winning in the entire field of social science,” said Director and Professor Don Moynihan. “They recognize the excellence of the La Follette School’s amazing scholars and campus citizens.”

In January, Cancian was named the 2018 John Kenneth Galbraith Fellow by the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Cancian, a professor of public affairs and social work, also is a faculty affiliate and former director of UW–Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty.

A leading and influential scholar on the effects of child support programs on children and families, Cancian and her research have shaped national research agendas and discourse on child support policy, poverty policy and child welfare policy, and generated more than $50 million in grants to UW–Madison.

From 2014 to 2016, Cancian served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as deputy assistant secretary for policy in HHS’s Administration for Children and Families. She returned to UW–Madison in fall 2016.

Cancian previously served as a W.T. Grant Foundation Distinguished Fellow in residence at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and a Visiting Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

An associate professor of public affairs and human ecology, Collins is the Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance.
Collins studies household finance and financial capability, exploring ways to improve household financial well-being. His work focuses on underserved populations, including lower-income families, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.

In addition to his teaching and research, Collins serves as faculty director of UW–Madison’s Center for Financial Security. He also translates research for use by educators across Wisconsin, as a specialist in family financial management for the University of Wisconsin–Extension.

The Kellett Award recognizes and supports mid-career faculty, seven to 20 years past their first promotion to a tenured position. The Romnes Fellowship, which bridges the gap between research support for new faculty and the Kellett Mid-Career Award, supports faculty up to six years past their first promotion to a tenured position.