Michael A. Stegman, a UNC faculty member for 40 years, has been honored by his peers with the 2006 Thomas Jefferson Award.
The annual award honors a faculty member who has best exemplified the ideals and objectives of Jefferson. Faculty members nominate candidates for the honor, which carries a cash prize; a faculty committee chooses the recipient. Chancellor James Moeser presented the award at a Faculty Council meeting on April 21.
At the meeting, Stegman also announced that he would be retiring in July to work full time for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Program on Human and Community Development as director of policy. Stegman is the Duncan MacRae and Rebecca Kyle MacRae professor of public policy, planning and business at Carolina; Duncan MacRae was a member of the class of 1909.
Last year, Stegman was appointed to develop policy for the foundation’s program in a part-time capacity, while he also fulfilled his UNC responsibilities. In his role as director of policy, he will oversee implementation of program policy and serve as the foundation’s lead observer of domestic policy issues in affordable housing, community change, mental health, juvenile justice, education and urban and regional policy.
“The MacArthur Foundation is putting its money behind the belief that persistent barriers to opportunity and upward mobility for many Americans are antithetical to the nation’s long-term interest,” Stegman said. “The foundation believes that these conditions suggest the need for a different kind of policy discourse and inspired national leadership around a new direction in social policy. The opportunity to serve this vision, which is what my entire career has been about, in a new and different way, is just too good to pass up.”
Professors Richard “Pete” Andrews and William M. Rohe wrote the citation honoring Stegman.
“Like Jefferson, Professor Stegman has devoted his life to the pursuit of knowledge as well as to the application of that knowledge to improve the lives of our country’s citizens, particularly its less fortunate ones,” they wrote.
Stegman joined UNC’s faculty, in the College of Arts and Sciences’ department of city and regional planning, in 1966. Between 1982 and 1992, he was chairman of the department; during his time as chairman, he also chaired the planning committee that created the University’s doctoral degree program in public policy analysis and was the founding chairman of the department of public policy. He currently is the department’s chairman.
In 1993, then-President Clinton nominated him and the U.S. Senate confirmed his appointment to be assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He held that position until June 30, 1997. He also was acting chief of staff at HUD from November 1996 through April 1997. He also had held positions in the Carter administration.
In 1997, Stegman created the Center for Community Capitalism, based in the Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. He currently directs the center, which engages in multi-disciplinary research and outreach focused on applying private-sector knowledge to revitalizing distressed communities.
“Professor Stegman has devoted his career to expanding affordable housing for all Americans, financial services for the poor and working poor and asset-building opportunities,” Andrews and Rohe wrote in their citation. “He is a prolific contributor to both the scholarly and professional literature, having written 12 books and monographs, 24 book chapters and 65 journal articles. Many of these publications have led to new programs and policies with direct and tangible benefits to low-and moderate-income households.”
Stegman’s most recent books include Savings and the Poor: The Hidden Benefits of Electronic Banking (Brookings Institution Press, 1999), State and Local Affordable Housing Programs: A Rich Tapestry (The Urban Land Institute, 1999) and More Housing More Fairly: Report of the Twentieth Century Fund Task Force on Affordable Housing (1991).
He is a fellow of the Urban Land Institute and serves on several national boards of directors, including the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. Stegman also is on the national advisory board of the Brooking Institution’s Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy.