Dr. Kirk E. Harris

During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, Dr. Harris served on then Sen. Obama’s Metropolitan and Urban Policy Committee, charged with managing the campaign’s public policy platform. For four years, Dr. Harris served as the national facilitator for the National Fatherhood Leaders Group, a consortium of the country’s leading fatherhood organizations. In addition to that role, Dr. Harris has worked closely with White House staff of the Obama administration and other national leaders on issues related to fathers and families. Dr. Harris is considered a national expert in the areas of public policy related to responsible fatherhood, family support practice, community building and development, parent-engagement and leadership and anti-poverty strategies. In his capacity as a national expert, Dr. Harris has testified before Congress on issues related to fatherhood, family strengthening and community building.

Amongst his most recent publications, Dr. Harris is a contributor to a book on the Hope VI project, published by the Urban Institute, entitled, “Public Housing and the Legacy of Segregation.” Dr. Harris’ chapter entitled, Fathers from the Family to the Fringe: Practice, Policy, and Public Housing examines how service delivery practices and public policy limit father engagement and involvement within their families in the context of public housing. Also, Dr. Harris has published a practice brief entitled: “Transforming Responsible Fatherhood Practice and Policy: Bringing Scalability, Sustainability, and Measurability to Father Involvement and Family Strengthening” in Children’s Voice, a publication of the Child Welfare League of America.

Additionally, Dr. Harris has recently published an article in the Economic Development Quarterly, Because We Can, Doesn’t Mean We Should, and If We Do: Urban Communities, Social and Economic Justice and Local Economic Development Driven Eminent Domain Practices. The article offers an analytical review of economic development practice and the use of eminent domain and its impact on low-income and working class communities and considers strategic approaches and tools such as community benefit agreements as a way of mitigating the historically inequitable application of eminent domain. This work is the first to comprehensively bring together the understanding of eminent domain law, its intersection with economic development practices, and the political economy of race and class in the context of economic development strategies, while offering practical ideas for mitigating the negative effects of economic development driven eminent domain on vulnerable populations.

Also an advocate for youth development, Dr. Harris is the Founder of the School for Urban Planning and Architecture (SUPAR), a project-based charter high school that is linked to the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. SUPAR served low-income urban youth by connecting them to a project-based learning environment that sought to engage students in new ways as community change agents, with the objective of enhancing student retention and high school completion rates, thus enabling students to pursue post-secondary educational and training opportunities that would allow them to secure their future. The Wisconsin Daily Reporter named Dr. Harris Architectural Leader and Newsmaker of the Year for his work related to the charter school.

Dr. Harris possesses a Bachelors of Arts from Rutgers University, a Master of Public Administration degree from the Martin School of Public Policy and Public Administration, University of Kentucky, a Juris Doctor degree from Thomas Jefferson Law School and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. Dr Harris is a member of the Georgia, Washington, DC and US Supreme Court Bars