Luisa S. Deprez Ph.D.

Professor Emerita

Office Location




Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. Brandeis University, Social Welfare,1995
  • M.S.W. Rutgers University, Social Work, 1971
  • B.A. Keuka College, Sociology, 1970


My life as an academic has not followed a traditional path. Prior to coming to USM, I was an established expert on child mental health in Maine and the New England region, serving as Maine's Director of Children’s Mental Health Services.

I came to USM in 1976, as faculty in the School of Social Work; moved to the Department of Sociology in 2002. I am also faculty in the Women and Gender Studies Program, serving as Director from 1999 to 2002, as well as a Faculty Associate in the Muskie School. From 2002 to 2005, I was Dean of USM’s College of Arts and Sciences. I am currently co-director of the Maine Regional Network of the Scholars Strategy Network.

In 2005-2006 I as invited as the first joint Visiting Scholar at the Center for Social Policy and the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at UMass Boston, a position similar to one I held in 1998 as Visiting Research Scholar at the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women.  In Fall 2012, I was a Visiting Scholar at Univeristy of Hawai'i at Manoa Public Policy Center in Honolulu.  I held the position of Academic Visitor in the Department of Sociology at the Univeristy of Northumbria at Newcastle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in 1995.

 I hold a B.A in Sociology from Keuka College, an M.S.W. in Community Organization from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School for Public Policy and Management, Brandeis University.

Research Interests

My scholarly interests center on the broad arenas of social (welfare) policy including the politics of policy-making; the impact of ideology and public opinion in policy; poverty; women and welfare; and women, welfare and higher education.  I work at the intersection of the disciplines of history, political science, economics, and sociology while also extending in the broader arenas of education, social welfare, and law.  I incorporate gender, race, and class into my analysis, observations, and conclusions relying heavily on feminist critique.

Recent Publications

The Faltering Safety Net in a Reluctant Nation: Women's Economic Security at Risk in America (with Lisa Morris).  Women's Studies International Forum, Special Issue - Rethinking Gender and Social Policy: In the Changing Contexts of Development across the World.  Forthcoming 2013.

In the Public Interest: A Discussion with Theda Skocpol about the Scholars Strategy Network (with Amy Fried).  Maine Policy Review, Volume 21(2), Fall 2012: 104-110.

Back from the Brink: Unemployed Women in Maine Get a Second Chance (with Sandra Butler) Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, Special Issue.  Volume 35(2), May 2014.

Teaching for Human Well-Being: Curricular Implications for the Capability Approach (with Diane Wood).  Journal of Human Development and Capabilities (Special Issue).  Volume 13, Number 3, August 2012: 471-494.

Revisiting William J. Wilson's The Declining Significance of Race (with Richard Caputo). Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare (Special Issue).  Volume XXXIX, Number 1, March 2012: 7-15.

Investing in Human Capital in Difficult Economic TImes: Maine's Competitive Skills Scholarship Program (with Sandra Butler, John Dorrer, Auta Main).  Maine Policy Review, Orono: Margaret Chase Smith Center, University of Maine, March 2010.

Colliding Identities: Collaborative Feminism: Within and Beyond the Classroom (with Emily A. Paine).  In And Finally We Meet: Intersections and Intersectionality Among Feminist Activists, Academics and Students, Alice Ginsberg and Karen Bojar, eds. Towson University (NC) National Center for Curriculum Transformation Resources on Women, 2010.

Women, Welfare and Workforce Development: An Agenda for the 21st Century (with Mary Gatta).  In Transforming the U.S. Workforce Development System: Lessons from Research and Practice, David Finegold, Mary Gatta, Hal Saltzman, Susan Schurman, eds.  A Labor and Employment Relations Association Research Volume.  Cornell University Press, 2010.

In addition to the sample of publications listed above, I regularly contribute OpEds to the Bangor Daily News on issues of contemporary importance: liberal arts education, workforce development, paycheck fairness, Maine economy, poverty.

In 2014- 2015 the Bangor Daily News profiled The People Next Door: Struggles in the Changing Economy, a year-long profile of interviews with people in Maine who are struggling to make ends meet, written by UMaine Professor Sandy Butler and myself.