School of Social Work

David Wagner, Ph.D., MSW

BSW Coordinator & Professor of Social Work and Sociology
David Wagner, Ph.D., MSW


331 Masterton Hall, Portland Campus

Office Hours

On Leave Spring 2014

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 780-4764

David has been on the faculty of USM since 1988. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University, a Labor Studies Master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the City University of New York.

Research Interests

David’s work--scholarship and activism--has centered on poverty, homelessness, social inequality, and social welfare history and policy. He worked prior to academia as a social worker, and a labor organizer.  He has worked over the years with a variety of low income groups from Maine to California in community organization. He also is active in the activist national group Social Welfare Action Alliance (SWAA) which has a Maine chapter.

Recent Publications

David is the author of eight books including Checkerboard Square, which won the 1993 C. Wright Mills award, The New Temperance: The American Obsession with Sin and Vice, which won the 1998 Northeast Popular Culture Award, What's Love Got to Do With It? A Critical Look at American Charity, The Poorhouse: America's Forgotten Institution, and currently a new book with former USM social work student Jennifer Barton Gilman called Confronting Homelessness: Poverty, Politics, and the Failure of Social Policy. The book was recently named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2013 and is available here. Prof. Wagner also has a book titled The Miracle Worker and the Transcendentalist: Anne Sullivan, Franklin Sanborn, and the Education of Helen Keller, which can be found here. He is also the author of many scholarly articles, book chapters, and book reviews.