Director, Research and Evaluation
Rikki Baum is responsible for maintaining and developing research agendas and accountability measures for the University’s programs, partnerships and initiatives. Baum first joined the University in 1998 to direct California’s Welfare Policy Research Project, created by state law to administer and monitor welfare-related research on behalf of the State of California. Prior to undertaking this project, she served as an independent policy analyst and consultant, working with a variety of public and non-profit organizations on public welfare, welfare-to-work, child welfare, child support, and health and social service programs (1995-1999). She has taught graduate courses on U.S. social welfare policies and politics at U.C. Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare.
Baum has devoted much of her career to public service, primarily in the U.S. Congress. She began her legislative career with Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA), first on his personal staff, and subsequently on the staff of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, which he chaired. She went on to become a policy analyst and lobbyist for the American Public Human Services Association. She has also privately consulted and served as a legislative liaison for a number of states and localities, including her home state of California. From 1986-1989, Baum was a Senior Legislative Assistant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). She drafted and successfully promoted social security and welfare legislation for the Senator, including the Family Support Act of 1988, a landmark welfare reform bill that emphasized work, education and training, child support, and improved childcare and health care benefits for poor families. Winning broad bipartisan support in the Senate, that bill was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. She has also served as deputy to the President of the Kaiser Family Foundation and Chief of Staff to Congressman Sander M. Levin (D-MI).
She has served as Director of Domestic Policy Studies for the Progressive Policy Institute, has lectured at academic institutions in California and around the country, and has been featured as a keynote speaker by a variety of public and private organizations. She has authored articles on the politics of welfare reform. At the request of the United States Information Agency (USIA), she represented the US abroad and met with numerous foreign delegations visiting the US to discuss social welfare policies and politics.
Baum’s academic work tracks her public policy efforts. In 1985-1986, she served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s School of Social Work, where she taught courses on social welfare policy and the legislative process. She was also affiliated with the Institute for Research on Poverty.
Baum took her undergraduate and graduate degrees at U.C. Berkeley, completing her Ph.D. in 1985.