Thomas Jankowski

Thomas Jankowski

Associate Director for Research, Adjunct Professor of Gerontology and Political Science

Thomas Jankowski

Bio Sketch

 Visit PhinisheD, Dr. Jankowski's online discussion and support group for struggling thesis and dissertation writers

Thomas B. Jankowski, Ph.D., is Associate Director for Research at both the Institute of Gerontology and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute. He received his bachelors degree in political science from Michigan State University, where he was a National Merit Scholar, and earned his masters and doctoral degrees from Wayne State University's Department of Political Science, where he was a Thomas C. Rumble Graduate Fellow and a Steven B. Sarasohn Dissertation Fellow.  Prior to entering academia, Dr. Jankowski worked in electoral politics as a campaign manager and director, and in government as a legislative aide in the Michigan House of Representatives.

In his role as Associate Director, Dr. Jankowski is responsible for the research technology and infrastructure at the IOG and MPSI.  He plans and overees the computer resources, including servers, workstations, networks, research software, digital audio/visual equipment, and websites and Internet facilities of both institutes. He also manages office and lab spaces and facilities in the Knapp and Skillman Buildings and the Freer House.  He works with his faculty colleagues to enhance awareness of opportunities for extramural research funding, to enable and assist in their pursuit of that funding, and to help build research collaborations with other researchers across the University and around the world. He works with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and predoctoral trainees as a consultant and advisor in the areas of survey research, research methodology, statistical analysis, data management, and academic computing. He also works with the IOG's administrative staff to assist in the automation and streamlining of grant application processes, post-award grant and personnel management, and business processes and systems.

Dr. Jankowski also serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science and Gerontology at Wayne State University. He has taught Wayne State's graduate seminar in public policy and the aged, part of the University's Graduate Certificate in Gerontology Program, through the Department of Political Science and the School of Social Work. His academic interests include the historical origins and policy implications of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, the aging of the population, and public opinion and the social and political participation of mass publics.  He is particularly interested in the effects of race, gender, and the aging process on the development of political orientations, habits of media use, and patterns of participation in individuals.  Dr. Jankowski, in partnership with Adult Well Being Services of Detroit, recently received two-year grants from the Kresge Foundation, the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, and the American House foundation to gather, integrate, and publish a compilation of the available demographic, economic, health, and social data on older adults in Southeast Michigan entitled, "Seniors Count!"  He is currently working on a book on the lives of poor elders in Detroit during the Great Depression with several colleagues In and outside of Wayne State.  He continues to pursue his own research in adult political socialization and the effects of cohort, life span forces, and social and racial identity on political behavior, civic knowledge, and public opinion.

Dr. Jankowski has spoken about aging policy to dozens of local organizations, and he is active in Michigan's aging network.  He chairs the advisory council of The Senior Alliance, Michigan Area Agency on Aging 1-C, and sits on its board of directors and executive committee.  He serves on the board of the Michigan Society of Gerontology and the steering committee of the United Way of Southeast Michigan's Senior Collaborative initiative, and is a member of the Aging Services Consortium of Detroit, the Alliance to Promote the Economic Benefit of Seniors, the Regional Elder Mobility Alliance, and the Michigan Elder Economic Security Initiative.  He also serves on the boards of Families For Children, a not-for-profit international adoption advocacy organization, Friends of the Freer House, and Friends of Eloise, devoted to the preservation of the history of Wayne County's poor house.

Dr. Jankowski combines his academic and technical interests in his sponsorship and administration of PhinisheD, on the web at PhinisheD is an online discussion and support community for those pursuing graduate education or those who have recently completed an advanced degree and are seeking or adjusting to employment in academia, government, or the private sector. PhinisheD is especially geared toward graduate students writing a thesis or dissertation on the masters or doctoral level, a group which often faces enormous isolation and frustration and therefore has a singular need for advice, social support, and the camaraderie of others in similar circumstances. A lively community with scores of active members from North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and beyond, PhinisheD includes several interactive bulletin boards, a links directory containing nearly 800 links to other websites of interest, a chat room, a public calendar, and a number of other resources.  PhinisheD boasts a current active membership of over 700, and thousands more have participated over the years, and so far over 540 struggling graduate students have finished their theses or dissertations and earned masters or doctoral degrees with the help of their "phriends" at PhinisheD, an accomplishment of which Dr. Jankowski is particularly proud.

Office Location

103 Knapp

Office Phone



Jankowski, Thomas B. (2011). "Public Response to the Needs of Old People." Ch. 2 in Ruth Ray and Toni Colasanti, eds., Nobody's Burden: Lessons from the Great Depression on the Struggle for Old-Age Security. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, pp. 33-56.

Cernin, Paul, Mary Katherine Cresci, and Thomas B. Jankowski. (2010). "Reliability and Validity Testing of the Short-Form Health Survey in a Sample of Community-Dwelling African-American Older Adults." Journal of Nursing Measurement 18 (1) 49-59.

Langlois, Janet, Thomas B. Jankowski, Mary Durocher, and Elizabeth Chapleski. (2008). "Otherwise Destined for Eloise: Dread, Contentment, and the Public Alternative to Private 'Relief' in Old Age." Journal of Aging, Humanities, and the Arts 2 (3-4), 186-206.

Jankowski, Thomas B. (2008).  "Political behavior and orientations, later life." In D. Carr (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development (Vol. 3, pp. 302-307). Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA.

Simons, Kelsey V., and Thomas B. Jankowski. (2008). "Factors Influencing Nursing Home Social Workers� Intentions to Quit Employment." Administration in Social Work 32 (1), 5-21. 

Herring, Mary, Thomas B. Jankowski, and Ronald E. Brown. (1999). "Pro-Black Doesn't Mean Anti-White: The Structure of African-American Group Identity." Journal of Politics 61 (2), 363-386.

Ellis, R. Darin, Thomas B. Jankowski, Jarrod E. Jasper, and Balaji S. Tharuvai. (1998). "Listener: A Tool for Client-Side Investigation of Hypermedia Navigation Behavior." Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers 30 (4), 573-582.

Ellis, R. Darin, Thomas B. Jankowski, and Jarrod E. Jasper. (1998). "Design of an Internet-based Information System for Aging Services Professionals." The Gerontologist 38 (6), 743-748.

Ellis, R. Darin , Thomas B. Jankowski, Jarrod E. Jasper, and Aziz Abdul. (1996). "Gero-informatics and the Internet: Locating Gerontology Information on the World Wide Web." The Gerontologist 36 (1), 100-105.

Jankowski, Thomas B. and John M. Strate. (1995). "Modes of Participation Over the Adult Life Span." Political Behavior 17, 89-106.

Strate, John M. , Coit C. Ford III, and Thomas B. Jankowski. (1994). "Women's Use of the Print Media to Monitor Politics." Social Science Quarterly 75, 166-186.

Jankowski, Thomas B. (1994). "Reciprocity, Elder Satisfaction, and Caregiver Stress and Burden: The Exchange of Aid in the Family Caregiving Relationship." Journal of Marriage and the Family 56, 35-43.


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