Kathleen McCartney is the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development. An internationally recognized authority on child development and early education, she was named dean in May 2006 and had been serving as acting dean since July 2005. As of July 1, 2013, she will serve as the 11th president of Smith College.
A native of Medford, Massachusetts, McCartney received her bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Tufts University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from Yale University. While at Yale, she was a fellow at the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy. From 1982 to 1987, she served as an assistant professor in the psychology department of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Subsequently, she joined the faculty of the University of New Hampshire, where she served as the director of the Child Study & Development Center.
McCartney is a developmental psychologist whose research informs theoretical questions on early experience and development as well as policy questions on child care, early childhood education, poverty, and parenting. For the past 15 years, she has served as a principal investigator on the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care & Youth Development, a study of 1,350 children from birth through 15 years. The NICHD Early Child Care Research Network summarized their findings in a 2005 book, Child Care and Child Development, published by Guilford Press. McCartney and Deborah Phillips have also edited The Handbook of Early Child Development, published by Blackwell. McCartney’s work has been informed by her experience as the director of the University of New Hampshire Child Study & Development Center, a laboratory school for children from birth through kindergarten.
She has served on the editorial board of the journals Child Development and Developmental Psychology and is a fellow of the American Psychological Society. She has also been a Visiting Research Scholar at the Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College.
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