Kathryn Portnow

Instructor of Human Development
Email: kportnow@wheelock.edu
Phone: 617-879-2154
Office: Pilgrim LL105

Educational Degrees

B.A. (Education), Goddard College
M.S. (Early Childhood & Elementary Education),Bank Street College of Education
Ed.D (Human Development & Psychology), Harvard University

Kathryn Portnow is a developmental psychologist who began her work at Wheelock in the 1990's as a faculty member in the Center for Parenting Studies, as well as teaching in Wheelock's on and off campus programs.  Over the years she has taught a variety of courses at Wheelock such as: Schools & Families: Enriching the Partnerships, Women's Psychological Development, the Psychology of Gender, Emotional Problems of Children, Seminar in Emotional Problems of Children, Human Growth and Development and Adult Development. 

A post-doctoral fellow and research associate at Harvard University, she was co-author of a Federally Funded grant for a three and a half year longitudinal study of adult development and learning among adult ESL and ABE literacy learners which was a collaboration with the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy.  She co-authored several chapters in the monograph that derived from the study as well as contributed to several research briefs and reports.  She has presented workshops at a variety of conferences such as at the National Institute for Literacy Equipped for the Future Field Development Institute and the Society for Research on Adult Development.

A licensed psychologist, with a commitment to community mental health, for thirteen years, Portnow worked as the social club director for the clubhouse rehabilitation program of Eliot Community Human Services, an alternative mental health model for adults struggling with chronic mental health problems.  For over sixteen years she has continued to work as a psychotherapist at CLSACC, a community mental health multi-service center providing affordable legal and counseling services to low income people and the community's most vulnerable members.

Before her training as a developmental psychologist and psychotherapist, Portnow worked as an early childhood educator and school director in urban settings where she created innovative programs fostering outreach to families and parent-professional partnerships.

Her current interests include: the creation of innovative systems of care for the elderly, positive aging in adulthood, mind-body approaches to psychological well-being and psychotherapy and the nexus of lifespan issues in the lives of adults who struggle with chronic mental health problems.

Selected Publications & Presentations

  • Portnow, K. & Sonnenschein, P. (2002, November) Parents as Adult Learners: Opportunities for Development and Transformation. Workshop presented at the 10th Annual State Conference on Education, "A View from All Sides: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Parenting Education, Boston, MA.
  • Kegan, R., Broderick, M., Drago-Severson, E., Helsing, D., Popp, N. and Portnow, K.  (2002). Adult Development Study: Toward a new pluralism in ABE/ESOL classrooms:  Teaching to multiple "cultures of mind."  Harvard University Graduate School of Education/National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, NCSALL Research Brief.
  • Portnow, K., Diamond, A. and Pakos-Rimer, K. (2001).  "Becoming what I really am": Stories of personal creation, recreation, and "refreshment" in an Even Start ABE/ESL family literacy program: A developmental perspective."   In R. Kegan, M. Broderick, E. Drago-Severson, D. Helsing, N. Popp, K. Portnow (Eds.) Toward "a new pluralism" in the ABE/ESL classroom: Teaching to multiple "cultures of mind"-- a constructive- developmental approach. Adult Development Research Group, Harvard University Graduate School of Education, National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, NCSALL Reports #19.
  • Popp, N. & Portnow, K. (2001).  Our developmental perspective on adulthood. In R. Kegan, M. Broderick, E. Drago-Severson, D. Helsing, N. Popp, K. Portnow (Eds.) Toward "a new pluralism" in the ABE/ESL classroom: Teaching to multiple "cultures of mind"—a constructive developmental approach.  Adult Development Research Group, Harvard University Graduate School of Education, National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, NCSALL Reports #19

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