Working on a new book!

Hi All! I’ve been quiet for awhile — busy working on a new book! I’m delighted to share that I have been collaborating with Elizabeth Holloway, PhD on a book for the APA Essentials in Qualitative Methods series on Critical Incident Technique. We just submitted the manuscript and are awaiting feedback. Stay tuned,

“An inspiring discussion” with Harriet Schwartz – more on teaching and relationships

Dr. Harriet Schwartz of Antioch University discusses her recent book, “Connected Teaching: Relationship, Power, and Mattering in Higher Education”. Most faculty spend a significant part of their lives interacting with students. Dr. Schwartz’s book reminds us that so much of teaching is about moments with students. These moments can be brief or extended, but these moments, whatever the duration, can be transformative for students. Dr. Schwartz discusses the importance of these relationships and how to attend to these relationships so that students can be heard, seen, and most importantly, successful. Listen for an inspiring and helpful discussion that really is at the heart of why many of us teach.


Harriet Schwartz on Relational Cultural Theory and Mentoring

Join Harriet Schwartz as she talks mentoring and Relational Cultural Theory with Michelle Thomas and Ashley Wineland of The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania in this episode of MentorChat.

“You know those powerful moments you have with someone, maybe a mentee or someone you’re advising or coaching and you can almost feel it – they’re learning or growing, you feel energized… I wanted to understand that moment….RCT gives language to that energy that happens between two people when there is growth in that moment or in that relationship,” Harriet said, describing how an interest in mentoring was the foundation for her research and work as an educator and her interest in Relational Cultural Theory.

Harriet, Michelle, and Ashley explore a number of RCT concepts relevant to mentoring, including The Five Good Things (energy, worth, clarity, movement, and desire for more connection), mentoring episodes, and cultural context. In addition, they consider the question — What is the space I want to create today with the person or people I’m mentoring or teaching?


Harriet Schwartz featured on ThinkUDL podcast

“ThinkUDL is a podcast about Universal Design for Learning where we hear from the people who are designing and implementing strategies in post-secondary settings with learner variability in mind.

Join host, Lillian Nave, as she discovers not just WHAT her guests are teaching, learning, guiding and facilitating, but HOW they design and implement it, and WHY it even matters!”

In this episode, Harriet Schwartz joins host Lillian Nave to discuss Relational Cultural Theory and UDL. Harriet and Lillian consider authenticity, power, social-cultural identity, the role of relationship in teaching and learning, and teaching and emotion, and more. Harriet shares a variety of teaching experiences including a class activity that feel apart, scrapping a module guide after hearing student feedback, and dealing with frustration experienced by faculty when they think they’ve explained something clearly and some students still don’t seem to understand.

In this excerpt, Harriet discusses dealing with frustration when students struggle: “How can I bring the humanity to that, regardless of what the context is? How can I still not lose track of the fact that these, you know, students are humans with emotions, and whether they’re working hard at it or not? Like, how can I bring a basic appreciation for their humanity in mind to all of this and, and part of it might be dealing with my own frustration and sadness, like I really like I can just see this student’s potential and they’d be great in the field. And I just so wish they could do it, but I have to come to terms with the fact that right now, maybe there’s just something going on in a student’s life that they just can’t make it work right now. And I need to be okay with that, and not let it tear me up. And at the same time, in certain disciplines, like if students can’t, you know, show a certain level of, of knowledge, competency, whatever, that it’s not okay for them to move forward. And so how can we support that student with respect and regard?”



Harriet L. Schwartz named Professor of Relational Practice and Higher Education, Antioch University PhDLC

Harriet L. Schwartz will return to her PhD alma mater, Antioch University’s PhD in Leadership and Change program, to serve as Professor of Relational Practice and Higher Education, beginning in July. Harriet is the first alum hired by the program in a full-time faculty role.

In a recent interview in the program newsletter, Harriet commented, “Antioch students are deep thinkers who are committed to addressing big problems and I am so eager to support and guide that work full-time. Second, I think the faculty role is a teacher-mentor hybrid role and that is a sweet spot for me, meaning it’s the space in which I can best contribute. My primary focus as a scholar thus far has been teaching as a relational practice – this IS the PhDLC. In addition, I believe that Antioch University’s PhDLC (as structured by program and policies and as lived by faculty, administration, and students) comes closer to living its values than most universities – I appreciate this deeply and am eager to help the program continue to flourish.”

Harriet leaves Carlow University after 14 years during which time she taught in the Master’s of Professional Leadership program, School of Education, Department of Psychology and Counseling, and also chaired a Master’s in Student Affairs program. She reflected, “Carlow students are passionate about making a difference and engaged in their work and it was my honor to teach and learn with them. In addition, the Carlow faculty is a special group — terrific colleagues who place teaching, care for students, and collegiality as top priorities, leaving their own egos at the door. I leave Carlow with gratitude for these wonderful students and many terrific faculty and staff colleagues.”

Harriet will continue to serve as Lead Scholar for Education as Relational Practice with the International Center for Growth in Connection.

Harriet Schwartz presents Excellence in Teaching keynote

Harriet L. Schwartz, PhD, presented the Simmons University 2021 Spring Keynote on Excellence in Teaching on April 6, via zoom. Through this interactive keynote session, Dr. Schwartz provided an introduction to Relational Cultural Theory and engaged with Simmons faculty to explore questions such as how do we teach relationally in a pandemic, and what is connected teaching. She also helped faculty consider role and relational clarity in teaching and faculty fatigue. In addition, Dr. Schwartz acknowledged the Simmons University connection with Relational Cultural Theory, noting that Joyce Fletcher, PhD, now a Distinguished Research Scholar at Simmons and a long-time member of the faculty authored “Disappearing Acts: Gender, Power, and Relational Practice at Work” (MIT Press, 1999), the first book to apply RCT to understanding organizations.

Dr. Schwartz will continue her work with the Simmons faculty in early May when she will meet with the Simmons Faculty book club, to discuss “Connected Teaching: Relationship, Power, and Mattering in Higher Education” (Stylus, 2019).

Connected Teaching Faculty Book Clubs, Keynotes, and More

Hi All! I’ve had the pleasure of several engaging conversations about Connected Teaching in the past few weeks and more are coming up soon (all virtual of course)! Earlier this month I visited with Dr. Lisa Moore’s RCT and Feminist Theories class at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. These students have been engaged with RCT all semester and asked terrific questions. Next I interviewed with Amanda Baumgartner, a student from Dr. Connie Gunderson’s RCT class in the College of St. Scholastica MSW program. This was a wonderful opportunity to take a deep dive with a graduate student studying RCT.

Next on the schedule, I’ll be visiting with two faculty book club groups at Lipscomb University in Nashville. They have been reading “Connected Teaching: Relationship, Power, and Mattering in Higher Education” and I am eager to see what has resonated and possible growth areas for the work. My work with the Lipscomb faculty will continue on May 11 when I present their spring faculty development keynote.

Also on the spring keynote schedule — I’ll offer the Simmons University Keynote on Excellence in Teaching on April 6.

If you are currently planning late spring, summer, or fall faculty development and are interested in a Connected Teaching keynote or faculty and/or GTA development in areas including any of the following — please complete the form on the speaking or faculty development pages of this website.

Workshop topics:

  • Helping Faculty Prepare for/Process Challenging Teaching Moments
  • Disappointment, Fatigue, & Failure: When Teaching Almost Breaks Your Heart
  • Time, Space, & Self-disclosure: Faculty Boundaries and Authenticity Amidst a Changing Higher Education Landscape

Sending good energy for the rest of the spring semester!



Discussing the early days of RCT with Dr. Judith V. Jordan

Dr. Judith V. Jordan is one of the founding scholars of Relational Cultural Theory. She worked with Dr. Jean Baker Miller, Dr. Irene Stiver, and Dr. Janet Surrey — all developing a new theory of human development. In this video, I talk with Dr. Jordan about the early work — much of it in Jean Baker Miller’s living room. In this video, we also get a sense of what this journey was like for Dr. Jordan as a young scholar and what is was like for this working group to put forward RCT, a feminist theory, as they met both resonance and resistance. Throughout this interview, we also learn from Dr. Jordan’s wisdom as she shares stories of dealing with self-doubt, finding voice, and the joy of intense intellectual collaboration. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Jordan for this interview and hope it contributes to the intellectual history of Relational Cultural Theory.

Connected Teaching recommended for student affairs practitioners

I’m thrilled that student affairs practitioners are picking up Connected Teaching! I worked in student affairs for many years before moving over to a faculty track and so I know that my student affairs experience shapes my thinking and practice. I have drawn on Connected Teaching to present staff development programs for student affairs practitioners and they find resonance in this work.

I began my career as an intern in the Smith College career center and then worked as an academic advisor for the mens’ basketball team at the University of Hartford. From there I served as the first director of the career center at Bard College and then went on to work for several years at Carnegie Mellon University, first in the dean of student affairs office and then in the career center.

Relational Cultural Theory (RCT), which is at the core of my work, provides an important foundation for thinking about the heart and soul of student affairs. RCT is a human development theory centered on the idea that we are at our best when we can engage in growth-fostering relationships, that we grow through and in our relationships. Growth-fostering relationships — this is the essence of student affairs!

Discussing relational practice, race, & more with Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Harriet and Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew both draw on Relational Cultural Theory (RCT)  in their every day work. With RCT as a foundation in this podcast, they explore relational practice, race, teaching, and writing as a public scholar.

Overview of Dr. Booker-Drew’s podcast: “Dr. Froswa’s Tapestry is about bringing people together to explore the rich, woven textures of our narratives. Our stories are impactful and in listening to the stories of others, we learn more about our own power, claim our purpose and pursue our passion. The fabric of our lives as women is strong, resilient and when we come together, we can make a beautiful piece of work to inspire, support and sustain our personal and professional lives. Although designed for women 50 and above, the wisdom shared is ageless. Join us as we share, laugh hysterically, cry, and keep it real all at the same time.”