Faculty Directory

Kathleen Christensen

Faculty Fellow

Center for Social Innovation


Kathleen Christensen, Ph.D., currently serves as a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Social Innovation, School of Social Work. Previously, she was a Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and a Professor of Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She currently co-directs Work Equity, a new BC venture to enable small and medium-sized businesses to achieve age, gender, racial and ethnic equity through the use of design thinking to customize how, when and where work is done. Previously, Dr. Christensen founded and led major workplace-focused programs at the Sloan Foundation, including Outsourcing & Its Impacts on the U.S. Workforce; Working Longer; Workplace, Workforce & Working Families; and Workplace Flexibility. Dr. Christensen worked with the White House to plan and execute the 2010 White HouseForum on Workplace Flexibility and the 2014 White House Summit on Working Families. She is widely quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other major media outlets. Recognized for her expertise, Dr. Christensen was named by Working Mother magazine as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Work-Life Field.” Her fellowship honors include Danforth, Mellon, Rockefeller, and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships.

Select Publications

Christensen, K. (2021) “American Agenda for Working Families.” Stanford University, Center for Longevity.

Christensen, K. (with Pitt-Catsouphes). (2019) Translational Research in the Work and Family Field of Study, Special Issue of Work, Family and Community. 22(4).

Christensen, K. and B. Schneider (2011). “Making a Case for Workplace Flexibility.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 638(1): 6-20.

Christensen, K., B. Schneider and D. Butler (2011). “Families with School-Aged Children” Future of Children – Special Issue on Work and Family, edited by Sara McLanahan and Jane Waldfogel. Princeton University and Brookings Institution. 21(2): 69-70.

Christensen, K. (with Schneider, B.) (Eds.) (2010). Workplace Flexibility: Realigning 20th Century Jobs for a 21st Century Workforce. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Christensen, K. (with Pitt-Catsouphes, M.) (2004). Special Issue of Work, Family and Community. 7(2).

Christensen, K. (with Barker, K.). (Eds.) (1998). Contingent Work: American Employment Relations in Transition. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Christensen, K. (with P. Doeringer, et al.). (1991). Turbulence in the American Workplace. London, England: Oxford University Press.

Christensen, K. (1988). Women and Home-based Work: The Unspoken Contract. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

Christensen, K. (Ed.) (1988). The New Era of Home-based Work: Directions and Policies. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Select Grants

(Grants received during time as Professor of Psychology, Graduate Center, CUNY: 1981- 1995; subsequently made grants valued at over $160 million: 1995-2020)

Boston University, Work and Family Roundtable, Boston University, "Contingent Workers in Family-Sensitive Corporations." 1993 - 1995.

New York State, "Internal Restructuring of Labor Markets in Small and Medium-Sized Firms in New York City."  1993 - 1994.

The International Labor Office (ILO) of the United Nations, "Case Studies of Remote Work Arrangements in U.S. Corporations and Public Agencies." 1990.

Conference Board and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: "Flexible Scheduling and Staffing in U.S. Businesses." 1987 - 1989.

Commonwealth Fund, Commission on Elderly People Living Alone: "Older Workers’ Experiences With Part-time, Temporary, and Off-the-Books Jobs and Self- Employment." 1987 - 1988.

U.S. Department of Labor: "The Contingent Workplace: New Directions for Work in the Year 2000." 1986 - 1988.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "The New Era of Homework: Directions and Responsibilities." 1986 - 1988.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Impacts of Home-based Work on Women and Their Families." 1984 - 1988.

Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress: "Impacts of Computer- Mediated Homework on Women and Their Families." 1984 - 1985.

Select Appointments and Awards

Member, Advisory Council, Stanford University, Center on Longevity 2021 – present

"Kathleen Christensen Dissertation Award” given biannually to a recent Ph.D. scholar in recognition of achieving high and rigorous standards of research relevant to work and family area of study. Awarded by the Work Family Researchers Network (WFRN).

"Seven Wonders of the Work Life World, awarded by Working Mother Magazine for being the “foremost strategic supporter of work-life research and practices” 2010

Distinguished Alumnae Award, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, 2007

Delegate, White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), 2005

Legacy Award (inaugural), Families and Work Institute, in recognition of contributions in founding field of work-family, 2004

Delegate, U.S. Department of Labor delegation to Israel on Women and Contingent Work, 1986

Fellow, Mellon Foundation to the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, 1982-1983; Rockefeller Foundation to the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, 1978

Fellow, Danforth Foundation, 1979-1981

Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities

Professional Activities

Contributing Research Scholar, Stanford University, Center on Longevity 2020-2021

Co-President (elected) Work Family Researchers Network (WFRN), an international membership organization of interdisciplinary work and family researchers, 2017 –2019.

Chair, Board of Directors, OpenWork. a nonprofit intended to inspiring organizations to continuously improve how, when, and where work is done for the mutual benefit of employees and employers, 2011 - present.

Advisor, White House Office of the First Lady, Council on Women and Girls, and Social Engagement on work-family issues – including planning the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility (2010), planning and speaking at the White House Summit on Working Families (2014) and speaking at a number of WH events (2010– 2015).