Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Megan Harding has been teaching at the Smith College School for Social Work since 2009, initially as an adjunct and eventually as a senior lecturer. She has taught in both the policy and practice sequences – and most recently served as the chair of the Social Welfare Policy and Services Sequence. Outside of SSW, Harding has taught at both Westfield State and Boston University Schools of Social Work – as well as guest lectured at Hampshire College, Western New England College, University of Massachusetts, Elms College, Amherst College, Springfield College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College.
As a clinician, Harding provided outpatient therapy at two local community mental health clinics, a local Employee Assistance Program and a school-based health center.
Harding’s leadership and organizing work has primarily focused on strategic efforts to strengthen the “conditions for learning” in public schools, particularly for communities for whom public schools have not served. This work has included practice and advocacy to promote the Full Service Community School strategy, early literacy campaigns, utilization of a Multi-tiered System of Supports design, integration of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into core instruction, promotion of School-Based Health Centers, as well as school climate initiatives to address trauma-sensitivity and mitigate disparities in discipline policies.
Harding was a Full Service Community Schools leader in Holyoke and served as the former director of social emotional learning for Holyoke Public Schools as well as the coordinator of the Holyoke Early Literacy Initiative. These roles provided opportunities to design integrated systems that wove together mental health, policy, program design and practice within the K-12 public school setting with a particular focus on equity and reducing the opportunity gap in Massachusetts.
Currently, Harding provides planning support, professional learning and technical assistance through the BRYT Network for schools across the country seeking to provide more effective reengagement programming for students returning to school after extended absence due to mental health. Harding’s work includes a focus on strengthening family partnership and collaboration within schools.
Harding is also one half of a consulting team that collaborates with communities, schools or organizations using group process to promote organizational change driven by racial justice.
A sample of key notes or conference presentations include National Center for School Mental Health, Harvard Law School’s Advocates for Education Conference, New England Regional School Based Health Center Conference, NASW-MA School Social Work Conference and the Northwestern District Attorney’s Safe and Healthy School Summit.
Harding received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Philosophy from Boston College and her M.S.W. from the Smith College School for Social Work.