ANN WITHORN    Ann's Profile-002Professor of Social Policy Emeritus

Live my life

Primary Employment

1977–2013  College of Public and Community Service, University of Massachusetts/Boston: Professor of Social Policy (1977-2013), Faculty Coordinator of Experiential Learning (1998-2013); Core-Affiliated Faculty, UMB Public Policy PhD Program(1992-2013), Acting Dean(1993/94); Director of Masters Program in Human Services(1988- 1997); taught social policy, higher education policy, social history, social movements and social issues, Distinguished Teacher Award(1993-1995)

1973-77   Florence Heller School,  Brandeis University, Waltham Mass: Instructor. and Co-Research Project Director

1971-73   Communities United, Newton., Mass:   Social Service Director, Head Start; Education Director, Neighborhood Youth Corps


1978 Ph.D., Florence Heller School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare, Dissertation (June 1977), “To Serve the People: An Inquiry into the Success of Service Delivery as a Social Movement Strategy”

1970  M.A. American History, Harvard University

1968 B.A., Florida State University, History/Politics

 Publications: Books

lost ground

  1. Lost Ground: Facing the Consequences of Welfare Reform, co-edited with Randy Albelda, (South End Press, Boston MA)


1996 For Crying Out Loud: Womenʼs Poverty in the United States, co-edited with Diane Dujon, South End Press, Boston, MA. 80% new material, 20% revised from 1986 book.


1986 For Crying Out Loud: Women and Poverty in the United States, co-edited with Rochelle Lefkowitz, (Pilgrim Press, l986).

serving the people

1984 Serving the People: Social Services and Social Change (New York: Columbia University Press, l984)

1982 The Circle Game: Human Services in Massachusetts 1966-1978 (Amherst, Mass: Univ of Massachusetts Press).

Current work In Progress:

  • Who Did We Think We Were? Radical Higher Education and the Neoliberal Imperative
  • Radical ReEntry:  Reminding Myself Not to Forget What Matters,  (an anthology and partial memoir of past published and unpublished writing, much of which is posted on this website)

Selected Chapters, Articles and Unpublished Research Studies


2006 “Facing the Obligations of our Knowledge: Lessons from the United Methodist Women and Womenʼs Research on Poverty,”  with Diane Dujon, unpublished funded study for US Organization of United Methodist Women, New York

2006 “Looking Up the Slippery Slope,” lead article, Beyond Welfare Reform,  Keith Keilty et al, editors, Sage.

2002 Changing Communities Changing Lives, an Oral History of ABCD, Robert C Hayden and Ann Withorn, oral history, published and distributed by Action for Boston Community Development

2002 “Let’s Pretend:  Still Worrying about Welfare Reform — Final Report,” a Kellogg Foundation funded study of 42 agencies across the country. Author and Principal Investigator, with Kathleen Pannhorst, distributed via the ABCD website,

1999 “Worrying about Welfare Reform: Community Based Agencies Respond,” Final Report, a Kellogg Foundation funded study of 42 agencies across the country. Primary author and Principal Investigator, distributed via ABCD website.

1999 “Survivors of the System,” with Vicky Steinitz, analysis of a community class on poverty organizing conducted in Roxbury MA, Womenʼs Review of Books, vol XVI, No 5, Feb.

1999 “Playing by the Rules: Welfare Reform and the New Authoritarian State,” with Mimi Abramovitz, Without Justice for All: the New Liberalism and our Retreat from Racial Equality, Adolph Reed, ed., Westview Press.

1999 “Not for Lack of Trying: The Fight Against Welfare Reform in Massachusetts,” Occasional Paper, Center for Women in Politics, University of Massachusetts/Boston

1998 “Fulfilling Fears and Fantasies: the Role of Welfare in Rightwing Social Thought and Strategy” Amy Ansell, ed, ReReading the Right, Westview Press.

1998 “No Win: Facing the Ethical Dilemmas of Welfare Reform,” Families in Society, vol 79/No 3, May/June.

1998 “Poor Timing: An Analysis of Massachusetts Time Limits” with Randy Albelda, unpublished monograph, Academics Working Group on Poverty, Boston

1996 “Social Politics” a monthly column on the politics of the Massachusetts Welfare State, Otherwise, April–October 1996 (when the magazine folded).

1996 “Welfare and Work”, essay review, Womenʼs Review of Books, March

1996 “Women, Welfare and the Academy,” Introductory essay, Special Issue, Women’s Review of Books, February, 1996.

Information on publications before 1996, or in more occasional publications, available on request

 Selected Speaking/Consulting

2016, August, New York City, speaker that the Downtown Poverty Center, with Diane Pagen, about “What’s Happened to Welfare Reform”, and “The Possibilities of Basic Income as part of a New Poor People’s Campaign.”

2016, July, Buffalo NY, Panel at New Economy Conference, the with Liane Gale, about  the “Care Economy and Basic Income.”

2016, May, North American Basic Income Congress, Winnipeg, CA. planner, speaker, and panel organizer, special focus on Basic Income as Welfare for All +, and on bringing women and women’s voices to the fore in the Basic Income Movement.

2015 Sept, IIPPE conference, Leeds UK, “Finding Solidarity Within Precarity– Lessons from the US Welfare Rights Movement and the Universal Basic Income Movement

2015, August, Summer Institute, Center for Popular Economics, Northampton MA, “What is Basic Income, and What Does it Mean for Anti-Poverty Activism?”

2015, July, Elsah, Illinois, International Consortium for Experiential Learning ,“Maybe we aren’t paranoid;  Maybe they are out to get us: Lessons from 40+ years to trying to achieve legitimacy for experiential learning within academia”

2015, February, NY, NY, North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress, “Linking the Struggles: Basic Income, Welfare Rights and Economic Justice

2014, July, Montreal, CAN, North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress, organized and spoke at a panel on the Precariat and Basic Income

2013, November, Cambridge MA, Boston Ethical Society, “Welfare Rights ARE a Big Deal”, with Diane Dujon.

2013, July, Den Hague, IIPPE conference, “Risking Regret:  How Low Income Women Made Meaning Out of their Activism.”

2011 “Living and Teaching as a Radical: Lessons from the Life and Writing of Bertha Capen Reynolds,” Smith School of Social Work, Distinguished Lecture,

2011 “Practicing Radical Education,”,  speaker, Social Welfare Action Alliance, Washington DC, June.

2010 “NeoLiberalism and Higher Education,” speaker, Northeastern Public Policy Association Conference, Providence RI. June.

2009 “Social Policy and Poverty in the US,” speaker, Tufts Public Policy Masters Program, Nov.

2008 “Opening Pandoraʼs Box: The Intended and Unintended Consequences of Promoting Experiential Learning,” major speaker, pre-conference workshop leader: “Learning from Experiential Learning,” International Consortium for Experiential Learning, Sydney, Australia.

2007 “Justice, Womenʼs Poverty and the Consequences of Welfare Reform”,  New England Association for Justice Studies Conference, Newport, RI, June.

2004 “Welfare, Workfare and Womenʼs Lives,” speaker/training leader, American University, Berlin.

2002 Keynote speaker, “Keeping the Recognition of Experiential Learning Alive in Reactionary Times,” and “Experiential Learning and Social Activism,” workshop leader, International Consortium for Experiential Learning, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

2002 “Lessons from Worrying about Welfare Reform,” Keynote Speaker, NASW conference, New York.

1999.  Conference planner, workshop leader, facilitator at plenary session of the “Get Up, Stand Up: Forging Alliances for Economic Justice,” Northampton MA.

1999 Consultant/Trainer: “Social Justice and Social Work,” University of

1999 “The One Thing We Did Right was the Day We Started to Fight:
 Learning from the Welfare Rights Movement,”  speaker, Holy Cross College,.

1999 “Imagining a Better Way,” featured speaker, Rochester Interfaith Action Conference, May.

1998 “Women and Welfare Reform in the US: Lessons for Europeans,” seminar discussion leader, Center for Gender Studies, Prague, Czech Republic,

 1998  “Acting against Poverty” Co-leader, interactive workshop on poverty organizing, Women Religious Leadership Group, Worcester, 1998

  Selected Activism, Professional And Community Service

2014 — present,  Conference Planning Committees, North American Basic Income Group

2015 – present, Co-Convenor, Massachusetts Basic Income;–with major role to create alliance with Survival News;  Co-Founder (with Liane Gale), Basic Income Woman Action Group (BIWAG).

1996-2004, Founding member and Steering Committee Member, Working Massachusetts: An Alliance for the Welfare of All Working People

1995-2001, Founding member and Co-Convener, with Randy Albelda, Massachusetts Academics Working Group on Poverty

1996-97 Member of the Mayor’s Taskforce on Welfare Reform, Boston Nov-June, 1997

1997–99 Steering Committee Member, Business and Welfare Reform Roundtable, including. co- writing position paper, “Letʼs Get Real: Business and Welfare Reform”

Advisory Board, Catalyst, A Socialist Journal of Human Services, now The Journal of Progressive Human Services, until 2003; also The Journal of Poverty;

Founding Steering Committee member, Bertha Capen Renolds Society for Radical Social Welfare, since 1989, evolved into the Social Welfare Action Alliance (SWAA), continued sporadic involvement, renewed participation as of 2015.

Editorial Board member, Radical America magazine, 1976-1992 coordinator of the “From the Movements” section;