For more than 50 years, Nancy K. Schlossberg, EdD has dedicated herself to helping others to grow and better themselves—as a distinguished educator and administrator in the field of counseling psychology for nearly four decades, the leader of a successful consulting firm, the author of 10 self-help books, and a renowned speaker, lecturer, and motivator.
Upon her retirement as a professor of counseling and personnel service within the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1996, after 22 years at the institution, Dr. Schlossberg was honored with the rank of Professor Emerita. Over the course of her teaching career, a major focus of hers has been life transitions and helping people cope with major changes, aiming to take “the mystery if not the misery out of change”; in her own transition from professor to retiree, she decided to turn the subject into her full-time role, serving as the co-president of TransitionWorks, a consulting firm, and president of the National Career Development Association. An author and co-author of books since the 1980s, she has written such works as “Counseling Adults in Transition,” “The Adult Years: Continuity and Change,” “Going to Plan B,” “Counseling Adults in Transition: Linking Schlossberg’s Theory with Practice in a Diverse World,” “Revitalizing Retirement: Reshaping Your Identity Relationships and Purpose,” and “Too Young to Be Old: Love, Lean, Work, and Play as You Age,” among others and several articles for publications. A book of hers published in 2003, “Retire Smart, Retire Happy: Finding Your True Path in Life,” was the focus of a 90-minute PBS Special, and another book, “Overwhelmed: Coping with Life’s Ups and Downs,” is a widely used book in educational settings. In 2023, she published a memoir titled “My Path: My Transitions,” in which she tells her own story and about the development of her transition theory, as well as articles she wrote for Better Living magazine. Dr. Schlossberg has been a frequent guest across several radio and TV programs over the years.
In addition, Dr. Schlossberg has shared her expertise through countless lectures, speaking engagements, and conferences around the world, and has run many workshops on such topics as handling transitions and change. On her website, “Transitions Through Life,” she offers a wide range of services to individuals and groups, including materials, conferences, and workshops on these subjects.
Earlier in her career, Dr. Schlossberg served as the director of the American Council on Education Office of Women in Higher Education from 1973 to 1974 and found success at Wayne State University as a professor of counseling and an associate professor between 1963 and 1973. In the midst of this experience, she also acted as assistant director of university counseling services at Howard University. Prior to these appointments, she garnered experience as the director of residence and student personnel research at Pratt Institute from 1961 and 1963 and previously launched her career as an administrative assistant at the Counseling and Guidance Training Institute at Columbia University from 1957 to 1960. On top of her primary roles throughout her career, she has served as the endowed chair of adult career development at the University of Minnesota, the co-director of a course for the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education, and even developed training materials for counselors for the U.S. Department of Health in the 1970s. She has also been affiliated with numerous civic organizations, such as the women’s Resource Center and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
As a testament to her accomplishes in her field, Dr. Schlossberg has earned such honors as the Eminent Career Award from the National Career Development Association and a Distinguished Alumna Award from the Teachers College at Columbia University. She was also named a Senior Scholar by the American College Personnel Association and as one of the “Women of Distinction for Outstanding Contribution to Literature or Research” by the National Association for Women Deans, Administrators & Counselors. Attributing her success to persistence, having a purpose, being a team player, and utilizing humor no matter the situation, she is motivated to continue speaking, writing, and helping others through her work, as well as spend plenty of time with her family—including two children and three grandchildren—and friends.