As Professor Sheldon (Shep) White approached retirement from his position as William James Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, his colleagues and students began organizing an event in his honor. Barbara Rogoff and Alex Siegel were especially active in pursuing this idea. When I approached Shep for his input, he stated clearly that he did not want a traditional festschrift. Rather, he preferred to co-organize a lively, substantive conference and to co-edit an accompanying book that would concentrate on the three main foci of his life work: research, history, and policy in developmental psychology, and especially their intersections. The conference, titled Developmental Psychology and the Social Changes of Our Time, was held at Wellesley College, June 20–22, 2002. We adopted the more personal title, “Three Faces of Shep Conference,” because Shep has represented and promoted each and all of these faces – research, history, policy – throughout his career. Connections between the three faces of his work provide the foundation for a new way of thinking about developmental psychology and the lives of children. Contributors were asked to write chapters that addressed the intersection of at least two of the three faces.
In addition to the chapter authors, conference participants included Alex Siegel, Edward Zigler, Emily Cahan, Jack Shonkoff, Tami Katzir, Robert Lawler, Julia Hough, Ruby Takanishi, and Bob Granger. Conference assistants Susan Camuti and Kate Collins were invaluable to this project.