The Center for Service and Learning’s new interim director shares her excitement over new position


As 2019 begins, the Center for Service and Learning (CSL) welcomes Suzann Lupton as interim director. Suzann is excited to take her first steps into the complex world of the center.

One of Suzann’s favorite parts of the center’s work is it’s “depth and breadth of partnerships with organizations like the Bonner Scholars program.” She believes that maintaining these relationships is vital, and she is impressed by the center’s ability to cultivate ties with the community. These ties form the backbone of the center’s work, and Suzann asserts that the staff’s ability to cultivate ongoing communication with these groups over long periods of time is excellent. “We have these historic links to organizations around the country that are engaged with community engagement and service learning for students.” Suzann hopes to assist in continuing to develop these important connections and engaging with community alongside the center’s staff.

“What tends to happen with nonprofit and third-sector organizations is that there is a life cycle that rotates through relationships. But I think the folks at CSL have been very good about thinking about what their continued value is in these relationships.”

As interim director, Suzann plans for her focus to center around creating value by increasing, deepening, and adding to the great work of the CSL’s staff. Following in the footsteps of the center’s founders, Robert Bringle and Julie Hatcher, Suzann wants to ensure that she is serving the center in the best way that she can. “CSL is such an important part of this campus, and it’s an institution with a national reputation for the quality of work that it has done.” She feels that her time working within the community as a lawyer, along with her studies of philanthropic work and community partnerships, will allow her to provide insight to the work done in the center.

The role of interim director will allow Suzann to be a facilitator through the process of envisioning its future, appreciating its values and ideologies, understanding what pieces of their work are succeeding, and examining what areas they may consider reorganizing or expanding. She wants to reinforce the work that the staff is already doing: “I appreciate that opportunity because I get to cheerlead, support, and encourage people, and I think that what will come out of that will be fabulous.”

Suzann says that the work of considering what comes next in the center has already begun, which is due to the excellent CSL staff. She remarks on their thoughtfulness toward their work and willingness to continually engage with opportunities for growth, not only for themselves but also for the community that they support. Suzann explains that the community “is such a really wide universe, and somehow the CSL folks seem to have mapped all the stars. They are spread wide, yet they all still come together and know and think about each other’s work.” She is excited to begin working with such an excellent group of professionals and to see what they can create together during her time as interim director.

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