UMass CESL promotes learning for life-long, engaged citizenship, partnering with communities on and off campus to work collectively for a more just society.

Interim Director Appointed to CESL

Ellen Pader, associate professor in regional planning, has been named interim director of the office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning (CESL), replacing John Reiff, who is joining the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education as director of civic learning and engagement. Pader, who was a Service-Learning Faculty Fellow in 1997-1998, has been teaching service-learning courses for over two decades and has served on the Provost’s Committee on Service-Learning for most of that time.  For the past three years she has co-directed the Faculty Fellows Program. 

“CESL has continuously nourished me and I’m pleased to be able to give something back," said Pader.  "It has transformed my teaching, commitment, and approach to community engaged research.  I look forward to becoming more deeply involved with staff, faculty, administrators, students and community partners to build upon the gift John is leaving for all of us at UMass and for all in the communities and organizations with which we work.”

Pader replaces John Reiff, who came to UMass as the first full-time director of service-learning in the summer of 2000.  Reiff is leaving CESL to work for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education as Director of Civic Learning and Engagement, supporting Massachusetts public colleges and universities in working toward the Board of Higher Education’s goal for every undergraduate to be involved in learning the knowledge, skills, and values needed for effective participation in civic life. 

“UMass Amherst is a leader in civic learning for the Commonwealth and, indeed, across the nation,” says Reiff.  “I am grateful for the opportunity to have shared this work over the past 15 years with so many creative and committed stake-holders at the University and in the communities around us.”

CESL is an office under the Provost, supporting faculty from every department in building community engagement placements and projects into their courses as a source of student learning and a way to make meaningful contributions to communities around UMass and beyond.  Faculty members are selected each year to participate in a year-long Civic Engagement and Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program, where they design or re-design courses around community engagement.

CESL also runs several service-learning programs directly, including the two-year Citizen Scholars Program, the IMPACT! first-year Residential Academic Program, Mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, and the 46-year-old Boltwood Project.

Pader’s interim appointment will run through Summer, 2016; Joseph Krupczynski, Associate Professor of Architecture, will step in as CESL director in September, 2016.