Joseph Krupczynski, associate professor of architecture, is the new director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning (CESL) following long-time director John Reiff’s retirement. The appointment is for a three-year term and was effective Sept. 1.
“We are so excited to have professor Krupczynski become the new director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning,” said Carol Barr, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education. “Joseph has long been engaged in important civic engagement and service learning activities, contributing to the important role a public university plays in the community and the teaching and learning experiences of our students.”
In his new role, Krupczynski will be responsible for the operation of CESL, which supports socially just university-community partnerships and provides ways for faculty and students to meaningfully collaborate with communities around UMass and beyond. CESL primarily supports faculty from every department in building reciprocal community engagement into their courses as a source of student learning.
Faculty members are selected annually to participate in a year-long Civic Engagement and Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program, where they design or re-design courses around community engagement. It 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, the Boltwood Project, and the certificate program in Civic Engagement and Public Service.
“It is an exciting time to be involved in civic engagement on a college campus, especially as social movements for human rights, racial justice and climate change play increasingly powerful roles in student lives and academic structures.” Krupczynski said. “I’m interested in how community partners can become co-creators of knowledge while also gaining the benefit of student/faculty participation in projects. As civic education and engaged learning today navigates a complex landscape between traditional service, governance and activism, preparing our students to productively participate in this new context – and providing guidance for our faculty involved in engaged teaching and research – are key goals for my work in CESL.”
Krupczynski’s creative work and scholarship promotes reciprocal community partnerships, and crafts participatory art/design platforms through installations, activism and research, especially in collaboration with underrepresented communities.
Awarded grants from HUD and NEA, his research practice ranges from public art projects to the development of civic engagement strategies in community settings. His recent work includes: the “Sustainable Knowledge Corridor / Civic Engagement Plan” in which he collaborated with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission to create a regional sustainability plan; “Arrivals,” a commissioned public art installation at a rail underpass in Holyoke that explores the many stories of arrival into the city of Holyoke (in collaboration with Caryn Brause); and “Holyoke Visible,” (in collaboration with Max Page) funded by a UMass president’s office Creative Economy grant, an event-based creative work highlighted by the “Holyoke Visible” trailer which is surfaced in 320 individual pieces contributed by Holyoke residents.
Krupczynski is also a founding director of the Center for Design Engagement, a non-profit design resource center located in Holyoke dedicated to bringing progressive architectural design, public art and civic engagement strategies to local communities.
Krupczynski joined the department of architecture as an assistant professor in 2002. A member of the Provost Committee for Service Learning since 2008, he served as its chair from 2011-2015.
He was awarded a Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship in 2015 for travel to Colombia and Ecuador to explore innovative social practices in Latin America architecture. He received the UMass Amherst Distinguished Outreach Teaching Award in 2011 for his design engagement studios that create opportunities for architecture students and community partners to work collaboratively on a design project. In 2008 he was awarded the Latino Scholarship Association’s Antonia Pantoja Award in recognition of his commitment to the Latino/a community in Western Massachusetts, and in 2007 received the “Faculty Making a Difference in the Community” award from the Five College Committee for Community-Based Learning.