Reiff Departs Civic Engagement and Service-Learning, Pader Named Interim Director

John Reiff and Ellen Pader
John Reiff and Ellen Pader

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 assumes her new duties on Jan. 19, was a Service-Learning Faculty Fellow in 1997-98 and taught service-learning courses for more than two decades, serving 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.”

Reiff became the first full-time director of service-learning in 2000. In his new post with the Department of Higher Education, Reiff will support public colleges and universities in working toward the Board of Higher Education’s goal of having every undergraduate 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 stakeholders at the University and in the communities around us.”

CESL is 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 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.

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 the summer. Joseph Krupczynski, associate professor of architecture, will step in as CESL director in September.