In January 2019, a new face will be at the helm of the Morgridge Public Center for Public Service, the organization on campus charged with promoting civic engagement.
Earlise C. Ward will be taking over as director of the center after current head Kathy Cramer announced her departure in December to return to working as a full-time professor in the Department of Political Science. During the year-long gap between the two directors, Lisa Chambers has been working as interim director.
In 2002, Ward got her counseling psychology doctorate from UW-Madison. Her research focuses on African-American women’s beliefs about mental health and analyzes how their ideas may bar them from seeking out services.
“I am passionate about community-based research and civic engagement, both of which I have been doing for the past 15 years,” Ward said in a release. “I am excited about the opportunity to build on that experience and lead a fantastic team at the Morgridge Center for Public Service in connecting campus with the statewide community.”
Known for her scholarship on the rural-urban divide in Wisconsin, Cramer said she is taking on other research projects based on public opinion and civic engagement.
“It’s been great to see when I’m able to talk about my research and the deep divides in our society and the way politics are kind of exacerbating some of those things, that often times the Morgridge Center is a part of those conversations,” Cramer told the Morgridge Center in December. “People see that a unit like this is an antidote to all of that. It is a place where we engage people in activities that are about something bigger than themselves and are about the broader public good.”
The Morgridge Center gives grants to and leads service opportunities for groups such as Badger Volunteers, as well as works to coordinate the campus’ participation in the Big Ten Voting Challenge.