The Center for Community and Civic Engagement announced that Matthew Ascah will be its director beginning August 1, 2014. Ascah will be taking over for longtime director Nancy Valkenberg.
The selection came after work done by a search committee made up of faculty, staff and students. “Dr. Elizabeth Coyle chaired that committee and recommended that the College appoint Ascah from a pool of strong candidates,” Provost and Senior Vice President Susan Traverso said. “I supported their recommendation.”
Three candidates, including Ascah, were brought to campus as finalists for the position. “Ascah was selected from a talented pool of candidates based on his experience and leadership in community-based learning and social justice programming in curricular and co-curricular contexts,” Coyle said. “The search committee members were impressed with Ascah’s emphasis on creating sustainable campus and community partnerships and a comprehensive assessment framework.”
“Ascah brings strong experience leading community-based learning programs,” Traverso said. “As Etown looks to engage a larger number of students in community-based learning, service and research, Ascah’s experience will be crucially important. I am pleased that he decided to accept the appointment as director of CCCE.”
According to Ascah, he is excited about working with everyone associated with the CCCE. “The Center has facilitated great work over the years, and I’m looking forward to continuing those initiatives while deepening our conversations about the structure and meaning of service in contemporary society,” he said.
Ascah is a Pennsylvania native and graduated from the Schreyer Honors College of the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) with a bachelor’s degree in music. At PSU, Ascah facilitated and participated in service-learning projects focused on conflict resolution in Ireland and Norway. He went on to earn a graduate degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, teaching service-learning courses in cultural theory and critical media studies.