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Joy Charlton Named New Executive Director of Lang Center

Contact:  Alisa Giardinelli
April 10, 2007        

Joy Charlton Named New Executive Director of Lang Center

Joy Charlton, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of sociology, has been named the new executive director of the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, effective July 1.  Charlton will succeed Professor of Anthropology Jennie Keith, who will have completed five years as the Center's founding director when she retires from the College this summer.

Read more in The Phoenix.

"Joy has accepted the search committee's unanimous invitation, and we look forward to the continuing exceptional leadership she will provide," said President Alfred H. Bloom.

Charlton joined the Swarthmore faculty in 1981. She has taught courses on work and organizations, urban sociology, gender, research methods, as well as a recent first-year seminar, "Everyday Life." She also chaired the Department of Sociology and Anthropology for five years. Her research, primarily based on fieldwork and interviews, has included studies of clergywomen, congregations, office work, and military personnel. She earned a B.A. with Highest Distinction and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia and, as a Danforth Fellow, earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University. Charlton has served in editorial positions at four academic journals and has been elected to office in three professional organizations.

As associate dean for academic affairs for the past 10 years, Charlton served as a bridge between students and faculty and staff to help create an environment that supports the academic success of all students.

"I am very excited about this opportunity," Charlton said, "and look forward to bringing my perspectives as a sociologist, teacher, and dean, as well as my long-standing relationships with faculty, to the enterprise of educating students in service to the greater good, both with and in the broader community. I am deeply committed to the goals of the Lang Center."

The Lang Center's programs and resources support Swarthmore's commitment to helping students realize their fullest intellectual and personal potential, which includes a deep sense of ethical and social concern. The Center is also the College's organizational base for its membership in Project Pericles, a national organization of colleges and universities committed to the inclusion of education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of their educational programs.

The Center offers programs which strengthen the connection between academic excellence and social responsibility. "Swarthmore students have a passionate commitment to work for a more just and humane world," Keith said. "Our goal for the Center is to help them gain the skills, understanding, and experience they need to do that."

During its first five years, the Lang Center has become the portal for connection between the College and communities both nearby and abroad. It provides support and coordination for:

  • community-based learning and service in the curriculum;
  • partnerships with community organizations;
  • student volunteer service groups;
  • individual opportunities for service by students, faculty, and staff members;
  • Summer Social Action Awards, which support students in summer internships with non-profit organizations;
  • the Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change, which brings to Swarthmore individuals distinguished by their identification and engagement with social justice, civil liberties, human rights, and democracy;
  • the Swarthmore Foundation, which supports community service efforts of students, staff, and faculty members and summer internships;
  • the Lang Opportunity Scholars Program, which provides financial support, guidance, and mentoring for Swarthmore students to design and implement effective solutions to significant social problems; and
  • The Board of Mangers Project Pericles Fund, which offers support to groups of students to carry out social action projects of substantial scope for up to three years.

In Fall 2007, the Lang Center will move into a larger and more central campus location at 3-5 Whittier Place.

The center is named for Eugene M. Lang '38, the founder of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation, Project Pericles, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Lang has a long history of philanthropic involvement with Swarthmore. His gifts to the College include the Lang Music Building, the Eugene and Theresa Lang Performing Arts Center, endowed professorships, support for faculty research and financial aid, and the Lang Opportunity Scholars Program.


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