University of Wisconsin announced in a press release Thursday Earlise Ward will become the next director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service in January 2019.

Ward, an associate professor in the School of Nursing who received her doctorate in counseling from UW, will replace the past director, Kathy Cramer. Cramer stepped down and returned to a full-time position as a political science professor, with Lisa Chambers filling her position in the interim.

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As director, Ward will be responsible for ensuring the center continues to build community-based teaching and learning while also strengthening community-university partnerships, according to the announcement.

Ward looks forward to the opportunity to serve in this new role.

“I am passionate about community-based research and civic engagement, both of which I have been doing for the past 15 years,” Ward said. “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.”

According to the release, Ward has extensive experience in a variety of service areas, including healthcare, social justice, advocacy and inclusion.

In 2015, she was honored with UW’s Outstanding Women of Color award, and last June she received a grant to partner on a project devoted to faith-based depression treatment including members of the African American community.

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Diana Hess, Dean of the School of Education, expressed enthusiastic approval of Ward’s appointment to Morgridge Center Director.

“Earlise has just the right combination of knowledge, skills and commitments to lead the Morgridge Center for Public Service,” Hess said. “As a scholar and community leader, Earlise has done exemplary work that has made a powerful difference on campus, throughout Madison and beyond. She will bring extraordinary energy to the faculty director role. I am looking forward to working with her.”