Headshot of Sylvia  Gale

Sylvia Gale

Executive Director, Bonner Center for Civic Engagement
  • Profile

    Dr. Sylvia Gale is the executive director of the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) at the University of Richmond. She joined the CCE in August 2009. She served on the National Advisory Board of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life from 2005-11, was the founding director of Imagining America’s Publicly Active Graduate Education Initiative (PAGE), and a founding co-chair of Imagining America's initiative on “Assessing the Practices of Public Scholarship,” which explores and advances assessment practices aligned with the values that drive community-engaged work.  In addition to this field-building work, Sylvia has contributed to state and local efforts to catalyze and deepen civic engagement. From 2013-2018, she served as Editor of the VA Engage Journal, an initiative launched in 2011 at the University of Virginia to provide a student forum for publishing community-engaged reflection and scholarship. She was also a founding member of the leadership team of RVA Engage, a collaboration of nonprofit, corporate, and educational sector community engagement professionals who aim “to cultivate a resilient, equitable and connected Richmond region where individuals and institutions work together intentionally to address community needs by leveraging human and economic resources.” 

    Since 2013, she has co-led a class and project which connects small groups of University of Richmond students and young people currently incarcerated in peer storytelling and life writing projects (some examples of co-created products emerging from that project can be found here). Before coming to the University of Richmond, Sylvia worked to extend liberal arts learning to diverse communities through the Humanities Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, where she received a PhD in English (concentration in Rhetoric and Composition) in 2008 and where she was the founding director of the Free Minds Project (now known as Free Minds Austin), which offers Austin-area adults who have faced barriers to education and who live on limited incomes with a chance to explore their intellectual potential via a free year-long college course in the humanities. Sylvia is committed to co-creating opportunities for transformative liberal arts learning far beyond traditional institutional boundaries, and has published on innovative assessment, engaged graduate education, and the power of institutional intermediaries to effect change.

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    • Community Service

      • Co-chair, Imagining America's Research Committee
      • Co-chair, "Assessing the Practices of Public Scholarship" research group
      • Member, Leadership Metro Richmond's education committee

  • Selected Publications
    Journal Articles

    “High-Impact Assessment.” Co-authored with Bryan Figura. Engage: A Publication of the Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation. Fall 2015.

    “Turning the PAGE: Ten Years of Leadership for Engaged Graduate Education.” Co-authored with Adam Bush. Diversity & Democracy: A Publication of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. 18.1: 2015, 26-27.

    “This Bridge Called My Job: Translating, Revaluing, and Leveraging Intermediary Administrative Work.” Co-authored with Miriam Bartha, Megan Carney, Elizabeth Goodhue, and Amy Howard. Public: A Journal of Imagining America. Fall 2014.

     “Another Kind of Giving.” Co-authored with Amy Howard, Style Weekly, Giving, Summer 2010.

    “Bridging the Gap: Emerging Scholars, Emerging Forms of Scholarship (On-line Edition).” Guest Editor, special issue. REFLECTIONS: A Journal of Writing, Community Literacy, and Service Learning. 7.3: 2008. http://www.reflectionsjournal.org/catalog/toc.html
    Book Chapters

    “Story Circles as Ongoing and Collaborative Evaluation: Roadside Theater’s ‘Story to Performance,’” Imagining America’s Case Studies and Research on Integrated Assessment, Imagining America, 2012. Web. 14 April 2014.

    “Arcs, Checklists, and Charts: The Trajectory of a Public Scholar?” Collaborative Futures: Critical Reflections on Publicly Active Graduate Education. Ed. Amanda Gilvin, Georgia M. Roberts, and Craig Martin. Syracuse: The Graduate School Press of Syracuse University, 2012. 315-327.