Introducing: Dr. Deniz Zeynep Leuenberger
News & Events
When Dr. Deniz Zeynep Leuenberger arrived at Bridgewater State as a faculty member in the political science department a decade ago, she had a good feeling about the place.
“I knew that this was going to be my home, because of the work done on behalf of social justice,” she said.
Dr. Leuenberger spent that first decade in the classroom, and took on other roles as well: coordinator of the Master of Public Administration program, faculty director of BSU’s Institute for Policy Analysis and Regional Engagement and the Massachusetts Certified Public Managers Program; coordinator of the Center for Sustainability; program director of the Global Education and Leadership Program in the Center for Legislative Studies; coordinator for the Center for Sustainability; and coordinator of the Political Science Internship Program.
President Frederick W. Clark Jr., cited all this experience when he appointed Dr. Leuenberger as his chief of staff. He also praised her record of achievement.
“Through each of her current leadership positions, she has consistently demonstrated an intense focus on student success; an unwavering commitment to academic excellence; a prolific ability to deliver value-added research benefitting regional municipalities and organizations; and a high standard of personal integrity,” he said.
Dr. Leuenberger holds a bachelor’s degree from Midland University and received her MPA and PhD degrees from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. A public administrator by training, with experience working in the health and human services sector, Dr. Leuenberger is well positioned for her new role. She’d worked on more than 100 strategic plans, primarily helping health and human service agencies solve infrastructure-related issues, and she’s worked with young people throughout her career.
My favorite age group to work with is actually college students,” she said. “They bring all the strengths and all the values they already come with but then there’s this blossoming that takes place when they come up against new ideas and new people, and it’s really fun to watch that growth and to see that change.”
Dr. Leuenberger’s new position has three areas of focus. The most important is the development of a strategic plan. To that end, she and President Clark are conducting listening tours across campus with all staff and faculty, as well as with select students in a more focus-group approach.
“Our goal is to talk to everyone,” she said. “It allows us to have a little more insight into what specific issues individual units are having and to be proactive.”
Resource planning is a large part of this exercise, she added.
The other areas of her job include ensuring the smooth day-to-day operations of the university and facilitating the work done by the Board of Trustees.
The challenges are large, but it’s more than just a job, Dr. Leuenberger said. It’s personal.
“The vision that Fred has and our community has is really inspiring,” she said. “Working at Bridgewater and having the opportunity to do this job here is what’s really important to me. It’s my community, I consider it my home.” (Story and photo by John Winters, G ’11)