CCELL to Welcome New Director in January

Sarah Becker12/06/2018
BATON ROUGE – The Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership, or CCELL, is proud to announce and welcome Sarah Becker as the center’s new director. Becker, an associate professor of sociology & women’s and gender studies, will be responsible for providing leadership for a service-learning program that involves more than 3,000 students and 100 courses each year. Her tenure will be effective Jan. 2, 2019.

“With the support of community partners, faculty, staff, and students at LSU, CCELL directors Jan Shoemaker and Marybeth Lima earned the university a reputation for excellence in the field of service-learning and engaged scholarship,” Becker said. “Stepping into this position with CCELL is the greatest honor of my career to date – one I credit to Jan and Marybeth’s mentorship and to the support from my community partners and students.”

Becker joined the LSU faculty in 2008 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2016. She has taught service-learning courses such as Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies; Feminist Theory and Drugs & Society. She has been a leading voice in gender and inequality scholarship, criminology and ethnography. Her scholarly work has appeared in journals such as Women’s Studies International Forum; Teaching Sociology; Race and Justice; and The Journal of Contemporary Ethnography and Feminist Criminology. For her effective integration of research, teaching and service, Becker has earned several awards, including the “Power of 9” Volunteer Award (2016), Outstanding Service Learning Faculty Award (2015) and LSU Flagship Faculty (2012).

“I am so excited that Dr. Becker will serve as CCELL’s next director,” said outgoing director of CCELL Marybeth Lima. “Sarah has long-term experience with community-university partnerships and has a distinguished record of engaged scholarship. I am confident that with her leadership, LSU will continue to be a good citizen in working with communities to address critical needs.”

Becker’s long-standing commitment to the broader Baton Rouge community spans nearly a decade. Since 2011, she has served as co-founder and volunteer coordinator for the Baton Rouge Garden Alliance, a networking umbrella organization that helps independent gardens in the Baton Rouge area share ideas and resources. Becker has also served as board president to Front Yard Bikes, a service-learning community partner organization that offers local youth a free, safe after-school program where they learn how to fix and maintain bikes while also developing skills in mathematics, physics and mechanics.

“Working with community partners, students, and colleagues engaged in service-learning and scholarship has given my career at LSU greater meaning and has enhanced my quality of life overall,” Becker said. “I look forward to being part of the team that makes these experiences possible for faculty and staff, continuing to grow the center and its Engaged Citizen program, nurturing our existing community connections, and creating new ones.”

Becker’s extensive background in research, teaching and service will enable her to fulfill key responsibilities as director, including:  providing leadership to develop and support policies that enhance mutually beneficial partnerships among faculty, students, and community partners; recruiting, supporting, and providing resources for faculty, students, and community members committed to the values of civic engagement; identifying and publicizing exemplary models of service-learning and community engagement occurring within the LSU community; and overseeing CCELL staff, among other job duties.

“Professor Becker is an outstanding scholar of engaged learning who is well-suited to continue the tradition of strong faculty leadership that CCELL has enjoyed over the years,” said vice provost for academic programs and support services, Matt Lee, vice provost for academic programs and support services. “Charged with expanding participation in service-learning courses and continuing to promote high-quality and impactful learning experiences, Dr. Becker will work with faculty and students to further promote LSU as an institution where civically engaged learners prepare to become the next generation of leaders.”

CCELL fosters the scholarship of community engagement by integrating teaching, research, and service that emphasize civic responsibility and social accountability. For more information about service-learning at LSU, visit CCELL’s website at or contact CCELL Coordinator Taylor Armer at 225-578-9264.   




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Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations