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Sgorbati Named Director of CAPA

Bennington College President Mariko Silver recently announced that faculty member and alumna Susan Sgorbati ‘72, MFA ‘86 will serve as director of the Elizabeth Coleman Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA), effective July 1, 2015.

Image of Susan Sgorbati

A member of Bennington’s faculty for almost 30 years, Susan currently holds the Barbara and Lewis Jones Chair for Social Activism. Susan’s interests in complex systems and intractable problems have been at the center of her work with CAPA, where she has served as the curriculum coordinator since 2012.

"At CAPA, students learn how to turn their ideas into action,” said Silver. “Susan's extraordinary experience creating workable, on-the-ground solutions to complex problems, as well as her deep roots in the broader community and the partnerships she has created, will help ensure Bennington College students continue to tackle real world challenges in and beyond the classroom."

“In looking forward to the important mission of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College, I am excited and in awe of the possibilities,” said Sgorbati. “Faculty and students in the classroom have the enormous potential to contribute to the public good. With all of the current conflicts, inequities and problems that we are facing daily, on a local, national and global scale, we must all do our best to help solve them. It is imperative on us to get involved and learn what we can about how to work together to confront the serious issues of our times.”   

Over the past two years Sgorbati has led two major initiatives: one with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (New England Region); the other, the CAPA Leadership Institute, with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies working with young leaders from Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

Watch the video about the work with the EPA.

Sgorbati is a professional mediator and in 2001 established Bennington's conflict resolution program. In her dance and choreography she explores theories of self-organization, emergence, and complexity through emergent improvisation, forms she developed in conversation with Stuart Kauffman and Nobel laureate Gerald Edelman during a series of residencies at the Neurosciences Institute.

Susan is co-founder of Quantum Leap, a program that re-engages youth with their education through a multitude of initiatives with the Bennington County schools. In its 15 years, Quantum Leap has reconnected more than 2,000 students to school. For this work and more Susan received the first annual David G. Rahr Community Service Award from the Vermont Community Foundation.