Center for Youth and Communities

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    Susan Lanspery, PhD'89

    Susan Lanspery is a Scientist at the Center for Youth and Communities (CYC), part of Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management.  She has conducted evaluations, managed research and demonstration programs, and provided technical assistance for more than 25 years.  Her work during the last ten years has focused on college access and success for underrepresented young people and on positive youth development.  Through these efforts she has worked with administrators, teachers, and students in both K-12 schools and colleges and universities.  She is currently co-managing the evaluations of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Community College Transfer Initiative and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation's Project Compass initiative, and working on the evaluations of the Gates Foundation's Postsecondary Education initiative, the Partnership for College Completion initiative (a project of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the United Negro College Fund, and the Knowledge is Power Program Foundation), the EmployIndy Youth Employment Services program, and the Skillman Foundation’s Detroit Works for Kids initiative.  Recent projects include co-managing the evaluations of GE Foundation’s College Bound program (a college access initiative for vulnerable youth), the International Youth Foundation’s Make A Connection program (a life skills initiative for vulnerable youth in more than twenty nations), and the Building Supports for Positive Youth Development study with Health Resources in Action and the South End/Lower Roxbury Youth Workers' Alliance (a project emphasizing empowerment and leadership development for both youth workers and youth).  

    Prior to these projects, she managed the retrospective evaluation of the Rhode Island College Crusade (focused on college access); a retrospective study for the Annie E. Casey Foundation on the long-term dividends of comprehensive community initiatives; and the qualitative component of a national study for America’s Promise.  She has examined school-to-career programs for out-of-school youth; studied skill-building youth initiatives in community development credit unions; co-developed recommendations for a foundation about youth development policy; and co-developed a sourcebook on policy work for community-building organizations.  

    Many of these projects have included substantial amounts of technical assistance and capacity-building, often in the form of logic modeling, strategic planning, and evaluation planning.  She has conducted all her work in a way that aligns with CYC’s approach of working with program and evaluation partners to identify goals, conduct strategic planning, develop evaluation and other capacities, evaluate results, and apply these results to improve their work.  An important underpinning of this approach is developing positive, productive, mutually respectful, and trusting working relationships.

    Before joining CYC, from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, Dr. Lanspery was with the Heller School’s Policy Center on Aging, conducting research, producing reports, and providing technical assistance for national, state, and local organizations on linking services with all types of housing for older people and people with disabilities.  For much of this period, she was deputy director of two national programs funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  In that role, she was a managing intermediary responsible for technical assistance, capacity building, coordination, and communication.


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