Dr. Suzanne Morse is president of Civic Change, Inc., the successor of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change. In the organization's almost 20-year history, her vision has made it a national leader in shaping the conversation on community success, civic leadership and civic engagement. From 2009-2011, she was Research Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. Her academic specialties are community and economic development at the neighborhood, community, and regional levels with a particular emphasis on strategies for being globally competitive. She has a special interest in the role that citizens can play in that success. In 1999 Whole Earth magazine wrote about the Pew Partnership: This is the can-do/we'll-show-you-how civic research organization of our dreams… The Pew [Partnership] deals in real, field-tested best practices, bridging the gap between theory and the real world…civic processes or inventions that will actually change the outcome in a community. What more is there?
Morse’s work as an author and researcher has focused on building stronger communities in mega regions and rural towns. Her latest book, Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future (Jossey-Bass, 2004) uses examples of successful civic change initiatives in the United States to argue for a strategic approach to sustainable, long-term community change. She is a regular keynote speaker nationally and internationally on topics ranging from the high school dropout crisis to community building to strategies for going global but staying local. Her articles and opinion pieces have appeared in national journals as well as leading newspapers and trade publications.
Currently she is a trustee and executive committee member of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, chair of the board of Piedmont Virginia Community College and a board member of LEAD Virginia and Smart Beginnings. She has had fellowships at the Center for Organizational & Technological Advancement (COTA) at Virginia Tech (2006-2009) and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (1991). In 2002 she received the Ethical Leadership Award from the Content of our Character Project at Duke University.