Dr. Charles F. Bonser first joined the faculty of the Indiana University School of Business in 1961 as a lecturer. Following a period of government service from 1963-65, he rejoined IU as an assistant professor and associate director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He was appointed associate dean of the IU School of Business in 1969, and promoted to full professor in 1971.
In the fall of 1971, Bonser was appointed as special assistant to the president of Indiana University. In this assignment, he prepared the plan for the new School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), and was appointed the first dean of the School in 1972. During Bonser's 17-year tenure as dean, SPEA developed into one of the largest and most highly rated public affairs schools in the United States.
Bonser received a Presidential Citation from the president of IU upon his retirement from the deanship of SPEA, and in July of 1988, he was appointed director for the Institute for Development Strategies, SPEA. In March of 1992, Bonser was also appointed Ameritech Professor of Economic Development, an endowed chair awarded by the Ameritech Foundation to IU. Bonser retired from full-time academic service in 1998, although he continues an active agenda with the University on a part-time basis. In July, 2002, Bonser was called back to serve as director of the Indiana University Graduate Program in Arts Administration , which became part of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs during the summer of 2002.
Bonser has held a variety of governmental and public service posts during his career. Among the most prominent are: director of the Indiana State Tax and Financing Policy Commission, director of the Intergovernmental Personnel Program for the State of Indiana, chairman of the Great Lakes Intergovernmental Personnel Council, and special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Otis Bowen.
He has been consultant/advisor to the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and the Offices of Governor and Lieutenant-Governor of the State of Indiana. His experience in consultation and advising extends to the international arena where he has worked with USAID and several foreign governments. In addition, he has initiated and directed educational programs in Venezuela, Egypt, Nigeria, Spain, France, The Netherlands, The United Arab Emirates, and Great Britain.
From May 2000 until 2012, Bonser served as chairman of the newly organized Transatlantic Policy Consortium, an association of over 30 U.S. and European Union University and government training programs focusing on public policy and public administration. The purpose of the consortium is to develop and facilitate cooperative education and research programs between participating European and American schools, institutes, and research centers.
Bonser has served extensively in several professional associations. He was president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration and vice-president of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration. He has received special awards for his public service, including two commendations from the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and special recognition through a joint resolution of the Indiana General Assembly. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and completed six years on its board of trustees in 1997. He has been a member of the board of trustees of NSF International, a public health standards developer and third party certifier, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, since 1984.