Susan Ambler has been teaching at Maryville College since 1990. Her focus has been on teaching Social Problems, Population, Sociology of Appalachian Culture, and Social Sciences Research Methods. She also teaches "Inequality" as a topic for the core interdisciplinary social science course. Dr. Ambler uses experiential learning tools such as service learning and community based research in her courses, because of her belief in the importance of learning to apply knowledge from disciplines such as sociology to the problems of society. Also, students and faculty have much to learn from community people working daily with those problems.

In 2000 Dr. Ambler co-founded a regional organization named Just Connections, an organization composed of people working in community groups as well as small colleges in the Appalachian region. Their purpose is to collaborate in developing resources to improve their relationships, their work in their communities, and the region as a whole. Dr. Ambler has served on their board, written and administered grants, and worked to obtain their 501C3. Because of her work with Just Connections, she was appointed to serve on the American Sociological Association's Task Force on Institutionalizing Public Sociology from 2004-2008. This Task Force was charged with making the argument that applied and public sociology is a vital part of the profession that is important to sociology's future and to society as a whole. As an outcome of the Task Force, Dr. Ambler participated in writing a chapter called "Career Guide for Public Sociologists," in Public Sociology: Research, Action, and Change.