Engaged Scholars Program

The Engaged Scholars Program (ESP) supports students and faculty who seek to integrate teaching, research, and practice in order to advance scholarship and benefit the world beyond Brown.

Grounded in the concentrations, the program builds on Brown’s distinctive interdisciplinary culture by providing coherent curricular and advising structures that encourage students to place internships, collaborative research projects, and community-based work at the heart of their academic lives.

The Engaged Scholars Program is piloting in 2015-16 in five departments: Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Engineering, Theater Arts & Performance Studies, and Public Policy. Additional departments will join the program in Spring 2016.

In the news:

What is Engaged Scholarship?

“Engaged scholarship” refers to knowledge-creation by students and faculty in partnership with community members outside of the academy. Its goal is to create high-impact learning experiences and collaborative research partnerships that address major social challenges and produce tangible public benefits. Engaged scholarship is premised on the idea that reciprocal exchanges between academic and non-academic partners - in the classroom, on campus, in the community - create rich opportunities for learning and problem-solving that will advance scholarship and help to create a more just and equitable society.

Program Requirements

Students apply to the program as they are declaring their concentrations. 

  1. As part of foundational concentration requirements, students will be required to take courses (defined by their department) with engaged curricula.
  2. ESP students must undertake significant experiential work with community and other non-academic stakeholders via an “engaged practicum” – significant in both intensity (hours per week in meaningful, challenging work) and duration (number of weeks).
  3. ESP students are part of a community of undergraduate scholars from a variety of disciplines that meet regularly for workshops, lectures, programming and reflection. At the core of ESP programming is a required 0.5 credit interdisciplinary reflection seminar, taken in the student's junior year.
  4. ESP programming culminates with an academically-based engaged capstone project, completed within their concentration department.


For general inquiries about the Engaged Scholars Program, please contact  engaged-scholars@brown.edu.

For more information about ESP in the five pilot departments, please contact:

  • AnthropologySherine Hamdy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Social Science
  • Engineering - Kenneth Breuer, Professor of Engineering
  • Environmental StudiesKurt Teichert, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies
  • Public PolicyShankar Prasad, Associate Director for Academic Programs and Planning, Watson Institute for International Studies
  • Theater Arts and Performance StudiesFall 2015: Michelle Bach-Coulibaly, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; Spring 2016: Erik Ehn, Chair and Professor of Theater Arts and Performance Studies

Erik Erik Ehn, Department Chair of Theater Arts and Performance Studies and Engaged Scholars Program faculty, discusses his work with the Swearer Center.