2022 Howard R. Swearer Engaged Faculty Awards for Research and Teaching

April 8, 2022

This year’s recipients represent a snapshot of the engaged scholarship produced by faculty at Brown. This scholarship comes from multiple disciplines, employing various methodologies to co-create knowledge on numerous subjects of value to a range of both local and international communities.

​Howard R. Swearer Engaged Faculty Award for Research
Dr. Kevin Escudero, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies
Community Partner: Guam Museum

Dr. Escudero has previously been spotlighted by the Swearer Center for his work with immigrant activists. One of his new research projects has brought him to collaborations with multiple partners in Guam. Dr. Escudero’s latest research continues to be relevant not only to academic audiences but also, “activists, attorneys, educators, and policy makers,” as Dr. Keith Camacho, Professor and Vice Chair of Asian American Studies at UCLA, points out in his nomination letter. He continues, “This is an important topic that would greatly benefit the historical, legal, and political scholarship on U.S. extra-juridical power in the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, North Africa, and elsewhere.” 

The selection committee was impressed by several facets of Dr. Escudero’s scholarship including the range of materials and events created in partnership with the community. “Dr. Escudero,” Dr. Camacho explains, “has been engaging artists, policy makers, and teachers in an effort to create digital K-12 curricula and museum exhibits about decolonization in Guam.” These products were co-created to prioritize community partner needs. Rita Nauta, Guampedia Managing Director, characterizes the partnership as, “a highly collaborative experience and one that aligns closely with Guampedia’s mission of providing engaging, publicly accessible, and relevant information about our island and its people to members of the local and broader communities.” Dominica Tolentino, the first Executive Director of the Guam Museum offers about Dr. Escudero, “he always approached conversations about potential outcomes in terms of what would be of interest and beneficial to community members.” On the potential impact of the award for his community partner, she continues, “​​The Swearer Center Engaged Faculty Award for Research would recognize Dr. Escudero’s time in leading the development of the exhibition but also the work of the multiple community partners and collaborators with whom be built relationships to ensure its relevance and maximize its impact for our community members.”

Finally, committee members also lauded Dr. Escudero’s mentorship of graduate researchers as evidence of the generational impact of engaged scholarship. Tolentino aptly describes this potential, “Like Dr. Escudero, I believe this exhibition will have a positive and lasting effect on our community, not only because of its content but the potential it presents for the development of other projects, such as an online virtual version of the exhibition, educational programming, lecture series, further academic research, and the production of lesson plans and Chamoru language resources. Mostly, it will encourage our people to reimagine a future of exciting possibilities.”

Nine teachers who participated in the educator workshop at the Guam Museum in front of the entrance to the museum’s permanent exhibition (July 2021).
Photo by Kevin Escudero

Howard R. Swearer Engaged Faculty Award for Teaching
Dr. Irene Glasser, Adjunct Lecturer in Anthropology
Community Partner: Amos House

Dr. Glasser has been teaching community-engaged courses at Brown since the fall of 2013. A scholar and longtime community advocate, she brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and relationships to her two classes, “Anthropology of Addictions and Recovery” and “Anthropology of Homelessness.” The two Community-Based Learning and Research courses create high-impact learning experiences for students, Dr. Glasser reflects, “Many students over the years have told me that leaving campus each week and engaging in a meaningful way with the mentors within these community partner organizations is one of the highlights of their Brown University education.” In his supporting letter, Dr. Daniel Smith, Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr. Professor of International Studies and former Chair of Anthropology, offers, “Irene’s students grapple with the nexus of academic inquiry and practices of public service to a degree that is rare, even at Brown.” On the importance of her teaching to student in Anthropology, he adds, “It is no exaggeration to say that the engaged scholars track in our department would not have been viable without Irene’s contributions.”

Dr. Glasser’s teaching aims, as she writes, “[to] help students prepare for a life of engagement and action in their own communities.” Students in her courses learn from her deep commitment to engaged pedagogy. Dr. Smith reports, “Students consistently praised the level of hands-on engagement incorporated into her courses, as well as Irene’s committed and caring pedagogy.” Eileen Hayes, Executive Director of Amos House, adds, “Professor Glasser is a dedicated, relevant educator. Her students adore her and the community organizations that work with her respect her expertise, her commitment and her relationships.”

It is these relationships within the community which Dr. Glasser employs in service of her classes and students, as Dr. Smith writes, “Irene negotiates each placement opportunity herself. It is her reputation in this community that enables such cooperation and she works incredibly hard to make sure her students understand the responsibilities that come with these placements.” The selection committee appreciated learning more about the collaborative approach of Dr. Glasser’s pedagogy in this work, as Hayes states, “The students have been engaged, professional, and thorough in the tasks assigned to them. Professor Glasser provided them with the background and support they needed to excel in their internships. She has been open to suggestions about possible projects and interacts well with the staff directly responsible for the onsite supervision of the students… Our staff has been treated with respect for their time as well as their expertise.” Because of their community-engaged educational experiences through Dr. Glasser’s teaching, many of her students continue on to work in fields such as public health and public policy. On Dr. Glasser’s impact Dr. Smith summarizes, “Irene is a truly remarkable teacher whose courses embody the very best of engaged teaching and learning at Brown.”

Left to right: Lauren Galvan, Dr. Irene Glasser, and Ganaelle Joseph-Senatus


Read more about past recipients of the Engaged Faculty Awards here: 2019 recipients, 2020 recipients, and 2021 recipients.