Director's Note

Nov. 27, 2017

Swearer Center Community,

We live in a rapidly changing world, full of new and long-standing, but newly urgent, challenges. The co-creation of knowledge, the joining of forces between practitioner and academic in civic problem solving, may be our best hope.

How can we begin to respond to these challenges? What civic responsibility do we have as scholars, students, and community members to tackle these problems? How do we build the democratic practices, between scholars and practitioners, and among all community members, that we will be needed to navigate this world? What relevance does higher education have in this age? The stakes are high and the status quo is not acceptable — for the individuals and places affected by these issues, and for higher education as a field, if we do not engage.

Higher education has a vital role to play by facilitating student, faculty, and community learning about the necessity of diversity, inclusion, collaboration, and democratic practice for solving our most urgent problems. By combining rigorous scholarship with impact-focused community engagement, universities can advance both student development goals and their own civic and institutional contributions to the world. Through community-engaged scholarship, the Swearer Center seeks to address these complex social challenges locally and globally with partnerships between faculty, students, and stakeholders outside of the academy.

As community-engaged scholars, students and faculty bring their knowledge and expertise to bear on real-world problems and do so in collaboration with community practitioners who contribute their own forms of knowledge and wisdom to that inquiry. At Brown, the Swearer Center is the hub of this collaborative work. As we stand on the threshold of a new era, we are poised to move toward transformative impact, and affect a culture shift that establishes Brown as an educational leader nationally and globally in the field of community-engaged scholarship. To these ends, this strategic plan, developed through close consultation and the invaluable assistance of a wide variety of our constituents and stakeholders, reflects an ambitious agenda for the Swearer Center and community-engaged scholarship at Brown.

We’re ready to leap into a new era, and hope you’ll join us for the exciting journey ahead.


Mathew Johnson
Executive Director of the Swearer Center
Associate Dean of the College for Engaged Scholarship