Community Engaged Courses

The Swearer Center supports the development of community-engaged courses at Brown through CBLR Course Mini-Grants. Faculty should see UFunds to apply.

Community-engaged courses at Brown:

  • investigate significant, real-world social challenges;
  • involve collaborative inquiry and the co-creation of knowledge with community stakeholders; and
  • Provide students with structured ways of reflecting on the connections between classroom learning and real-world experience, with the goal of developing concepts of personal and social responsibility.

Community-engaged courses can be developed at multiple levels:

  • Introductory courses that allow students to develop systemic analyses of societal problems or community challenge(s).
  • Methods courses that initiate students into the theory and practice of disciplinary research methods appropriate to understanding and analyzing societal problems and community challenges.
  • Topical courses that investigate issues more deeply than introductory level courses. Ideally they are designed to build on introductory and methods courses and involve longer-term community partnerships with departments and/or faculty members.
  • Capstone courses (for seniors) feature advanced investigations of particular community/social issues in collaboration with partner organizations.

Community-engaged learning objectives may include:

  • Contextual: Increased knowledge of specific places and communities (local or global); history and root causes of specific societal problems and community challenges
  • Cognitive: Improvement of analytical skills; capacities for critical thinking and reflection; capacities for interdisciplinary and integrative inquiry
  • Attitudinal/Behavioral: Increased empathy, intercultural competency, collaborative capacity, leadership skills; increased capacity for civic engagement, advocacy, social innovation

Community-engaged course components may include:

  • Case studies investigating local communities, organizations, or challenges
  • Guest speakers or panels representing relevant practitioner and/or community perspectives
  • Site visits to organizations, neighborhoods, projects, exhibits, etc.
  • Community-focused investigations by students, involving field assignments or other experiential learning opportunities
  • Team-based research projects developed in partnership with community organizations
  • Reflective practices aimed at exploring students’ positionality and agency in community and drawing connections between classroom work and community context

Read about our recent awardees and this Brown Daily Herald article on Prof. Glassers "Anthropology of Homlessness" course.