Why get involved?
Engaged pedagogy is a powerful method of teaching, learning and scholarship. Faculty choose community engagement as a pedagogy because it can enliven course content, present diverse perspectives, bring “theory to life” and demonstrate the application of disciplinary knowledge. We know that well constructed, engaged courses lead to better and more critical learning outcomes for students. The community experience facilitates the development of cognitive skills (problem solving, synthesis, interpretation, analysis), the development of reflective skills (recognizing context as critical to content) and disciplinary goals. Engaged pedagogy also created a space for the university to contribute value in reciprocal relationship with community partners to our community. Engagement can take many forms: not only direct service with a community-based organization, but also research, advocacy, writing, translating, organizing and other activities undertaken with the support of a community partner.
The Swearer Center provides $4000 course development grants to Brown faculty and instructors to develop new community-engaged courses or revise existing courses to include community engagement. Mini-grants of up to $500 are also available for expenses related to community-engaged learning activities in existing courses (e.g., guest speakers, class field trips, demonstration materials). Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, visit the course development grant page.
Beginning in fall 2018, community-based courses provide learning experiences that enrich the understanding of important social, civic and ethical issues; foster inquiry outside the classroom; enable knowledge creation in partnership with community agencies; and build skills and competencies valuable for life after Brown can be submitted for the new Community-Based Learning and Research (CBLR) course designation. For more information, visit the CBLR page.
Course Development Resources
- Engaged Faculty Institute Curriculum
- Sample Syllabi from Campus Compact
- University of California, Berkeley Faculty Toolkit: Designing Community-Based Courses
- AAC&U VALUE Rubrics - The VALUE Rubrics of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) can assist with the development of course objectives, assignment structures, and evaluation of learning outcomes. As AAC&U describes, they “were developed by teams of faculty experts representing colleges and universities across the United States through a process that examined many existing campus rubrics and related documents for each learning outcome and incorporated additional feedback from faculty. The rubrics articulate fundamental criteria for each learning outcome, with performance descriptors demonstrating progressively more sophisticated levels of attainment.”
- "The Measure of Service Learning: Research Scales to Assess Student Experiences" by Robert G. Bringle, Mindy A. Phillips, and Michael Hudson (APA, 2004) - This useful volume provides an extensive compilation of scales for use in studying students in service learning classes. The scales measure a variety of constructs, such as attitudes, moral development, and critical thinking. In addition, the text includes a primer on measurement theory.
- Civic-Minded Graduate scale and rubric – This widely used tool, developed by the Center for Service & Learning at IUPUI, identifies specific knowledge, skills and dispositions to describe how students develop civic-mindedness.