Faculty committed to -- or interested in learning more about -- engaged teaching and research can access a community of colleagues, financial support, recognition, professional development opportunities, information about publishing outlets and leadership opportunities and other resources through the Swearer Center. Engaged scholarship advances Brown University's mission "to serve the community, the nation and the world by discovering, communicating and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation." Engaged scholarship draws on multiple sources of knowledge, connecting faculty, students and community members to create high-impact learning experiences and research partnerships that address major social and community issues (including the integrative identified in the university's strategic plan, "Building on Distinction" and other priorities identified by our partners).

In 2011-2012, a group of faculty at Brown outlined their shared understanding of best practices in engaged scholarship, influenced by existing documents such as the principles of partnership defined by Community-Campus Partnerships for Health.


  • Community-based work is integrated into courses and research in ways that advance specific course goals
  • For students, the experience is designed to facilitate the development of specific cognitive skills (problem solving, synthesis, interpretation, analysis) and reflective skills (recognizing context as critical to content)
  • The community experience offers an opportunity for the public to enter into dialogue with students and faculty, as well as with each other 
  • Faculty and students participate in the advancement of publicly significant disciplinary knowledge

Reciprocal Engagement:

  • Participants include community stakeholders who are identified as accountable to the individuals and organizations they represent
  • Community stakeholders, faculty and students work together to identify areas for research and to interpret and act on research findings
  • Partners have mutually agreed on goals, share accountability, and participate in defining measurable outcomes
  • The university-community partnership recognizes the distinct interests, contributions, and resources brought by each party

Public Significance                                                                                                    

  • Community-based work addresses the interests of the community and generates research with broader relevance
  • The public/community is given opportunities to enter into a dialogue with faculty and students about research questions, methods and findings
  • Community stakeholders provide feedback about ways to improve the project

The Swearer Center's work is grounded in a related set of guiding values:                                                                                                    

  • Ethical and Engaged Student Leadership: We are committed to educating the whole student, listening carefully to students' voices and respecting students' agency as learners, change-makers and leaders.                                                                                       
  • Reciprocity and Respect: We are committed to long-term reciprocal relationships built on respect and collaboration in teaching and learning, in the co-creation of knowledge and in the achievement of impact.                                                                                     
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: We are committed to active and equitable inclusion of diverse stakeholders, perspectives, identities, histories and ways of knowing. 
  • Social Justice: We are committed to building peaceful, equitable, and just communities through systemic analyses and collective action to address challenges faced by communities.
  • Intellectual Rigor: We are committed to academic rigor as a critical component of a Brown education and of being civically generative community members.