The Swearer Center supports the development of community-engaged courses at Brown through Engaged Course Development Grants.
See our list of Fall 2017 Engaged Course highlights developed and taught by Brown faculty and Swearer Center staff on a range of themes relevant to social change work.
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