Courses

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