Howard R. Swearer Engaged Faculty Awards

The Vice President for Community Engagement and the Swearer Center for Public Service invite nominations for our annual Howard R. Swearer Engaged Faculty Awards, which honor faculty at Brown University whose scholarship (research and/or teaching) engages community partners in reciprocal relationships to co-produce knowledge, high-impact learning experiences and tangible public benefit. One of the two annual awards will be given to an early-career faculty member. 


Recipients’ work will reflect the university’s liberal learning goals and commitments to “devot[ing] increased attention to the cultivation and stewardship of partnerships” to advance integrative, engaged scholarship in Building on Distinction and to “strengthening community engagement and promoting positive impact” in Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University, as well as the Swearer Center’s values.

These awards may serve as a springboard for nominations to national awards such as the Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty and the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award.

Purpose and Criteria

The Howard R. Swearer Engaged Faculty Awards honor faculty who have integrated community engagement intentionally and effectively into their scholarly identity and work. Their engagement may occur in their teaching, research or both, as well as in mentoring and leadership with students and colleagues. Since faculty positions at Brown vary in their focus and expectations, the key factor is the quality of community partnerships and outcomes. Nominees may also note their plans for future engagement in their narrative. Nominations will be reviewed for a record of achievement in their area(s) of research and/or teaching appropriate to their position and career stage, based on the following criteria: 

  • Demonstration of strong community partnerships in their teaching and/or research (e.g., collaboration with community partners throughout the research process from defining research questions through analysis and dissemination)
  • Evidence of benefit for students and community stakeholders
  • Effective community-engaged pedagogy that produces high-impact, collaborative learning experiences addressing major social issues; please note any recurring courses, as well as any carrying the Community-Based Learning and Research designation (if applicable)
  • Contributions to knowledge in their field(s) of inquiry through relevant scholarly publications, conference presentations, performances, and/or public communications (if applicable)
  • Mentoring of students interested in community engagement/engaged scholarship (if applicable)
  • Leadership and/or active participation in efforts by departments, center, programs, initiatives, associations or other groups to enhance capacity, practices and policies related to engaged scholarship (if applicable)

All faculty (including tenured and tenure-track faculty, lecturers, medical faculty, adjuncts, visiting faculty, and postdoctoral fellows) at Brown during a given academic year who also expect to stay at the university in the following academic year are eligible. Faculty affiliated with the School of Public Health might also consider a nomination for the SPH Dean’s Award for Excellence in Community Engagement, which is awarded annually each spring semester. 

One of the two annual awards will be given to an early-career faculty member, defined to include both tenure-track faculty who are not yet tenured (and have not submitted their materials for tenure before the nomination deadline) and non-tenure-track faculty who have worked in academia for no more than 7 years. The second annual award is open to faculty who are tenured at Brown or have worked in academia for more than 7 years. Recognizing the centrality of diversity, equity, and inclusion to community engagement, we encourage faculty whose scholarship directly addresses these issues to highlight that work in their nomination materials.

Process & Timeline

Nomination Process

Faculty may nominate themselves for these awards or be nominated by other faculty, administrators, students, or community partners. Nominations are collected through UFunds and must include nominee information, nominator information (if not a self-nomination), community partner information and contact, a one-page narrative by the nominee, nominee’s CV, and two letters of support. It is recommended that you gather all the necessary information before submitting in UFunds. 

Review/Selection Process

Nominations will be evaluated by an ad hoc committee comprised of faculty, staff, community partners, and students, including representatives from the Vice President for Community Engagement’s office and the Swearer Center’s advisory committees. Unsuccessful nominations may be updated and re-submitted in subsequent award cycles. 


Each faculty award carries a $5,000 total prize. The faculty recipient’s department will receive $3,000 for their professional development, research, or other appropriate uses. Their designated community partner will receive $2,000 (or that total amount may be distributed among multiple community partners).


Nominations Open on UFunds October 6, 2024
Deadlines for Nominations February 23, 2025, 5:00 p.m. ET
Notification of Awards March 2025
Award Ceremonies (Swearer Center Awards and University Teaching Awards events) TBD April/May 2025
Past Recipients

2024 Engaged Faculty Award Recipients – Dr. Scott H AnderBois & Myles Lennon

2023 Engaged Faculty Award Recipients – Dr. Linford D. Fisher & Dr. Dawn King

2022 Engaged Faculty Award Recipients – Dr. Kevin Escudero & Dr. Irene Glasser

2021 Engaged Faculty Award Recipients – Dr. David Sobel, Dr. Catherine Trimbur, and Dr. Rahul Vanjani

2020 Engaged Faculty Awards Recipients – Brad Brockmann '76, JD, MDiv & Dr. Elena Shih

2019 Engaged Faculty Awards Recipients – Dr. Keisha-Khan Y. Perry & Dr. Amy Remensnyder


Questions? Contact Julie Plaut, Director of Engaged Scholarship, Swearer Center, and Visiting Lecturer, Sociology, at [email protected]