• Swearer Center Staff
Swearer Center - Mary Jo Callan headshot

Mary Jo Callan

Vice President for Community Engagement and Stark Family Executive Director of the Swearer Center

Joined Swearer Center Staff in 


Ed.D. Educational Policy and Leadership, College of William and Mary
M.S.W. University of Michigan
B.A. University of Michigan

Mary Jo Callan serves as the Stark Family Executive Director of the Swearer Center for Public Service and as Brown University's Vice President for Community Engagement. As the Center’s Executive Director, Mary Jo leads one of the nation’s foremost centers for community engagement and the first to be housed in a university. As the University's first Vice President for Community Engagement, she works to elevate programming and initiatives that reflect community interests and values and that align with the mission of education, research and service at Brown University. Central to all of her work is pursuing consultation and collaboration with Providence and Rhode Island community leaders and stakeholders, as well as faculty, staff and students across campus.

In partnership with youth and communities, Mary Jo Callan has spent her career collaborating with others to advance equity in social, political, and economic power as a means to build healthy, inclusive, and vibrant communities where everyone has enough to thrive. From 2015-2021, Mary Jo served as the director of the Edward Ginsberg Center, a civic and community engagement center at the University of Michigan. 

Prior to her tenure at the University of Michigan, Mary Jo served in K-12 schools, local governments, and youth-serving nonprofits. Her time at Ozone House, a youth development and housing organization, was particularly formative as she learned alongside young people to stand up, organize, and persist for socially just change. As the founding director of the Office of Community and Economic Development in Washtenaw County, Michigan, she led cross-sector efforts to illuminate and address growing racial and economic inequities. Mary Jo earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Michigan, where her participation in community-engaged programs, courses, and research ignited her passion for public service. She earned her doctorate in educational policy and leadership at the College of William and Mary. Mary Jo’s research has focused primarily on partnerships between universities and social or public sector organizations, with a particular emphasis on equity and reciprocity in these partnerships.