• Swearer Center Staff

Mathew Johnson

Associate Dean of the College, Engaged Scholarship
Executive Director, The Swearer Center for Public Service
Professor of Practice, Sociology

Joined Swearer Center Staff in 


Office hours

By appointment and:

For immediate assistance, contact Rebecca Henriquez, Administrative Coordinator / Executive Assistant, at rebecca_henriquez@brown.edu.

Dr. Mathew Johnson is the Executive Director of the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service, and Associate Dean of the College for Engaged Scholarship, at Brown University. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University.

A faculty member for more than 20 years, Dr. Johnson also holds an appointment as Professor of the Practice in Sociology and maintains an active research and professional academic profile. He co-directs the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification, he co-founded and now co-directs the National Assessment of Service and Community Engagement with the Siena College Research Institute and leads the College and University Engagement Initiative at Brown University, an international community engagement in higher education field-building initiative. Dr. Johnson is an Ashoka Change Leader and leads the ongoing development of the Cordes Award-winning social innovation programming in the Swearer Center.

Dr. Johnson was recognized as a Campus Compact Engaged Scholar (2007) and is an international leader in higher education community engagement and social innovation. He has consulted for more than 100 institutions of higher education globally, frequently serves as an invited speaker for academic and professional conferences and gatherings and delivers workshops and professional development symposia on higher education leadership and community engagement.

Dr. Johnson’s teaching has focused on indigenous identity and rural development, environmental policy, critical education and social theory, and organizational, structural, and cultural change. He has taught immersive experiential courses that include domestic and international travel to the Zapatista Autonomous Region of Chiapas Mexico, various locations in Bolivia, Northern Scotland and the Shetland Islands, the Southwestern United States, Hawaii, Northern Maine and West Virginia. Dr. Johnson has also consulted for international development and aid organizations in West Africa and in the U.S.

Prior to his role at Brown, Dr. Johnson served as the Director of Academic Community Engagement, Chair of Sociology and Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at Siena College. There he pioneered new models of community engagement and built a nationally recognized public service center. Dr. Johnson has won several major federal grants including from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and others grants from the Davis Foundation, and the Bonner Foundation. He also served as a Commissioner appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on the New York State Commission for National and Community Service, and co-directed a three-year national community engagement strategic planning and institutional change initiative of the Bonner Foundation, the Bonner Network High-Impact Initiative.

Dr. Johnson has served on the Board of Directors of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education, and Development (COPRED), the Board of the Peace Studies Association (PSA) and the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA). He has also served in committees of the Peace and War Section of the American Sociological Association, and as a Vice President and President of the New England Sociological Society. Dr. Johnson is a trained mediator and facilitator of adventure-based education.

For more information on Dr. Johnson, visit his BrownEngage and LinkedIn profiles.