Engaged Scholars Program

The Engaged Scholars Program (ESP) offers students curricular and co-curricular opportunities to connect academic theory and practice through hands-on experience focused on important social challenges. Through concentrations affiliated with ESP, students passionate about social issues pursue courses of study and action to contextualize abstract theories, challenge assumptions, and develop critical skills that prepare them for their future at Brown and beyond.

The Engaged Scholars Program in Education is intended for Education Studies concentrators interested in making connections between their concentration curriculum and long-term engagement, including internships, public service, humanitarian and development work, school-based education work, social service in education, or other forms of community and clinical involvement. The program combines preparation, experience, and reflection to provide students with opportunities to integrate academic learning and social engagement.

The student must declare Education Studies as a concentration and complete the following requirements:

1) Engaged Courses: Take two courses on topics relevant to engaged scholarship that could count toward the elective component of the concentration (see a list of examples below for courses with an “engaged pedagogical component”). Eligible courses taken before admission into the program can be used to satisfy the ESP Course Requirement.  

Education courses that might include components in engagement (students should consult with the faculty advisor and primary instructor to confirm that courses meet the components in engagement):

●      EDUC 1090 Adolescent Literature

●      EDUC 0900 Fieldwork and Seminar in Secondary Education

●      EDUC 1010 Craft of Teaching

●      EDUC 1890 Family Engagement in Education

Engaged courses may be theory/methods courses, topically-focused courses, and/or courses that involve experiential work on specific social challenges in collaboration with community partners. Review the ESP course highlights list for additional course suggestions!

Check [email protected] to determine which courses are being offered during the current semester.

When: Throughout your time at Brown. Eligible courses taken before admission into the program can be used to satisfy the ESP Course Requirement.

2) The Practicum: A practicum is an intensive engagement experience (150-250 hours) – an internship, a significant and rigorous volunteer experience, a fellowship, or another kind of meaningful engagement with an organization or project during which a series of reflection assignments are completed.

When: Sophomore summer, junior summer, or junior year semesters. Senior year practicums are not recommended.

Community/National Partners:  The Education Department and the Swearer Center have developed partnerships with local schools, governmental agencies, and civic and non-profit organizations.  The Education Department has also established strong working relationships with state and federal agencies and organizations. Education Department faculty and Swearer staff will assist you with developing a practicum placement as needed.

3) ESP Reflection Seminar: SOC0310- The Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship: ESP students take the required seminar that examines the theory, practice, and ethics of engaged scholarship through readings, case studies, site visits, and visits from faculty and practitioners.  The seminar is co-taught by Allen Hance, Swearer Center Director of Academic Programs, Jori Ketten, Associate Director and Lynsey Ford, Program Manager; Contact Allen, Jori, or Lynsey to discuss this requirement.

When: Fall or Spring of Junior Year (ideal) , though completion in the Fall of Senior Year is possible. The seminar is offered every semester and searchable on [email protected]

Additional Note: ESP students can satisfy the seminar (and the practicum) requirement by participating in the Brown in Washington semester program. Contact ESP staff to discuss.

4. The Engaged Capstone

What: Students’ concentration-based work culminates with a capstone project, which may be completed through a departmentally-sponsored capstone course, Departmental Independent Study Project (DISP), a Group Independent Study Project (GISP), thesis work or other departmentally-specific structure.  

When: Senior year

The ESP capstone requirement may also be fulfilled through honors work, if that work embodies the core elements of an engaged capstone. See capstone examples for guidance: ESP Capstone Projects 2015-2018

ESP Faculty Advisors do not have to be the chief advisor for your capstone, but can advise on your engaged capstone. You will work on your capstone proposal in the ESP seminar during junior year and, through this process, will meet with your academic advisor to discuss your plans. It is imperative that, once a project has been determined, you plan ahead for your capstone and create a schedule for meeting – every week (best) or two weeks – with your capstone advisor throughout the capstone process so that you do not fall behind.

How to Apply to ESP:

  • Students apply to ESP when declaring their concentration in ASK, typically in the second semester of their sophomore year. ESP is selective and applications will be reviewed by departments and ESP staff in mid-April of the application year. Students will be contacted by ESP staff directly about their application status. If you miss the deadline but are interested in applying, contact: [email protected].

  • While it is typical that students apply to the Engaged Scholars Program during sophomore year when declaring a concentration, you may revise your declaration to apply to the Engaged Scholars Program if you have enough remaining semesters at Brown to complete the program requirements.

For more information contact:

Kenneth Wong, Faculty Advisor of Engaged Scholars Program
[email protected]

Allen Hance, Swearer Center Director of Academic Programs
[email protected]

Jori Ketten, Associate Director
[email protected]

Lynsey Ford, Program Manager
[email protected]

Visit the Engaged Scholars Program website for more information about the program, requirements, events, and other opportunities and resources.