PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On Monday, Jan. 30, Brown University’s Swearer Center for Public Service launched its National Field-Building Initiative, a set of opportunities for students, faculty, community partners and other institutions of higher education to collaborate on advancing the field of community engagement and social innovation.
Anchoring the initiative is a new role for the Swearer Center as administrator of the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement. Universities can apply for the classification, which — if earned after a rigorous assessment — recognizes them as “community engaged” institutions. In order to be selected, schools must demonstrate institutionalized practices of community engagement that show alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices.
By becoming the host institution for the classification, the Swearer Center will house all data from past and future classifications for research use, administer future classification processes and build events, research projects and other activities related to the classification.
“In launching the National Field-Building Initiative and becoming the host institution for the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, Brown is embracing its heritage,” University President Christina Paxson said at a launch event on Monday. “It has long been a strand of Brown’s DNA to educate leaders for service to the community, the nation and the world. Engaged scholarship is the new standard in higher education for fostering skills in real-time problem-solving and civic engagement. And it is now central to realizing Brown’s mission.”
Associate Dean of Engaged Scholarship and Swearer Center Director Mathew Johnson highlighted the importance of the initiative's inaugural partners, who will collaborate with the Swearer Center to promote engaged scholarship in higher education. In addition to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which grants the community engagement classification, partners include the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, the Siena College Research Institute and the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.
“Through this initiative, Brown and the Swearer Center seek to embrace and expand our institutional civic role in higher education,” Johnson said. “We’re honored that these partners have joined us as we embark in advancing our field.”