Swearer Center for Public Service

The Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service practices and promotes community-engaged scholarship (CES), which seeks to address complex social challenges locally and globally through partnerships between faculty, students, and stakeholders outside of the academy. At Swearer, students and faculty bring their knowledge and expertise to bear on real-world problems and do so in collaboration with community practitioners who contribute their own forms of knowledge and wisdom to that inquiry.

This work is guided by a conscious commitment to Swearer’s core values: ethical and engaged student leadership; reciprocity and respect; diversity, equity, and inclusion; social justice, and academic rigor.

Each year, the Swearer Center works with more than 1,500 Brown students, through and with 100+ community partners (half of whom are located in the greater Providence area). Its main location at 25 George Street is bustling with activity, as are its satellite locations in J. Walter Wilson and 10 Davol Square in Providence’s Jewelry District.

Some of the Swearer Center’s signature programs include:

  • Our Community Partnerships address a range of issues through direct service and advocacy, with a particular depth in work aimed at educational inequities. We pride ourselves on an abiding philosophy that values mutually respectful partnerships with the community, rather than simply service to the community. Each year, over 500 Brown student volunteers and Fellows work with other Brown students, local organizations, and residents; learn more about Providence's distinctive neighborhoods; and gain practical skills they might not learn in the classroom or lab.
  • Launched in spring 2015, the Engaged Scholars Program (ESP) is a multi-year undergraduate program of study, grounded in the disciplinary concentrations, that creates educational pathways connecting academic theory and real world practice. Through community-engaged coursework, internships, and integrative capstone projects, ESP students gain hands-on experience working with community partners to address important social challenges.
  • The Social Innovation Initiative (SII) promotes an open culture of collaborative learning and community impact with programming focused in four key areas: funding, intensive skills training, and advising needed to build powerful ventures, including the Social Innovation Fellowship; courses that help students develop a dynamic understanding of innovation; student groups dedicated to social innovation and social entrepreneurship; and connections to professional experiences, fellowships, and funding opportunities.

Contact Information:
Swearer Center for Public Service
Box 1974
25 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Phone (401) 863-2338
Fax (401) 863-3094