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Engaged Scholarship

The Engaged Scholarship Certificate allows students to investigate public, civic, and/or social justice issues that they are passionate about through the integration of academic study with community-based learning, research, and action. Students pursuing the Engaged Scholarship Certificate conduct intensive interdisciplinary inquiry into a topic or issue area of their choice (e.g., criminal justice reform, educational equity, environmental justice), coupled with direct engagement with communities, organizations, and practitioners outside of the academy. The certificate has four requirements - a foundational seminar, a three-course interdisciplinary elective sequence, a community-based practicum, and a capstone - that together advance students’ learning and skills to contribute to the world beyond Brown.

As with all undergraduate certificates, students may only have one declared concentration. and must be enrolled in or have completed at least two courses toward the certificate at the time they declare in ASK, which must be no earlier than the beginning of the fifth semester and no later than the last day of classes of the antepenultimate (typically the sixth) semester, in order to facilitate planning for the experiential learning opportunity (practicum). Students must submit a proposal for their practicum by the end of the sixth semester.

Students in any concentration may pursue the Engaged Scholarship Certificate. No concentrations are excluded.

Certificate Requirements: 

Each student will take a required foundational seminar and propose a set of three experiences—a three-course interdisciplinary elective sequence, a community-based practicum, and a capstone—related to their issue area focus.

Core Course:
SOC 0310Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship1
Elective Courses:3
One course carrying the Community Based Learning and Research (CBLR) curricular designation or an approved alternative. For example:
Performing Ethnography and the Politics of Culture
Providence Housing Ecosystem, Development, Displacement and Gentrification
Black Protest Music
Memory, Movements, and Mississippi
Lincoln in the Archive: Material Culture, Representation, and Race
Language and Migration
Anthropology of Addictions and Recovery
Anthropology of Homelessness
Anthropology of Mental Health
Heritage in the Metropolis: Remembering and Preserving the Urban Past
Palaces: Built to Impress
Community Archaeology in Providence and Beyond
Southeast Asia’s Entangled Pasts: Excavated, Curated, and Contested
Classical Art from Ruins to RISD: Ancient Objects/Modern Issues
Heritage Under Fire: From Conflict to Understanding, Memory, and Reconciliation
The Archaeology of College Hill
Arts Writing Workshop
ArtsCorps & The Future of Arts Work
Precision Medicine or Privileged Medicine? Addressing Disparities in Biomedical Research
CS for Social Change
Teaching LGBTQIA History
Adolescent Literature
Fieldwork and Seminar in Secondary Education
Language and Education Policy in Multilingual Contexts
Family Engagement in Education
Policy Implementation in Education
Turning Hope into Results: The Policy Ecosystem of the Providence Public Schools District
Human Development and Education in East Asia
Planetary System Design: A Team Project Course
Earth Science Curriculum Design and Teaching Practicum for Elementary and High School
Reframing Race in Art Writing
Writing for Activists
Literary Reportage
Contemporary Asian American Writers
My So-Called Life: The Art of the Literary Memoir
The Poet & The Press Release: Rhetoric of Social Change
Humans, Nature, and the Environment: Addressing Environmental Change in the 21st Century
Clearing the Air: Environmental Studies of Pollution
Podcasting For the Common Good: Storytelling with Science
Local Food Systems and Urban Agriculture
Birding Communities
The Border/La Frontera
Introduction to American/Ethnic Studies
L'experience des refugies: deplacements, migrations
Reproductive In/Justice
Introduction to Professional Translation and Interpretation
The Latin American Diaspora in the US
Networked Movements. Mobilizations for change in Latin America in the 21st century.
Engaged Humanities: Storytelling in the Americas
Writers-in-the-Community Training & Residencies
A Migration Crisis? Displacement, Materiality, and Experience
Public Art in Sound and Listening
Parenting Behaviors and Child Health
Community-Engaged Research in Public Health
Designing Education for Better Prisoner and Community Health
Incarceration, Disparities, and Health
Migrants, Political Activism and the Racialization of Labor
Artful Teaching: Intersecting the Arts with Foreign and Second Language Acquisition
Indigenous Politics in Hawai'i: Resurgence and Decolonization
Economic and Human Development in South Asia
Critical Communities, Critical Engagements
Context Research for Innovation
Market and Social Surveys
Ethics, Justice, and Transformations in Engaged Scholarship
A Hip Hop Companion to Race and Ethnicity
Arts and Health: Theory
Art and Activism
Arts and Health: Practice
New Works/World Traditions
Heritage in the Metropolis: Remembering and Preserving the Urban Past
Housing Justice
Heritage in the Metropolis: Remembering and Preserving the Urban Past
The Just City: Installment I, Comparative Perspectives on Juvenile Justice Reform
Studio Foundation
Issue Area Course: A course that addresses the student’s stated public, civic, or social justice issue of interest (e.g., criminal justice reform, educational equity, environmental justice). That issue or topic will be a coherent thread throughout their ESC course sequence and community-engaged experiences.
Critical Perspectives Course: A course related to the student’s specific community engagement focus that examines the broader ethical, political, and social context of that issue area. Students are strongly encouraged to consider RPP-designated or other courses that address issues of structural inequality, the root causes of social problems, and the production of knowledge and difference in the context of discourses on race, power, and privilege.
Practicum: The ESC practicum is a significant practice-based experience (internship, fellowship, volunteer role, etc.) with a community organization or project, during which students also complete a series of reflective assignments. In most cases, the practicum will be completed as a non-credit-bearing experience. However, it may be fulfilled through a credit-bearing course, such as the Brown in Washington, DC Practicum.0-1
ESC Capstone: The ESC capstone will provide students with a culminating learning experience through which they reflect back on their certificate work and demonstrate achievement and competency with respect to key learning outcomes articulated in their certificate plan. ESC students will have two options for fulfilling the capstone requirement:0-1
Engaged Research/Course Option (credit): Students who elect this option will pursue an engaged capstone involving research or other project-based work with a community partner organization. Students may select an upper-level course - including potentially a concentration capstone or honors thesis course - or propose an independent study (DISP or GISP) aligned with their research interests and, with the agreement of the instructor, pursue a project with a collaborating non-academic partner.
ePortfolio/Reflection Essay Option (non-credit): Students who elect this option will create an electronic portfolio (ePortfolio) of representative ESC work. The ePortfolio will consist of papers, projects, and/or other artifacts developed in courses and the ESC practicum. It will be accompanied by a reflective essay that responds to a series of prompts about the student’s community engaged learning experiences. ESC participants’ faculty advisors, ESC Review Committee members, and/or Swearer Center staff with relevant expertise will advise and evaluate this type of capstone.
Total Credits4-6