What is Engaged Scholarship?
Ernest Boyer coined the term “Engaged Scholarship” to describe teaching and research that connect “the rich resources of the university to our most pressing social, civic, and ethical problems” (Boyer, 1996 [pdf]). Engaged Scholarship denotes an orientation; engaged scholars direct their energies not solely toward an academic community, or toward the life of the mind, but also toward pressing public issues or shared problems. The term captures the ways in which the Lang Center connects the “three C's” of curriculum, campus, and communities for reciprocal gains.
Communities in this context include the proximate communities of Chester, PA, and the greater Philadelphia area; more distant community partners around the country and globe; and the community of scholars and practitioners who share knowledge and best practices regarding ethical action and civic engagement.
We conceptualize Engaged Scholarship as extending to a broad range of approaches, including intensive collaborations with off-campus partners (community-based learning and community-engaged research); experiential learning that connects students with issues outside the classroom (field study, immersion experiences, or travel in connection with a course); and scholarship that resides on campus but aims toward social amelioration or public benefit. The Lang Center can offer resources—financial, human, and social capital—to facilitate any of these approaches for interested faculty or students. In other words, we can provide funding, expert advising in professional best practices, and connections to relevant partners on or off campus.
In response to faculty interest expressed at a series of Fall 2015 receptions, then-Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change Denise Crossan led the development of a campus Engaged Scholarship Map, a user-friendly platform that allows campus community members to see what kinds of Engaged Scholarship projects others are undertaking, and with which community partners. This platform helps faculty, students, and community organizations to identify potential collaborators for research or teaching, and/or to find new ideas for applying their work to issues of community benefit. Those wishing to learn more can view this explanatory video.
Engaged Scholarship Courses at Swarthmore
Community-Based Learning (CBL) is a pedagogical approach that is based on the premise that the most profound learning often comes from experience that is supported by guidance, context, foundational knowledge, and intellectual analysis. The Lang Center staff supports faculty in teaching rich CBL courses, specifically, and engaged scholarship courses more broadly. The opportunity for students to bring thoughtful knowledge and ideas based on personal observation and social interaction to a course's themes and scholarly arguments brings depth to the learning experience for individuals and to the content of the course. The communities of which we are a part can benefit from the resources of our faculty and students, while the courses can be educationally transformative in powerful ways.
Annual Engaged Scholarship Symposium
Since 2017, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility has sponsored an annual symposium on the topic of engaged scholarship. These symposia are designed to educate, support, and foster a community around engaged scholarship at Swarthmore College and beyond.
6th Annual Engaged Scholarship Symposium | April 11-13, 2022
April 11, Noon-1:30pm — Place-Based Community Engagement
Participating institutions: Pennsylvania College of Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Swarthmore College
Watch the video
April 12, Noon-1:30pm — Faculty-Led Innovations in Engaged Scholarship
Participating institutions: Cornell University, Penn State University, Swarthmore College
Watch the video
April 13, Noon-1:30pm— Decolonization and Indigenous Knowledges
Participating institutions: Blackfeet Community College, University of Kansas, Swarthmore College
Watch the video
Full program available at: https://bit.ly/ESSymposium2022
5th Annual Engaged Scholarship Symposium (March 16-18, 2021, online)
This virtual symposium created a space to share national examples of and approaches to Engaged Scholarship, particularly the innovations and adaptations that emerged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participating institutions included Brown University, Duke University, Miami Dade College, Portland State University, University of San Diego, and Tulane University. View the full program and recordings.
Engaging Philadelphia through Scholarship & Teaching (February 7, 2020 @ Philadelphia City Hall)
Featuring faculty from Swarthmore College and St. Joseph's University and community leaders from Serenity House and Face-to-Face. This event was co-sponsored by St. Joseph's University and made possible in part through the generosity of the Board of Campus Compact New York and Pennsylvania and the Mayor's Office of Philadelphia.
3rd Annual Engaged Scholarship Symposium (February 20, 2019)
Keynote: Senior Editor at the University Chicago Press, Elizabeth Branch Dyson, "How Ideas Gain Traction: The Book as Engaged Scholarship"
- Engaged Scholarship for the Public Good: Building Diverse Constituencies (February 21, 2018)
- Envisioning Public/Engaged Scholarship at Swarthmore (February 3, 2017)
Lang Center Funded Faculty Publications
- Political Homophily, Bifurcated Social Reality, and Perceived Legitimacy of the 2020 US Presidential Election Results: A Four-Wave Longitudinal Study, John C. Blanchar (Psychology) and Catherine J. Norris (Psychology)
- Frames that Matter: Increasing the Willingess to get the Covid-19 Vaccines, Sean Diament (Political Science), Ayse Kaya (Political Science), and Ellen Magenheim (Economics)
- The Methuselah Effect: The Pernicious Impact of Unreported Deaths on Old Age Mortality Estimates, Professor Lynne Steuerle Schofield (Mathematics and Statistics) with Dan A. Black, Yu-Chieh Hsu, Seth G. Sanders, and Lowell J. Taylor
- Accumulating Evidence of the Impact of Voter ID Laws: Student Engagement in the Political Process, Professor Kelly S. McConville (Mathematics and Statistics)
- Students And Service Staff Learning And Researching Together On A College Campus, Professor Diane Anderson (Educational Studies)
- Experience and (Civic) Education, Professor Ben Berger (Political Science)
- Community-Based Learning Versus Traditional Courses In Statistics: Who Takes Them And Why, Professor Lynne Schofield ’99 (Mathematics & Statistics)
- “Finding A Lazarus” Ministry With Prisoners And Families: The Way Forward. 44-56. Professor Keith Reeves ’88 (Political Science)
"A Promise to Support Us:” Undocumented Experiences on a Sanctuary Campus. Professor Elaine C. Allard (Educational Studies) with Jonathan Hamel Sellman, Brandon Torres, Sydnie Schwarz, Freddy Bernardino, and Rebecca Castillo
Language Policy and Practice in Almost-Bilingual Classrooms, Professor Elaine C. Allard (Educational Studies) with Sarah Apt & Isabel Sacks
Testing effects of loss framing and checklists: evidence from a field experiment on wellness program participation in Philadelphia. Professor Syon Bhanot (Economics) with Christina A. Roberto, Anjali Chainani, Charles Williamson, and Mehra den Braven
Poverty, identity and preference for challenge: Evidence from the U.S. and India. Professor Syon Bhanot (Economics) with Sachin Bankera and Aishwarya Deshpande
Putting social rewards and identity salience to the test: Evidence from a field experiment with teachers in Philadelphia. Professor Syon Bhanot (Economics) with Gordon Kraft-Todd, David Rand, and Erez Yoeli
- Chester Digital
- Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies
- Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary
- Global Nonviolent Action Database
- Green Philly Research Group
- Swarthmore International Relations Journal
- Rosine 2.0
Senior Theses & Other Student Publications
- Ana Chiu ’06, Comparison of Cost Effectiveness of Sexual Health Education Programs
- Sa’ed Atshan ’06, Gay in the Arab World: A Comparison of Cairo and Beirut's LGBT Communities
- Katie Camillus ’08, Microfinance in a Ugandan Community of Internally Displaced Persons: Repayment Frequency, Impact, and the Challenges of Program Development
- Camila Leiva ’09, Building Power: Youth Organizing as an Effective Model for Latino/a Youth Community Participation
- Reina Chaino ’09, Historical Education as Reconciliation: Teaching History in Northern Ireland
- Shandra Bernath-Plaisted ’09, Communal strategies for social protest and change: communes as indirect challenges to systems of authority during the civil rights movement
- Maurice Weeks ’09, Immigrants and Minorities in Northern Ireland: Creating Peace—Defining the Other
Anson Stewart ’10, Rides and Rights: Organizing for Transportation Justice in Boston and Los Angeles
Gina Grubb ’10, Exploring the Experiences of Students in the Chester Community Fellows Program
Joslyn Young ’10, Cameras Rolling, and ... ACTION! Youth Development in a Media Production Program
- Lois Park ’10, Increasing the Efficacy of Malnutrition Treatment to Reduce Childhood (U5) Mortality in Sierra Leone
Adam Bortner ’11, “We’re Not All Dead”: Healing from and Challenging AIDS-Related Stigma with Digital Storytelling
Priya Johnson ’11, Locating Resistance in Refugee Hip Hop: A Case Study
Samia Abass ’11, The Stories Bursting from Us: Sharing Individual Experiences Through Theater as a Means of Peace Building in Northern Ireland
Tom Liu ’11, Kan Bing Gui: The Problem of Runaway Health Care Expenditure in Rural China
- Anna Stitt ’13, In the Interstices of Capitalism: Evaluating Social Reproduction and Transformation in the Case of a Timebank
Elowyn Corby ’13, Training for Change: Moving from Theory to Practice in Adult Education for Empowerment
Hannah Kurtz ’13, Going to School With Them or Without Them: The Interactions of Schooling and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland
Hannah Lehmann ’13, Expanding Identities: Identity Transformations in In-prison Higher Education
Nick Palazzolo ’13, Why Do We Help and What Do We Learn? Social Action and Moral Development at Swarthmore College
- Isabel Sacks ’15, Teaching for Social Justice in Rural Dominican Republic
- Hussain A. Zaidi '22, et al., Overcoming Ethical Challenges to Engaging Men Who Have Sex with Women in HIV Research