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Lang Center Presents 7th Annual Symposium on Engaged Scholarship

Graphic displaying logo of Lang Center with text that reads "Engaged Scholarship Symposium"

The Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility will examine engaged scholarship across higher education later this week, through its seventh annual symposium.

The Lang Center is partnering with three networks — Campus Compact, Partners for Campus Community Engagement (PCCE), and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) — and ten campuses for virtual sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 

The College community and public can register for one or all of the sessions here.

The symposium aims to educate, support, and foster a community around engaged scholarship at Swarthmore and beyond.

“We are excited to collaborate with national and regional networks for this year's symposium,” says Ben Berger, executive director of the Lang Center and associate professor of political science, “bringing together diverse institutions to discuss emerging and important topics, as well as sharing best practices in engaged scholarship.”

The first session, on Tuesday April 25, is on “Equity and Engaged Scholarship.” Moderated by Nicole Springer, director of institutional capacity building for Campus Compact, the session will invite members of Campus Compact’s Engaged Scholars Initiative to explore how to integrate equity and inclusion into engaged scholarship work intentionally. It will also examine critical reflection, power dynamics, and strategies for building equitable partnerships. The Lang Center is the inaugural strategic partner for Campus Compact’s Engaged Scholars’ Initiative national cohort, and will be hosting the closing retreat for the 2022–23 cohort next month. 

Wednesday’s session, “The Role of Engaged Scholarships at Anchor Institutions in an Era of Uncertainty,” will be moderated by Laurie Worrall, executive director of PCCE. In this session, important themes such as the role of scholarship in defining and/or deepening institutions’ community engagement, and how fiscal and enrollment challenges facing many campuses and regional communities affect approaches to and support of engagement, will be discussed. The session features speakers from regional colleges and universities, including Gannon University, University of Pittsburgh, SUNY Buffalo State University, offering a variety of perspectives.

The final session on Thursday, April 27, focuses on “Innovations in Engaged Scholarship.” A collaborative effort with the ESC, this session is designed to bring together institutions from the ESC network to highlight an array of innovations in engaged scholarship. Participants will share key learnings and best practices, emphasizing how these innovative approaches to engaged scholarship have yielded positive outcomes. Swarthmore joined the ESC network in 2020 and is the only liberal arts college in the network to have an executive committee membership. 

“The symposium offers a unique opportunity for scholars, practitioners, and community members to engage in dialogue and exchange ideas, fostering meaningful connections and advancing the field of engaged scholarship,” says Nimesh Ghimire ’16, senior fellow at the Lang Center. More information about the sessions, including the list of panelists and participating institutions, can be accessed here.

The Lang Center has sponsored this symposium since 2017, convening scholars from leading liberal arts colleges, public and private research universities, community colleges, and minority-serving institutions and tribal colleges. Last year’s symposium brought together six institutions in addition to Swarthmore: Pennsylvania College of Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Cornell University, Penn State University, Blackfeet Community College, and the University of Kansas. A total of 115 participants, mostly faculty and staff from colleges/universities around the U.S., registered for the three-day, virtual symposium. 

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