The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and Swarthmore College are partnering with Campus Compact to support a national cohort of early career faculty and staff members focused on strengthening their own critical community-engaged scholarship and equity-focused change at their institution and in communities.
The program, called the Engaged Scholars Initiative, was conceived and launched in 2019 by Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 700 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Brown University and its Swearer Center worked with Campus Compact to support a 2019–2020 cohort of scholars and practitioners in the Northeast.
The Lang Center hosted an in-person retreat at Swarthmore College for that cohort, which included then-Assistant Professor of Sociology Nina Johnson. For 2021–2022, Swarthmore is partnering with Campus Compact to offer the first-ever national cohort, providing thought and action leadership in co-designing the cohort experience, and supporting the program through in-kind staffing and financial resources.
“Swarthmore College is honored to join Brown University as a Campus Compact thought partner,” said Ben Berger, executive director of the Lang Center and associate professor of political science. “We hope that the example of an Ivy League research university and a liberal arts college, each working to advance engaged scholarship nationwide, will encourage all universities and colleges to invest in their potential as civic leaders and collaborators.”
The initiative recently welcomed 22 faculty and staff members selected as the 2021–2022 cohort of Engaged Scholars. Scholars were selected from a highly competitive pool of candidates from Campus Compact member institutions. They were all nominated by their presidents, chancellors, or chief academic officers on the basis of their outstanding work in civic and community engagement. Together, they represent 19 institutions from 13 states.
Two Swarthmore faculty members were selected to join the program. Maggie Delano, assistant professor of engineering, will use this opportunity to build out her Inclusive Engineering Design course to include community partners and strategize how to integrate more inclusive engineering design work into her research agenda. Salvador Rangel, assistant professor of sociology, will use the opportunity to enhance his research on how the meat-processing industry transformed itself during the globalization era by recruiting new groups of migrant workers — principally, though not exclusively, those who were undocumented.
As a cohort, this group of Engaged Scholars will participate in a yearlong learning and leadership program. It will include regular meetings, professional development and virtual learning opportunities, retreats, and individual support through mentoring and coaching. Throughout the program, scholars will collaborate to strengthen their individual and collective scholarship, research, and impact.
“Campus Compact is thrilled to welcome the second cohort of the Engaged Scholars Initiative,” said Marisol Morales, vice president for network leadership at Campus Compact. “The caliber and diversity of all the applicants were extraordinary. The goal of this program is to develop and support equity-minded, community-engaged scholars and practitioners who can shape the future of this field. Our first cohort taught us what was possible, and I expect our second one to bring us even closer to achieving our goal.”