Since its inception in 1864, Swarthmore College–guided by its Quaker heritage–has promoted academic excellence in the context of social responsibility and what it now calls “Engaged Scholarship.” Offering a world-renowned liberal arts and engineering curriculum, the College is private, yet open to all regardless of financial need.
Swarthmore College partners closely with communities in the nearby cities of Chester, and Philadelphia, but also fosters global engagement and outlook (with students drawn from around the world and all 50 states).
Starting in the fall of 2019, Swarthmore College will enter a three-year partnership with the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium, supported by Swarthmore’s Eugene M. Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.
Established through the generous endowment of Eugene M. “Gene” Lang ’38 (1919-2017), the Lang Center supports Engaged Scholarship and connects the three C’s of the campus, curriculum, and communities. It thus encourages and supports faculty, staff, and students to combine their intellectual and artistic resources with local and distant communities for mutual benefit and reciprocally enriching relationships.
Swarthmore alumnus and Harvard Professor Robert D. Putnam ’63, author of such social science classics as Making Democracy Work and Bowling Alone, identifies strong correlations between robust news readership and a healthy civil society. Alexis de Tocqueville discusses similar connections in his seminal, two-volume, 19th century work Democracy in America.
Swarthmore College and the Lang Center join the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium in supporting civic journalism (across a range of media) as a vital ingredient in maintaining and supporting free thought, open discourse, and informed political engagement locally and around the world.
Other Lang Center signature programs include:
*a rotating visiting professorship that brings to campus activists or academics committed to social justice, civil liberties, human rights, and democracy;
* faculty-led initiatives that “decenter” the Center by empowering campus experts to organize their own Engaged Scholarship collaborations and events;
* a thriving “Inside Out” Prison Exchange program that promotes research and teaching collaborations between incarcerated students and Swarthmore faculty and students;
* a scholarship program that supports students creating long-term, sustainable social-action projects;
* a Social Innovation Lab that houses a community of Social Innovators applying knowledge to needs; and
* an extensive summer internship program that funds students undertaking Engaged Scholarship in the U.S. and abroad.
The Lang Center also provides special support to curricular programs such as Peace and Conflict Studies, Educational Studies, Environmental Studies, and Global Studies, which integrate Engaged Scholarship into the heart of their curricular mission.