University News

Brown announces new Swearer Center director

Mathew Johnson to lead center for public service, engaged scholars program

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Though administrators at first hoped for a July start date, Mathew Johnson will join the Swearer Center in 2016 after wrapping up his work at Siena.

Updated Wednesday Sept. 9 at 12:30 a.m.

Mathew Johnson will assume the roles of director of the Swearer Center for Public Service and associate dean for engaged scholarship effective Jan. 1, 2016, Dean of the College Maud Mandel announced in a Sept. 1 campus-wide email.

Johnson currently serves as director of the Office of Academic Community Engagement and associate professor of sociology and environmental studies and sciences at Siena College, his alma mater.

His appointment as the Swearer Center’s director comes a year after Roger Nozaki MAT’89 resigned from the position to serve as a policy adviser at the U.S. Department of Education.

Administrators had hoped to identify Nozaki’s long-term successor last spring so that person could begin July 1, Mandel told The Herald last September.

But the search committee did not make its final hiring decision until Aug. 27, said Olivia Veira ’17, one of two undergraduates on the committee.

“We brought some candidates to campus in the summer, and we had brought a couple in the spring as well,” Mandel said. She declined to comment on the reason for the delay or if the University had made any prior offers for the job.

Johnson will not take over the role until January because he felt he had an ongoing commitment at Siena and needed to stay this semester, Mandel said.

“I’m so excited to have (Johnson) coming on board as the director,” said Kate Trimble, who has served as the center’s acting director since Nozaki first decided to temporarily step down in May 2014 after nine years in the role.

“He was clearly a strong leader with well-researched ideas about service and service learning,” Veira said. “He didn’t seem to shy away from having difficult conversations.”

Though Johnson’s work at the University will not officially commence until the turn of the calendar year, he plans to visit campus during the fall semester, Mandel wrote in the email. She also included his personal email address for students who are interested in contacting him before his official arrival.

“He’s raring to go,” Trimble said, adding that he visited campus last week.

In addition to visiting campus, Johnson will also be working with the Swearer Center in a consulting capacity until he officially assumes his post. 

“He is going to be leading us through a strategic planning process at Swearer,” Trimble said. “It’s great to have the incoming director lead that process because his vision for the next era of the Swearer Center is crucially important.”

One Comment

  1. So does that mean that community service goes along well with academic mediocrity?

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