The School of Professional Studies (SPS) magnifies Brown’s reach and visibility and its impact with new forms of education. SPS creates opportunities for students with career experience to invest in their future, responds to their goals and enhances their ability to make a difference in the world. Accomplished executives from businesses and industries of all types, especially those in healthcare, cybersecurity, science and technology, choose Brown’s executive programs. They gain cutting-edge knowledge, develop nuanced perspectives, hone their leadership skills and prepare to take on tough challenges in their workplace and spheres of influence.
Each year hundreds of undergraduates deepen their knowledge and sharpen their thinking in Summer Session courses on campus and online, an option of increasing interest to students and faculty. Again last summer thousands of pre-college students experienced the excitement of college-level learning and expanded their vision of the world and their place in it through our 300-plus courses on campus and online and our on-site programs around the world.
SPS convenes students with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experience who enrich Brown’s learning community and inspire their peers to be agents of change. In her 2017 commencement speech, President Paxson challenged Brown’s graduates to “live courageously”, to break down divisions reverberating around the world and to act with “fierce determination to do the right thing and to help others.” We urge our students to live up to this challenge and we see their passion to have a positive impact in their academic and career accomplishments.
At SPS we aim to be courageous, to question and to be disruptive; we aim to inspire innovation and to help others reach their goals. We change the world because our students do. We provide them outstanding educational opportunities and encourage rigorous examination of evidence and ideas, prompting them to be ambitious in seeking to solve problems large and small. It is our job to create, to convene and to catalyze. It is our job to identify and recruit skilled educators who prepare a path so students can imagine and build the future.
SPS expands its impact by supporting new endeavors in the interest of the University. We are helping to develop BrownX so the faculty can experience a new educational paradigm that enables global learners to experience some of Brown’s best in free, non-credit courses online. We support our faculty and faculty of the practice to teach very different student populations in new format programs that yield exciting outcomes for all. We are advancing diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our work, from student recruitment to curricular enhancement and with attention to the environment in which we work, learn and engage. This year I was honored to be named vice chair of the Department of Education where our work is supporting faculty-led innovation in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. As a continuous improvement enterprise, SPS is investing in the future and helping to design the Wexford Innovation Center, a new Jewelry District building that will house SPS, the Cambridge Innovation Center and others in mid-2019.
SPS is investing to magnify the impact of education. Every day we are inspired by our colleagues who share this important mission and by our students’ drive and accomplishments.
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives
Dean, School of Professional Studies and Vice Chair, Department of Education
Undergraduate and graduate students from Brown and other universities and select pre-baccalaureate students earn college credit in Summer Session. Students expand their knowledge, discover new interests and complete courses on campus or online.
Brown’s Environmental Leadership Lab students travel to southcentral Alaska where the Cook Inlet Tribal Council and Kenai Peninsula College introduce them to the beauty and complexities of life in Alaska. They explore issues Alaskans face balancing cultural and environmental preservation with economic growth. Students create action plans for positive change on environmental issues locally and globally.
Students become coastal ecologists on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, doing field work on Save the Bay’s educational vessels and collecting data on habitat diversity, water quality, bay taxonomy and plankton ecology. By studying the salt marsh, rocky shore and sandy beach, they assess the health of the bay and are introduced to marine biology, environmental science and ecology.
Students experience the art and science of medical education, enter the lab to explore human physiology and anatomy and step into doctor’s shoes to consider pathologies, diagnostic approaches and the ethical issues of treatment options. They try new skills interviewing and examining a ‘standardized’ patient (an actor trained as a patient) and learn from current Brown University medical students.
Can social and political reform ensure that all are free to participate in a democratic society or is revolution sometimes needed? What is revolution? What is reform? Students explore the rise and practice of democracy from ancient Athens through the modern period. Considering the work of Locke, Rousseau, Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglas, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill and others, they form their own views on democracy, revolution and reform.
Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are the last line of defense against a worldwide pandemic. Pre-college students examine the challenge of fighting drug-resistant diseases, viruses and microorganisms that can outmaneuver the best medical care and learn biotechnology, microbiology and virology in the lab and on location at CDC in Atlanta.
What do mathematicians do? What questions do they ask? What tools do they use? Pre-college students find out by grappling with prime numbers, probability in real world situations, models of infectious diseases, fair division of resources in various contexts and other problems. They need no coding experience to learn Matlab, a programming environment used by scientists and mathematicians.
Brown and 130 other leading institutions partner in edX, a non-profit learning destination serving millions of learners around the world with free, online courses. Two BrownX courses launched in summer 2017.
Learn how our personal and collective memories evolve over time, and why memory and memorializing matter in The Ethics of Memory with Ravit Reichman, PhD, Associate Professor of English.
Discover how the medical community harnesses the power of art and empathy to improve patient care in Artful Medicine: Art’s Power to Enrich Patient Care with Fred Schiffman, MD, Sigal Family Professor of Humanistic Medicine and Vice Chair, Department of Medicine, Warren Alpert School of Medicine.
Hear from Dilma Rousseff, former President of Brazil, in How do gender stereotypes affect women in politics? This April 2017 interview was produced for the Choices’ curriculum unit, Brazil: A History of Change, and is part of a free educational video resource used by teachers and students, featuring over 1,700 videos across a range of Choices curricula.
Consider the importance and impact of historical memory in History in Dispute: Charlottesville and Confederate Monuments.