Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility held accountable by project committees

We are delighted that the Phoenix brought attention last week to the new class of Lang Opportunity Scholars and their projects. We are proud of the projects’ potential, and the projects of current and previous Lang Scholars.

We write now to provide clarifying information regarding points made in the week’s editorial about the program.

All Lang Scholars are required, from the first step of application, to be connected to and knowledgeable about the communities with which they propose to collaborate. For some students, that knowledge and commitment is tied to and with the area surrounding Swarthmore, particularly for those students who reside locally or who have been deeply involved in the area during their first year. Other students have the most extensive knowledge about and strongest commitments to their home communities elsewhere in the U.S. or around the world, and possess prior practical experience in other places, not in their new and temporary residence at college.

All Lang Scholars are required to approach their projects with communities’ own thorough assessments first in mind, and to articulate measures of success and plans for sustained engagement.

All Lang Scholars are guided and held accountable by a Project Committee created for each Scholar separately, consisting of faculty, staff, and Lang Scholar alumni. Lang Scholars are required to submit original receipts and a log of expenses, to write reports about their projects and internships, and to provide public presentations. Such measures ensure that the funds allocated to Scholars are accounted for, and that the implementation of each project is followed by an evaluation to ascertain their effects.

The Lang Scholar Program is itself evaluated every five years by an external reviewer. The previous review resulted in a full report called “The Retrospective” and is available to all. The next LOS program review is coming up this March through June, beginning with the visit of a consultant from Middlebury College. All are enthusiastically encouraged to participate.

In addition, the Phoenix editors and all interested students, faculty and staff are also invited to be in conversation at any time with Lang Center staff and with Lang Scholars themselves; to review the information about Scholars and their projects on the Lang Center website; and to read the 66-page Lang Opportunity Scholar Handbook, the Lang Center’s Annual Reports, and the Lang Opportunity Scholar program Retrospective evaluation report.

Joy Charlton is the executive director of the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and professor of sociology.

Jennifer Magee is the associate director for student programs and special projects at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.


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