As one of the academic deans, Dean Julie Plaut (she/her/hers) advises undergraduate students navigating the university, developing their distinctive educational paths and their goals beyond college. Also the Director of Engaged Scholarship in the Swearer Center, Dean Plaut consults with students seeking to connect their studies with community issues and partners, whether through structured programs (e.g., the Engaged Scholarship Certificate, Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship, Brown in Washington) or their own choices and commitments. She also supports faculty interested in community-engaged teaching and research, connecting people across campus with community priorities and critical resources. In every aspect of her work and life, she aims to contribute to purposeful, loving, liberatory, learning spaces.
Dean Plaut was born in Providence but grew up primarily in Blacksburg, Virginia, with shorter stints in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Hamburg, Germany. She earned her B.A. in Urban Studies at Stanford University, then an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Indiana University, where she helped establish and lead the campus office for community partnerships and taught community-engaged courses in American Studies. Then based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for nineteen years, she led a higher education coalition dedicated to democratic community engagement and collaborated with nonprofit organizations focused on educational equity, community organizing, and racial justice.