Robert E. Brown

Robert E. Brown

Associate Director, Center for Community and Economic Development


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Robert E. Brown is an associate director of the Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED), Michigan State University Outreach and Engagement. He brokers, facilitates, and participates in university/community partnerships that are scholarly, community-based, collaborative, responsive, and capacity-building for the public good. Staffing the CCED Flint Office, Brown works with community partners across multiple sectors to:

  • Co-create systemic engagement platforms that link science and community wisdom for transformational change
  • Co-create collaborative platforms with action protocols - iterative, strategic action across community and academic networks
  • Frame and operationalize engagement within developmental and ecological contexts
  • Co-create collective impact by combining human development, community development, and economic development

Brown is a husband and father (his son Desmond is in the 5th grade), is a resident of the great city of Flint and, a Board Member of WOW Outreach. He is also a core team member of the national Strategic Doing Institute, and helped to found Neighborhoods Without Borders, a network of Flint folks working to dismantle systemic and institutional racism.

Brown has a master’s degree in public administration from Western Michigan University.

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Recent Publications

McNall, M. A., Brown, R. E., Barnes-Najor, J. V., Doberneck, D. M., & Fitzgerald, H. E. (2015). Systemic engagement: Universities as partners in systemic approaches to community change. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 19(1), 7-32.

Recent Reports

Brown R. (2012, May). Neighborhoods Without Borders: Strategic Doing case study. West Lafayette, IN: Strategic Doing National Design Team.

Brown, R. (2012, January). Infancy to Innovation whitepaper. Lansing, MI: Capital Area Infancy to Innovation.

Recent Presentations

  • (May 2016)

    Despair and hope: The story of Strategic Doing in Flint

    Brown, Robert E.

    Presented at the National Strategic Doing Conference

    University of North Alabama, Florence, Alabama

  • (September 2015)

    Systemic engagement: Universities as partners in systemic approaches to community change

    McNall, M., Barnes-Najor, J., Brown, R. E., Doberneck, D. M., & Fitzgerald, H. E.

    Paper presented at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium Annual Conference

    University Park, Pennsylvania

  • (December 2014)

    Supporting your tribe in creating effective teams to enhance native language and culture

    Barnes-Najor, J. V., Burnett, R., Kerver, J., Verdugo, M., Brown, R. E., Filimore, R., & Abramson, L.

    Workshop presented at the Honoring Our Commitments to Native Families and Communities: Today and Tomorrow (2014 ACF Grantee Conference)

    Washington, D.C.

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Current Projects