Brown University
Public Policy
Alan Harlam

Alan Harlam
+1 401 480 1190
Swearer Center, 25 George Street


Alan Harlam

Adjunct Lecturer in International and Public Affairs
Director of Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, Swearer Center

Areas of Interest: Social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, innovation, human-centered design.


Alan Harlam directs the Social Innovation Initiative (SII) at Brown’s Swearer Center for Public Service. SII reaches hundreds of students and alumni each year with programs that support students who are learning about social innovation, launching their own ventures, and crafting lives and careers of impact. He currently co-teaches Social Entrepreneurship and Leading Social Ventures, two undergraduate courses for students with an interest in those areas.

Harlam’s work as a social entrepreneur is informed by twenty years as a consultant, turnaround manager, and community volunteer. Before coming to Brown, he launched a workforce development social enterprise at Amos House in Providence. Harlam is an active leader in the community and currently serves as board chair at City Year Providence and vice chair at Social Enterprise Greenhouse.


PLCY 1910 Social Entrepreneurship

This course engages students in identifying significant global problems and innovative solutions that drive social change. The course helps students understand some of the strategies that social entrepreneurs employ to create high-impact ventures, highlighting unique models for social problem-solving that offer bold solutions to complex and entrenched societal issues.

PLCY 1701Q Leading Social Ventures

This course is an action-learning course for students who are leading social ventures. Students will apply educational content to a specific venture in the early stages of development. Students will gain knowledge, analytical competence, and skills relevant to social venture development.  The teaching method is interactive and experiential and assumes that students are highly motivated to be part of an active learning community.

News|Recent News

Jyoti Sharma

Jyoti Sharma Named Social Entrepreneur in Residence

December 1, 2015

Recently the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy and the Swearer Center for Public Service announced that they will welcome Jyoti Sharma as as a Taubman fellow and Brown's first social entrepreneur in residence for the spring 2016 semester. Sharma is the founder of FORCE, a New Delhi-based nonprofit that works on issues of water security and sanitation, civic engagement, and sustainable development. We recently caught up with her to get her insight into social entrepreneurship and why she’s passionate about empowering local communities to manage their own water conservation and sanitation.


How Engaged Learning Can Invigorate Higher Education (by Alan Harlam)

March 27, 2015

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy Alan Harlam on Footnote: "By integrating activities in and out of the classroom into a comprehensive learning experience, engaged scholarship enhances learning and better prepares students to pursue their passions and career goals after graduation."