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Public Leadership

Changing the world through effective, ethical leadership

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Introduction

As a nation and as a world, we face multiple urgent challenges, from social inequalities to climate change. How do we assess what could work, and why? How might our differing identities and perspectives impact how we shape our solutions?

Public Leadership (PL) focuses on developing and strengthening students’ leadership and life skills so that they can use their talents to address social, political, environmental, and economic problems in their local and global community. We use current events and policy issues to explore the theory and practice of leadership. PL Scholars explore:

  • Different models of leadership, citizenship and social change;
  • Forms of persuasion and power and how to use them effectively;
  • Ethical approaches to decision-making and negotiation; and
  • Life and career development skills.

Through panels, debates, simulations, case studies, group discussions, long-term projects, and dialogue with guest speakers, PL students become informed citizens able to engage in a healthy discussion of issues and reason critically and persuasively about community matters. Personal and professional development are also integrated into the curriculum: Students will advance their writing, communication, and presentation skills; practice negotiation fundamentals; and discover and develop their own leadership styles and strengths.

PL welcomes students of all majors who are committed to developing their leadership skills in pursuit of the common good.

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • Understanding leadership strengths in yourself and others
  • Leadership and social change application
  • Communicating across differing values and identities
  • Time management and coping with stress

Joining the PL program was one of the best decisions I made at Maryland. Because of PL, many career opportunities opened for me that otherwise would have been a long shot, and the floormates I lived with in the PL dorms are some of the best friends I've made at UMD.

Amir Kalantary
Amir Kalantary '22

Other Learning Opportunities

Located near the nation's capital, the state capital and a large international diplomatic community, the University of Maryland is an ideal setting for examining and growing public leadership. Students:

  • Take engaging field trips, such as to the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts;
  • Experience professional development seminars and speaker events; and
  • Engage in a team-based grant-making experience, where they seek grant proposals from nonprofits in the capital region serving an identified social issue, evaluate proposals and award grants with actual funding from the Do Good Institute.

Finally, through the program’s practicum requirement, students gain valuable professional experience that allows them to leverage their newly learned communications and leadership evaluation skills in their field of choice. Past students have interned in a wide variety of career fields including: on Congressional committees; for local nonprofits; in the Student Legal Aid office; for large tech and finance organizations; and even engaged in research in labs on and off campus.

Curriculum Overview

Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will complete a 3-credit oral communication course that will count toward their PL Scholars citation and General Education requirements. Note that your Scholars courses will generally be in addition to any courses you take to satisfy major requirements.

The following table represents a typical two-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the PL Citation Checklist.

SEMESTER COURSE CREDITS
Semester 1 CPPL 100: Colloquium I (DVCC) 1 credit
PLCY 201S: Public Leaders and Active Citizens (SCIS, DSHS or DSSP) 3 credits
Semester 2 CPPL 101: Colloquium II 1 credit
Semester 3 CPPL 200: Colloquium III 1 credit
Semester 3 or 4 Practicum (var. Gen Ed) 3 credits
Semester 1, 2, 3, or 4 Oral Communication Course (FSOC) 3 credits

Sponsoring College

School of Public Policy

Office Address

1120 Cumberland Hall

Office Phone

301-405-3013

Faculty

Portrait of Susannah Washburn

Susannah Washburn

Program Director, Public Leadership
Portrait of Kelly Brower

Kelly Brower

Assistant Director, Public Leadership

News and Notes, Etc.


Public Leadership News

Showing 1 - 6 of 26
  • Two More Programs Added to Scholars for 2024-25

    COLLEGE PARK, MD. – College Park Scholars in Fall 2024 will add two programs to its roster of two-year living-learning experiences for academically talented students, but one will look and sound familiar.Data Justice will debut, and the University of Maryland’s CIVICUS program will relaunch with a new name: Civic Engagement for Social Good.The expansion will bring the number of Scholars programs to a record of 13 and provide 150 additional first-year students with the opportunity to begin their college journeys as members of an intellectually rich and socially vibrant Scholars community.

  • Scholars Celebrates Citation and Founders Circle Award Winners at Annual Ceremony

    When the Citation class of 2023 entered the University of Maryland, they were already adjusting to a rapidly changing world being constantly reshaped by the Covid-19 global pandemic. One thing that didn’t change – their commitment to excellence in the classroom. All who successfully completed the requirements of their respective Scholars program received their official Scholars citation. But there were some that went above and beyond the expectations, leaving a lasting impact on the community.

  • 'Cheese' The Day

    The following article originally appeared in Maryland Today: As a kid, Kara McGrath ’13 had to have her “pocket cheese”—string cheese she shoved, at her mother’s dismay, into every jacket and pant so she could have it on the go. In college, she blew her budget on fancy fromage during grocery runs with roommates. And when she got married in 2018, she served her guests a flowery, four-tiered cake made not from red velvet or buttercream, but wheels of Manchego, blue cheese and Harbison.

  • Scholars recognizes Citation Class of 2022, Founders Circle Award winners

    Students in College Park Scholars’s Citation Class of 2022 began their University of Maryland (UMD) careers in the fall of 2020, under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. They spent their first year almost entirely online: Some Zoomed into their program colloquium from their double-turned-single dorm rooms; others attended virtually from their families’ homes, away from campus.

  • UMD Grant Initiative Bolsters Scholars Curricula With Additional Experiential Learning

    Hands-on, active learning has always been a hallmark of College Park Scholars. Thanks to new grants from the University of Maryland (UMD), some Scholars programs will expand upon those traditions with more resources and support. The grants come from UMD’s campuswide Teaching and Learning Innovation Grants initiative, which is providing significant funds—up to tens of thousands of dollars in some cases—for innovative educational projects that focus on active and experiential learning.

  • 4 Scholars Among the Freshman Cohort Spotlighted in Maryland Today

    College Park Scholars students are an impressive bunch, and this year's entering cohort is no exception. Four Scholars students were among the handful of first-year Terps profiled in today's issue of "Maryland Today," the University of Maryland's daily newsletter: Marcus Barros, Public Leadership Aidan Borden, Media, Self and Society Shonchori Mukherjee, International Studies Sayee Naresh, Media, Self and Society

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