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School of Public Policy Joins Big Ten Civic Involvement Collaboration

By Maryland Today Staff

The University of Maryland is joining with the other policy schools in the Big Ten Conference to launch “Democracy in the 21st Century,” a collaboration to promote active civic education and engagement.

This initiative harnesses the diverse assets of the Big Ten community to develop educational programming for students, faculty, staff and local communities, and will culminate in an in-person conference hosted by UMD in Fall 2022.

“Our self-governed democracy needs new ideas and fresh perspectives,” said UMD School of Public Policy Dean Robert Orr. “When Big Ten students and scholars gather to discuss critical issues across vast geographic boundaries and from diverse backgrounds, we will all benefit from the knowledge they generate.”

Orr is leading the collaboration with Michael Barr of the Gerald R. Ford School at the University of Michigan and Trevor Brown of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University.

A working group of faculty, staff and students from across the conference has focused on five themes that the collaboration will focus on this academic year:

  • Voting access
  • The federal judiciary in the 21st century
  • Civics education
  • Challenges to democracies globally
  • Rural and urban environmental justice.

    Paul Brown, director of UMD’s Civic Innovation Center, is co-chairing the working group with Catherine Carver, who leads Michigan’s Democracy & Debate 2021-22 initiative.

    This collaboration resulted from interest sparked by the 2020 election to take on major challenges to democratic systems now and in the years ahead.

    “Universities are poised to address this challenge,” said Brown.

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