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Campus & Community

College Park Scholars to Launch Data Justice, Civic Engagement Programs

CIVICUS Renamed in Shift Under Scholars’ Umbrella

By Kenisha L. Rhone

five members of CIVICUS work on farm

CIVICUS, whose students are shown volunteering in September, will relaunch next fall as Civic Engagement for Social Good in College Park Scholars. That and the addition of Data Justice will bring the number of Scholars programs to 13.

Photo courtesy of CIVICUS via Facebook

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 community.

“These new programs will enhance our ability to serve students with a variety of academic interests and professional goals,” said Marilee Lindemann, Scholars’ executive director. “Scholars has always been about supporting students in learning how to succeed in the classroom and in life, and these additions to our offerings will carry that legacy forward.”

More than 1,000 students are welcomed each year to Scholars’ acclaimed living-learning programs—where students share a residence hall as well as an academic interest. U.S. News & World Report ranks UMD eighth (tied with Princeton) among colleges and universities offering learning communities to foster a successful undergraduate student experience.

"The Data Justice and Civic Engagement for Social Good programs create new opportunities for College Park Scholars to explore urgent, contemporary issues,” said William A. Cohen, associate provost and dean for undergraduate studies. “Both programs exemplify the principles and values of engaged learning and interdisciplinary scholarship as fundamental to student success.”

Data Justice, sponsored by the College of Information Studies, will empower students to explore data collection, design, analysis, and use—equipping students with tools for a wide variety of careers that aim to make the world a better place through information.

“Gaining advanced skills in information collection will benefit Data Justice students in research endeavors across their future academic and career pursuits, such as skills in search mastery, ethical use of data, coding data in sociotechnical systems, and data analysis,” said Andrew Fellows, faculty specialist at the College of Information Studies, who will serve as the inaugural director of the program.

“The Data Justice program will be an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students interested in information science, computer science, the social sciences, journalism, business, policy and more,” said Keith Marzullo, the college’s dean.

Sponsored by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Civic Engagement for Social Good will retain its predecessor’s commitments to community service-learning, leadership, community building in a diverse society, scholarship and citizenship. According to program leaders, coming under the Scholars umbrella will help it to grow and foster collaborations with programs that have similar aims and values.

“Our program has a long history of students committed to making positive change on campus and its surrounding communities,” said Korey Rothman, who has directed CIVICUS since 2017 and will now lead its successor. “We come to Scholars with a strong foundation and look forward to a vibrant future.”

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