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Baltimore Sun highlights UMBC’s focus on empowering students as leaders, partners, and community-builders

UMBC is a “hub of diversity and commitment,” said David Hoffman, assistant director of student life for civic agency. “We are preparing students to change the world for the better by teaching them to think critically and envision themselves a co-creators of community. That starts with the campus community.” Continue reading Baltimore Sun highlights UMBC’s focus on empowering students as leaders, partners, and community-builders

David Hoffman, Student Life, Outlines Attributes for Civic Engagement on American Democracy Project

When the American Democracy Project met in New Orleans last month, founder George Mehaffy described some early civic engagement efforts as “marginal, episodic, and celebratory.” David Hoffman, assistant director of student life for civic agency, responded to Mehaffy’s comments by suggesting language to describe positive attributes of civic learning and democratic engagement efforts. “We need equally clear and concise language to describe the positive attributes of profoundly valuable and impactful civic learning and democratic engagement efforts,” Hoffman wrote on the American Democracy Project’s website. He proposed four attributes that should describe civic engagement efforts, including integral, relational, organic, and generative. … Continue reading David Hoffman, Student Life, Outlines Attributes for Civic Engagement on American Democracy Project

David Hoffman, Student Life, Considers Higher Education’s Future in Zocalo Public Square

Zocalo Public Square, a non-profit website specializing in humanities journalism, recently invited scholars to describe the ideal 21st century university. David Hoffman, assistant director of student life for civic agency, responded with an article emphasizing the need for universities to become spaces for discourse and action in order to remain relevant in society. In the article, Hoffman discussed UMBC’s response to the Baltimore protests in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death, noting that the campus teach-in focused on sharing knowledge to support construction action in a way that respected everyone’s stories and abilities to contribute. “That spirit of mutual respect … Continue reading David Hoffman, Student Life, Considers Higher Education’s Future in Zocalo Public Square

BreakingGround Initiatives Highlighted in Diversity & Democracy

Beverly Bickel, associate director of Language, Literacy and Culture doctoral program, Craig Berger, and David Hoffman, Student Life, were published in the latest edition of Diversity & Democracy, a publication by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. In the article, Bickel, Berger and Hoffman write about the democratic strands in UMBC’s history and how BreakingGround initiatives are fostering civic engagement and imaginative thinking. They describe how transparency and authenticity created spaces for positive contributions, saying “[BreakingGround’s] philosophy emphasized that individuals and collaborative groups are powerful agents of meaningful change, and that students deserve genuine respect as agents in their … Continue reading BreakingGround Initiatives Highlighted in Diversity & Democracy

David Hoffman, Student Life, Publishes Chapter in Democracy’s Education

David Hoffman, assistant director of student life for civic agency, wrote a chapter in the recently published Democracy’s Education: Public Work, Citizenship and the Future of Colleges and Universities. The book challenges educators to rethink the meaning of citizenship and education. Hoffman’s chapter, entitled “Fostering Civic Agency by Making Education (and Ourselves) ‘Real,’” describes the philosophy of BreakingGround, a collaborative approach to innovative campus and community engagement at UMBC. Hoffman draws on his research and experience at UMBC, focusing on students who gained civic agency by causing meaningful change on campus through launching new organizations and engaging in purposeful conversations. … Continue reading David Hoffman, Student Life, Publishes Chapter in Democracy’s Education

UMBC’s BreakingGround Featured in AASCU Monograph

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) released a new monograph entitled Becoming a Steward of Place: Four Areas of Institutional Focus. A section of the publication focuses on civic learning and engagement and uses UMBC’s BreakingGround as a model for creating seamless learning environments. “BreakingGround [is] a campus-wide initiative uniting students, faculty and staff in fostering changes in the academic curriculum, co-curricular activities and campus culture,” the report states. “Students taking BreakingGround courses, participating in BreakingGround programs, and sharing stories on the BreakingGround website are learning to: think entrepreneurially about social challenges, work collectively to bridge differences, … Continue reading UMBC’s BreakingGround Featured in AASCU Monograph

UMBC, Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business Establish Kiva U Chapters With Grants from OneMain Financial

UMBC and Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management are establishing Kiva U microfinance programs, made possible by grants from OneMain Financial, that will offer loans to local and global communities in need. The $25,000 grants will make UMBC and Loyola’s Sellinger School the first two formally designated Kiva U chapters in Maryland. Kiva U seeks to engage students and educators in a global effort to expand financial inclusion, foster community, and have a tangible positive impact on issues that matter to them. UMBC is quickly building a national reputation as a hub for scholars committed to making … Continue reading UMBC, Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business Establish Kiva U Chapters With Grants from OneMain Financial

UMBC video documentaries in The Baltimore Sun capture voice, history of Sparrows Point steelworkers

In a gripping Baltimore Sun feature story on the lives of former steel mill workers after the closing of Sparrows Point, video documentaries from the UMBC project “Documenting Cultural Heritage in Partnership with Communities” (supported by BreakingGround) offer important first-person perspectives on life and work in the community. UMBC students interviewed former mill employees while learning about oral and audiovisual storytelling and documentation. The steelworkers shared their stories of working at the mill, the impact the Sparrows Point closure has had on the community, and the future of the industry locally and nationally. Bill Shewbridge (New Media Studio) and Michelle … Continue reading UMBC video documentaries in The Baltimore Sun capture voice, history of Sparrows Point steelworkers

Baltimore Sun Features UMBC Faculty, Students in Front-Page BreakingGround Story

Today’s Baltimore Sun features a front-page story about students in two UMBC courses shedding light on the human side of Baltimore’s industrial past. The students, guided by New Media Studio director Bill Shewbridge and American Studies folklorist in residence Michelle Stefano, are helping tell the stories of steelworkers from the now-defunct Sparrows Point Steel Mill, which once employed thousands. The mill has been shuttered and is being sold for scrap. The oral history project is supported by a BreakingGround course development grant. The article also describes several other BreakingGround courses and projects through which people from UMBC are solving problems and working … Continue reading Baltimore Sun Features UMBC Faculty, Students in Front-Page BreakingGround Story

Kaylesh Ramu ’13, Political Science, in Education Week Blog

Earlier this week, UMBC SGA President Kaylesh Ramu ’13, political science, shared the stage with the U.S. Under Secretary of Education and other leaders at the National Press Club as they launched Shaping Our Future, a new national civic engagement initiative (watch video). Education Week covered the event, quoting Ramu on the role of college students as active agents of change in their communities, on campus and beyond. “We are starting to have a culture change and understand that we all bring about what is UMBC,” said Ramu, describing the ethos that grounds UMBC’s new BreakingGround initiative, which launched last … Continue reading Kaylesh Ramu ’13, Political Science, in Education Week Blog

UMBC’s New BreakingGround Initiative in the Baltimore Sun

“On campus, the good side of politics” is new Baltimore Sun op-ed written by David Hoffman, UMBC Assistant Director of Student Life for Civic Agency, and SGA President Kaylesh Ramu ’13, political science. Hoffman and Ramu offer hope to readers who are “understandably skeptical about politics and public life” in this time of government gridlock and discord. They write that at UMBC, “students are helping lead the way to a new kind of politics that bridges difference and strengthens communities.” The piece goes on to explore the civic engagement work underway at UMBC—carried forward by the BreakingGround initiative—as well as … Continue reading UMBC’s New BreakingGround Initiative in the Baltimore Sun

UMBC Student Government in Huffington Post

This week’s Huffington Post article “Owning Yes We Can” highlights the inspiring work of UMBC’s Student Government Association (SGA), which the authors call “a national model…of student organizing and empowerment.” They focus on SGA’s successful effort this spring to organize student opposition to state budget cuts that would have led to a dramatic tuition increase. “Many would not have been able to stay in school with 15-20 percent increases in tuition expenses,” explained SGA member Meghan Carpenter. “I am so proud of what students from different organizations were able to start. We showed that students can make a change not … Continue reading UMBC Student Government in Huffington Post

U.S. Dept of Education Report Highlights UMBC’s Prove It!

The new U.S. Department of Education report “Advancing Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy” recognizes UMBC’s Prove It! as a unique initiative at the forefront the higher ed’s emerging civic learning movement. Prove It! is a campus-wide contest that funds student-led efforts to improve the university, such as projects to create a campus wi-fi plaza and convert waste oil into fuel for campus vehicles. This initiative is a hallmark of our Student Government Association’s focus on inspiring peers to become citizen leaders and problem-solvers in their own right. The report notes that Prove It! demonstrates how UMBC “transformed its student … Continue reading U.S. Dept of Education Report Highlights UMBC’s Prove It!