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Public Interest Technology

Colleges Form Network to Support Public Interest Tech

A group of 21 colleges and universities are coming together to advance and shape public advancements in technology to serve the public good.

Georgetown University is leading a group of 21 colleges and universities to create the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN). The group's efforts will revolve around boosting the emerging field of public interest technology through scholarships, new courses and research collaborations.

PIT-UN is funded by the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation and New America. Participating universities include Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Tech, Harvard University, Howard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkley.

"Public interest technology, with its roots in the fundamental concept of common good, reflects our mission and commitment to social justice," said Georgetown Provost Robert Groves. "The network will help us bring together legal and policy experts, computer scientists, ethicists and others to find shared solutions to specific policy problems and deepen our cross-disciplinary work in this area."

Each of the colleges participating is asked to include at least one of the five elements in their work on campus:

  1. Supporting the curriculum and faculty development to enable inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary education of students;
  2. Developing experiential learning opportunities with public and private sector partners in the public interest technology space;
  3. Finding ways to support graduates who pursue careers working in public interest technology while recognizing that financial considerations may make careers in this area unaffordable to many;
  4. Creating mechanisms for faculty to receive recognition for research, curriculum development, teaching and service work to build public interest technology as an arena of inquiry; and
  5. Providing institutional data to allow for the measurement of the effectiveness of the interventions in order to develop a field of study in public interest technology.

More information about PIT-UN can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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