PL Final

Public Leadership

Examining today's events to develop tomorrow's leaders

Introduction

As a nation and as a world, we face multiple urgent challenges, from unemployment to climate change. How might our differing perspectives play into how we address these problems? And how do we assess what could work, and why?

Public Leadership (PL) focuses on current events and policy issues to explore the theory and practice of leadership. Students are encouraged to use their own leadership skills to address pressing social, political, environmental and economic problems. They explore:

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

Through panels, debates, role-playing, group discussion 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 public matters. Personal and professional development are also integrated into the curriculum: Students will develop their writing and presentation skills; learn negotiation fundamentals; and accurately assess 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

  • Leadership and social change application
  • Negotiation and conflict resolution
  • Persuasion and motivation
  • Understanding leadership strengths in yourself and others 

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 U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the U.S. Capitol and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts;
  • Experience professional development seminars and speaker events; and
  • Participate in a team-based grant-making experience, where they seek grant proposals from campus student organizations 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 on Congressional committees, for local nonprofits, in the Student Legal Aid office 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
Freshman Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Public Leaders and Active Citizens 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 9–12 credits
Freshman Spring Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Academic Writing 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements 9–12 credits
Sophomore Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Oral Communications Course (may be taken during any of the 4 semesters) 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 9–12 credits
Sophomore Spring Scholars Practicum 3 credits
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including oral communications course if not already completed) 12–15 credits

Sponsoring College

School of Public Policy

Residence Hall

Cumberland Hall

Office Address

1120 Cumberland Hall

Office Phone

301-405-3013

Staff

Portrait of Susannah Washburn

Susannah Washburn

Program Director, Public Leadership
Portrait of Kelly Brower

Kelly Brower

Program Coordinator, Media, Self and Society/Public Leadership
Portrait of Katie Morton

Katie Morton

Graduate Assistant, Public Leadership

Public Leadership News

  • Scholars Recognizes 2019 Citation, Founders Circle Award Winners

    In 2017, College Park Scholars welcomed more than 800 freshmen to what would become its 24th citation class, the Scholars Class of 2019. All who successfully completed the requirements of their 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.

  • ‘All-in’ Public Leadership Alum Offers Lessons for Other Scholars

    Katie Bemb hadn’t intended on becoming a Terp. As a high school senior, she applied to the University of Maryland (UMD) regular decision but was strongly considering another university in the Washington, DC, metro area. That inclination began to change after her best friend—who had applied early action to UMD—got accepted into College Park Scholars. Students who apply early action are automatically considered for the living–learning program.

  • Scholars Alums Honored at 2018 Citation Awards

    More than a thousand College Park Scholars arrived on campus in fall 2016, the largest freshman class in Scholars history. This citation class went on to make an impact across the community, including raising a record-setting $19,315 for charities in the Scholars Cup competition. On Friday, Sept. 24, College Park Scholars celebrated this class with our annual Citation Awards Ceremony.