College Park Scholars

Public Leadership

About the Program

Public Leadership enables students to become social change agents who provide ethically based leadership from local to global levels, through hands-on public service projects and deliberation on pressing social, political and economic problems.

Public Leadership is defined as “the inspiration and mobilization of others to undertake collective action in pursuit of the common good[1].”  Public Leadership students are committed to using their leadership skills to address pressing social, political and economic problems.

The mission of the College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program is to develop social change agents who provide ethically based leadership from the local to the global level.  This mission includes students with interests from every sector, be it government, for-profit or non-profit, working together to make a sustainable difference in our community.  The Public Leadership Program prepares students with a set of skills that will serve them in every aspect of their adult lives. In particular, Public Leadership students:

  1. Become informed citizens able to reason critically and persuasively about public matters.
  2. Learn diverse approaches to leadership and citizenship in a multicultural society.
  3. Explore and assess personal values, beliefs, and purpose as they develop their own leadership potential.
  4. Form an ethical vision and utilize effective leadership tools to pursue it.
  5. Learn and practice effective means of improving communities from the local to the global level. 

Curriculum and Activities

Coursework includes both the theory and practice of leadership.  All courses include active learning, real examples, and real projects in order for students to apply what they have learned.  In addition to interesting and challenging coursework, the PL program provides a variety of engaging field trips, professional development seminars, and speaker events.  All students are able to participate in the College Park Scholars Service Day and PL in New York trip, which offers an exciting way to bond with peers and apply PL themes.  PL students also have the opportunity to pursue an individual leadership practicum such as an internship, research project or study abroad. 


During the second year, students participate in a team-based capstone experience that uses the skills developed in the program to create and implement consulting projects addressing real issues in our community.  Teams of students can either work with an existing organization or create their own.  These projects allow students to apply skills related to leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship to make an impact on a social issue or problem of their choice. The project also includes an opportunity to effectively raise, manage and deploy real funds to achieve social impact.

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. Public Leadership is sponsored by the School of Public Policy.

pl citation Class of 2014Congratulations to our Citation Class of 2014!

[1] Bryson, J. M., & Crosby, B. (1992). Leadership for the common good. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


College Park Scholars

1125 Cumberland Hall, 4145 Valley Dr., University of Maryland,
College Park, MD 20742.
Ph 301.314.CPSP (2777), Fax 301.314.9843, Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  || College Park Scholars is a program of Undergraduate Studies

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