Feb. 8, 2022
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Illinois Institute of Technology, LeMoyne-Owen College, Northeastern University, Stillman College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst join PIT-UN institutions in commitment to a strong on-campus public interest technology framework and to development of the public interest technology field.
Washington, D.C. — New America is pleased to announce five new member institutions have joined the Public Interest Technology University Network: the Illinois Institute of Technology, LeMoyne-Owen College, Northeastern University, Stillman College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Since 2019, members of PIT-UN have offered career pathway models for practitioners-in-training and have supported faculty in their efforts to recognize public interest technology as an emerging discipline. Today, the network has grown to 48 member institutions across the United States.
The five new member universities will undertake a range of innovative work, including interdisciplinary research on implicit bias; advocating for ethical and equitable approaches in computation, modeling, and design; building a public interest technology hub for historically Black colleges or universities in the South; and more. To date, PIT-UN has invested $11.6 million in projects to build a skilled and diverse pipeline of public interest technology practitioners and researchers. PIT-UN members have developed 10 new public interest technology institutes and labs to facilitate interdisciplinary research and teaching, created 21 fellowships and communities of practice to share knowledge and best practices, and offered more than 60 new or reimagined courses under the public interest technology umbrella that have begun to shape clear degree pathways.
“Now in our third year as a formal network, I am thrilled to welcome the Illinois Institute of Technology, LeMoyne-Owen College, Northeastern University, Stillman College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to PIT-UN’s community of educators, practitioners, and technologists. Each of these new members will contribute to a growing body of research and best practices in the field of public interest technology. I am particularly encouraged by the growth of our network at a time when the members of PIT-UN have reaffirmed their commitment to place a specific and sustained focus on equity, inclusion, and justice in our work,” said Andreen Soley, director of the Public Interest Technology program at New America.
PIT-UN is convened by New America, the Ford Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation. The network and challenge grants are funded through the support of the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Mastercard Impact Fund, with support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, The Raikes Foundation, Schmidt Futures and The Siegel Family Endowment.
“A world where the technology used by the public is co-created with the public is a vision we share at Mastercard,” said Shamina Singh, Founder and President of the Center for Inclusive Growth. “It’s critical that the collaborative approach of public interest technology is focused on equity and inclusion to ensure that access to opportunity is open to everyone, everywhere.”
Additionally, New America celebrates the recommitment of 43 member institutions to PIT-UN at a meeting of university presidents and provosts late last year. These universities have reaffirmed their commitment to building the field of public interest technology, growing the Network, and continuing efforts to align technology with the highest social good. As a network of educational institutions preparing a new generation of civic-minded technologists and digitally fluent policy leaders, PIT-UN members committed to:
- Center race, equity, and diversity within PIT
- Deepen our commitment to equity and justice
- Engage and collaborate intentionally
- Create mechanisms to receive recognition
- Leverage existing education programs and resources
- Continue to support experiential learning opportunities
- Establish new cross-institutional projects and programs
Since its inception, PIT-UN has worked to advance the field of public interest technology in order to bring positive impact to communities around the globe. A renewed commitment to centering equity, inclusion, and justice will ensure that the communities most affected by policy problems will have access to the developmental pipeline and the resources to craft policy solutions.
“Public interest technology provides a framework to center diversity and inclusion in our efforts to educate the next generation of civic-minded technologists, as well as technologically fluent humanists and social scientists, as we generate solutions for a more equitable future,” said Sheryl Ehrman, Don Beall Dean of the College of Engineering at San Jose State University.
The Public Interest Technology University Network is a partnership of 48 colleges and universities convened by New America, the Ford Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation. The network and challenge grants are funded through the support of the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Mastercard Impact Fund, with support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, The Raikes Foundation, Schmidt Futures and The Siegel Family Endowment. PIT-UN is dedicated to building the field of public interest technology through curriculum development, faculty research opportunities, and experiential learning programs, in order to inspire a new generation of civic-minded technologists and policy leaders.