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PIT-UN Members

In 2019, New America’s Public Interest Technology program created the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN), a collaboration of universities and colleges. Members commit to the development of curricula, research agendas, and experiential learning programs in the public interest technology space. Any individual who is employed as faculty and staff at a member institution may be able to take advantage of the members-only opportunities listed.

Members are eligible to participate in a learning community of scholars and practitioners seeking to prepare civic-minded technologists and leaders; apply for grant funding opportunities (only open to Network members); and attendance at an annual convening to discuss shared challenges and goals; and access workshops and seminars to showcase the latest advancements in PIT, such as exclusive access to toolkits, training, and resources.

CLOSED REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

2023 PIT-UN Network Challenge

The Network Challenge is a grant program designed to seed and support initiatives that promote public interest in technology at the university level. The PIT University Network Challenge seeks to encourage new ideas, foster collaborations, and incentivize resource and information sharing among Network members.

PIT-UN Network Inquiry

Interest in PIT-UN has been overwhelming and we are temporarily pausing the expansion of our network. 

We anticipate re-launching our network engagements in Fall 2024 with a refined focus on areas of subject matter partnerships, and regional collaborations.  

At this time we are not accepting new membership applications.

How PIT-UN is Structured?

Learn how PIT-UN is structured to ensure network institutions tap into the full value of PIT-UN.

Universities and colleges can apply for membership every fall through the PIT-UN website. Becoming a member brings many benefits to Network schools, students, and faculties including educational and networking opportunities, information sharing, and guidance for institutions on how to further develop their PIT programs.

Membership Commitments

By joining PIT-UN, universities and colleges commit to field-building on campus and beyond. Members may choose to focus on some or all of these elements, in addition to other initiatives they deem relevant to establishing public interest technology as a field of study and education on campus:

  1. Supporting curriculum development to enable interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary education of students, so they can critically assess the ethical, political, and societal implications of new technologies and design and deploy technologies in service of values and for the public good.
    • Supporting transdisciplinary efforts and multidisciplinary teams in our institutions that foster engagement across disciplines to better define and tackle public interest problems.
  2. Developing experiential learning opportunities such as clinics, fellowships, apprenticeships, internships, and other collaborative offerings with public and private sector partners at the intersections of technology and the public interest.
  3. Finding new ways to encourage and support graduates who pursue careers working in public interest technology, recognizing that financial considerations and debt may make professional pursuits in these areas unaffordable to many students.
  4. Creating mechanisms for pre- and post-tenure faculty to participate and receive recognition for the research, curriculum development, teaching, and service work needed to build public interest technology as an arena of inquiry and training 
    • Examining the impact of current tenure standards on the ability to hire and retain public interest technologies and explore the possibility of creating new faculty structures.
  5. Providing institutional data that will allow us to measure the effectiveness of our interventions in helping to develop the field of public interest technology.
  6. Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in PIT activities by
    • Centering race, equity, and diversity within PIT programs and projects, leveraging the use of data and human-centered approaches to foster new solutions.
    • Deepening your commitment to equity and justice by investing in the capacity of current HBCU and HSI members as well as new MSI members entering our network.
    • Engaging and collaborating  intentionally with community organizations and local governments as agents of change by offering training and capacity building in public interest technology areas. 

 

Membership Benefits

As a part of the Public Interest Technology University Network, member institutions have a unique opportunity to shape the PIT landscape by:

  • Participating in a learning community of scholars and practitioners seeking to prepare civic-minded technologists and leaders. 
  • Applying for grant funding offered to Network members. 
  • Accessing workshops and seminars to showcase the latest advancements in PIT. 
  • Gaining complimentary registration and attendance by Network leads at the Annual Convening to discuss shared challenges and goals. 
 
 

Designees

Designees are the key players of PIT-UN. They serve as a single point of contact for a college or university within the Network and are tasked with representing and translating the member institution’s public interest technology goals both on campus and within PIT-UN.

Designees are also tasked with participating in the field-building activities and projects to further the PIT space.

Designees are identified and deputized by the university’s president, provost, or senior leadership, and must have the capacity and support needed to pursue their institution’s public interest goals in campus-wide activities and programming. They should also have the support of two or three faculty, staff and/or administrators with institutional mandate to pursue PIT within their departments and the university, overall.

Responsibilities of the Designees

  • Designees may elect to lead or serve on a  Working Group. A designee who cannot commit, can appoint another member of the member institution with the proper institutional mandate and decision capacity.
  • Designees and their teams, and any other participating faculty member, will help to facilitate the formal Annual Convening to discuss programmatic progress, lessons learned, future planning, and strategies for success with Network members. They also need to support their provost and presidents’ attendance at the convening as stated in their membership agreements.
  • Designees should aid in telling the stories of public interest technology by actively engaging with their institution’s public relations and marketing teams along with PIT-UN communication teams to highlight and celebrate researchers, faculty, and students advancing the field.

Other Designee Activities

  • Create channels of communication with the key departments in their institution to make sure all are on the same page about the institution’s approach to PIT.
  • Facilitate and track the identified field-building activities as outlined in the institution’s application to PIT-UN.
  • Keep PIT-UN abreast of the institution’s progress on field building activities via the quarterly calls, one-on-one meetings with the PIT-UN program manager, and year-end reports.
  • Aid PIT-UN as it engages the institution’s communications, development, and career services offices to tell successful PIT stories.
  • Identify fundraising opportunities to support public interest initiatives that cannot be funded through the Network Challenge and report on the career pathways of students and alumni from established and new PIT programs.
  • Ensure the institution’s submission of at least one application to the Network Challenge after a campus-wide application process.
  • Contribute to PIT-UN by personally partaking in the Standing Committees and Working Groups or nominate other institutional representatives to contribute to Working Groups.

 

Grantees

Our grantees are the winners of our Network Challenge, and as such they engage with the Network for the duration of their grants (12 months).

The grantees are introduced as a cohort at our Annual Convening. We require that they complete their grants as specified in their proposals, check in with the PIT-UN team, present at the Annual Convening during their grant year, and deliver their final report. Grantees are also members of the PIT University Network, and are encouraged to take part in all our Events and Communication Channels.

PIT-UN Working Groups explore key issues in building public interest technology as a field and offer recommendations, tools or strategies, policy or research papers for the PIT-UN to adopt or review. The Working Groups are tasked with piloting innovative ideas that can push the PIT space forward.

The working groups are set by the Governance Standing Committee and are tasked for a period of 12 months, starting on the Annual PIT-UN Convening and concluding on the next convening upon reporting their results. Designees or individuals from PIT-UN institutions can participate, but must commit to at least 12 months.

The Governance Standing Committee can also create Temporary Working Groups that will work on specific tasks that are important for the PIT-UN process. These could include a Convening-focused Working Group or Evaluation Committee Working Groups. 

Responsibilities of Working Group Leads

Each working group is led by a chair or co-chairs who have the following tasks:

  • Determine the scope of work that can be completed and presented by the group at each year’s annual convening;
  • Present the result of their work at the Annual PIT-UN Convening;
  • Document their meetings, projects and processes to establish a field building memory of the field.

Working groups meet every other month via conference calls or regional meetings, and their meetings are open for public observation. The meeting time will be posted in the PIT-UN Calendar and anyone can request admission to observe them.

PIT-UN Network Directory

PIT-UN Member Map

PIT-UN Network Commitments

As PIT-UN continues to build the field of public interest technology, we remain committed to growing our network and continuing our efforts to align technology with the highest social good. 

Member Application

Below are instructions for creating an account to start the application. Please direct questions regarding the online process or the development of your application to pituninfo@newamerica.org

  • The application process is open and closes on October 30, 2022. 
  • Select Create a New Account. This will prompt you to fill out a profile about your institution. Please create only one account per institution.
  • Once your profile is complete, you are now ready to apply to PIT-UN. 
  • You will have the option to apply for PITUN Membership or Affiliate membership. 
  • You can work on your application, save it, and return to it at any time. The system will auto-save every 10 seconds. You can download a copy of the 2023 PIT-UN Member Application or the 2023 PIT-UN Exploratory Experience Application to prepare your answers in advance.
  • The deadline for all submissions is October 30, 2022. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions during the submission process.

Membership Criteria


Provost/Presidential Level Support:
Senior leadership fully supports public interest technology as a priority area of the institution and the mission and can demonstrate a willingness to indicate how the institution’s mission and goals align with the aims of PIT-UN. Senior leadership within PIT-UN and to publicly support PIT initiatives that take place on the campus/university. The leadership support for members should be on the provosts and presidential level.

Designee and Team Support: Institutions can identify two to three faculty, staff and/or administrators who have been given the mandate to pursue PIT within their departments and across the university or college. The identification of a designee with the capacity to work across departments; a track record of delivering programs/services that align with PIT’s goals; and an ability to access a team of other individuals across the institution who can support PIT and PIT-UN including university communications, student career services, or development.

History of interdisciplinary Education: The institution supports curricular and co-curricular programming and research that connect departments and disciplines across the campus/university/college.
The institution shows a readiness to offer programming that embraces the value of experiential learning so that there is evidence of students being given the capacity to see the real-world applications of their learnings.
The institution has or plans to offer course sequences, such as a major, minor, certificate, or degree which reflects public interest technology across multiple departments or schools on campus.

Exploration Membership Criteria

 

Leadership support from the university: Institutional leadership supports public interest technology as a priority area and can demonstrate how the institution’s mission and goals align with the aims of PIT-UN. Applicants should present evidence of institutional support of PIT-UN, preferably from more than one academic unit. The leadership support for affiliate members could be department chairs, deans, provosts, or presidents.

Liaison and team support: The institution has identified an affiliate liaison and at least two other individuals (faculty or staff) who will interact with PIT-UN. Applications from a single individual will not be considered as PIT-UN consists of institutional members represented by designees and liaisons. The liaison or their representative should be able to commit to attending the annual convening of PIT-UN.

History of emerging support for interdisciplinary education: The institution supports or shows a readiness to support curricular and co-curricular programming and research that connect departments and disciplines across the campus/university/college.
The institution shows a readiness to offer programming that embraces the value of experiential learning with students being given the capacity to see the real-world applications of their learnings.

Member Benefits

  • Participating in a learning community of scholars and practitioners seeking to prepare civic-minded technologists and leaders.
  • Applying for grant funding offered to Network members.
  • Complimentary registration and attendance by Network liaison at an annual convening to discuss shared challenges and goals.
  • Exclusive access to toolkits, training and resources that are available for members only.
  • Accessing workshops and seminars to showcase the latest advancements in PIT.

Affiliate Membership Benefits

  • Participation in a learning community of scholars and practitioners seeking to prepare civic-minded technologists and leaders.
  • Opportunities to apply for grant funding as a partner with existing Network members.
  • Complimentary registration and attendance by affiliate liaison at an annual convening to discuss shared challenges and goals.
  • Mentorship by existing network members, including assistance with preparing a full application and in getting involved in the network challenge grant opportunities.