Category: President's Page
Dear UB Alumni and Friends:
At UB, we take pride in providing career-oriented education. We are clearly successful at achieving this goal, as evidenced by the accomplishments of our approximately 45,000 alumni—regional and national leaders in law, business, public policy, communications and other fields. At a time when many are questioning the return on investment of higher education, the value of a UB degree in the marketplace is as strong as ever.
But the total worth of a college education, especially a UB education, must be measured by more than career success or additional dollars earned. Recent studies, such as the College Board’s Education Pays 2013, indicate that those with college degrees are more civically engaged than are those who hold only a high-school diploma. College graduates are more likely to volunteer in their communities and are almost twice as likely to vote in local and national elections, a finding that takes on additional significance as we approach critical elections in Baltimore and across the country next year.
UB students have multiple opportunities to participate in the democratic process during their time here. Since 2004, the Schaefer Center for Public Policy has received grant funding to participate in the Help America Vote College Program, which encourages students to assist in elections as nonpartisan election judges and poll workers. The program reinforces the importance of an engaged electorate and provides the city and county with much-needed staffing support.
In addition, the UB Voter Education independent-study course, launched in spring 2014 through the College of Public Affairs, tasked students with raising their “Voter IQ” by learning about the voting process, election cycles, elected representatives and other critical elements of civic responsibility. Students then applied this knowledge to develop an online Voter Education Project to provide information on voter registration, the voting process, voting schedules and locations, and other relevant information. The project will be updated in the spring. (You can learn how various UB alumni, too, are involved in all facets of elections in our feature “Thinking Outside the Ballot Box.”)
As our students continue to graduate and hit the ground running in their chosen fields, we remain committed to instilling in them the value of civic engagement in accordance with our mission statement, which commits us to providing our students with “a foundation for lifelong learning, personal development and social responsibility.”
Mentored by faculty whose work contributes to real-world solutions to 21st-century challenges and following our alumni’s rich tradition of civic awareness, our students make me confident that the real worth of a UB degree—for our graduates and for our region—will continue to grow by all measures.
Kurt L. Schmoke
President, University of Baltimore