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Pepperdine School of Public Policy Receives Grant from Public Interest Technology University Network to Support a New Professional Certificate on "Leading Smart Communities"

October 29, 2019  | 2 min read

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Award is part of $3 million “Network Challenge” to grow the field of public interest technology.

Malibu, CA—Pepperdine School of Public Policy (SPP) has received a grant from the Public Interest Technology University Network (PITUN) to support a new Professional Certificate on "Leading Smart Communities" to be facilitated through the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at the School of Public Policy.

SPP received one of 27 grants awarded as part of PITUN's inaugural “Network Challenge,” which aims to support the development of new public interest technology initiatives and institutions in academia, and foster collaboration among the network’s partner institutions, which includes SPP. 

“At the School of Public Policy we say we’re committed to ‘putting the public into public policy,” noted Pete Peterson, the school’s Braun Family Dean. “Increasingly,” he added, "this public engagement with government is happening through technology—whether it be a GIS map of a wildfire, or a public engagement survey platform around a community’s land use plan. I’m excited that this grant will help us build out our professional education in making our cities more transparent and responsive through technology.”

PITUN, which was convened earlier this year by the Ford Foundation, New America, and the Hewlett Foundation, is a partnership of 21 colleges and universities dedicated to building the nascent field of public interest technology, as well as growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists and digitally fluent policy leaders. The “Network Challenge” is funded through the generous support of the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Mastercard Impact Fund, Siegel Family Endowment, Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and Raikes Foundation.

Public interest technology is a broadly defined and emerging area of study that combines digital innovation and public policy. Already, universities across the United States have created joint degrees, exchange programs, and cross-disciplinary initiatives to begin to develop a robust pipeline of future technologists and leaders seeking to pursue careers in the growing field.

Colleges and universities that are interested in joining PITUN, can contact New America (pituninfo@newamerica.org) for more information about membership.