UW News

September 9, 2020

UW joins Public Interest Technology University Network

The University of Washington has joined forces with schools across the country to be part of the Public Interest Technology University Network, or PIT-UN.

This is a collaboration among dozens of higher education institutions committed to building the field of public interest technology by growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists and digitally fluent policy leaders.

“Too often, technology fails to serve the greater good. Through PIT-UN, higher education institutions are combining their expertise to ensure that technology benefits the public, particularly people who have been underserved by existing policies and systems,” said Anind Dey, dean of the Information School at the UW.

The Public Interest Technology University Network is a partnership that fosters collaboration between universities and colleges committed to building the nascent field of public interest technology and growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists.

Through the development of curricula, research agendas and experiential learning programs in the public interest technology space, these universities are trying innovative tactics to produce graduates with multiple fluencies at the intersection of technology and policy.

As a PIT-UN member, the UW commits to launching or strengthening initiatives on campus that:

  • Support curriculum development and faculty hiring needed to provide students with interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary education, so they can critically assess the implications of new technologies and develop technologies in service of the public good.
  • Develop experiential learning opportunities, such as clinics, internships and fellowships at the intersection of technology and public interest.
  • Find new ways to encourage and support graduates who pursue careers in public interest technology, recognizing that financial considerations and debt pose barriers to entering the field.
  • Provide faculty with the infrastructure, support and resources to build this nascent area of inquiry and training.
  • Share institutional data that allows the network to assess the effectiveness of efforts to develop the field of public interest technology.

The University of Washington’s PIT-UN effort is led by the Information School, with collaboration from the School of Law, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. The UW network is engaging researchers and faculty from other departments and schools that have activities, interests and expertise that enrich the university’s PIT-UN activities.

For more information, visit the UW’s PIT-UN website or contact Chris Coward, a senior research scientist at the Information School, at ccoward@uw.edu.