Through the work of The Shriver Center, UMBC has become a national leader in applied learning, civic engagement, and community-based service delivery. The Shriver Center enables students to link academic study to professional practice and service to the community, and is UMBC’s primary vehicle for producing socially engaged citizens who graduate with the commitment and experience to serve responsibly in their communities, the State and the Nation. The Shriver Center also develops programs designed to strengthen communities and build local capacity to deal with pressing problems of the day.

Shriver Center programs are located at UMBC and in field offices in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, and in 3 replication sites   The Center has a combined staff of nearly 70. The Shriver Center attracts grants and contracts from national and local agencies and foundations, including the Maryland State Department of Juvenile Services, Maryland Higher Education Commission, Maryland Department of Transportation, Baltimore County Government, and the France-Merrick, Marguerite Casey, and Macht Foundations.

Described as “the prototype for urban education in the 21st century,” The Shriver Center was recognized by the Templeton Foundation for its “strong commitment to character development and the strengths of its programs.”

Applied Learning is defined as activities that engage the learner directly in the phenomena being studied and are associated with structured reflection on the connection between the phenomena and theoretical concepts. Activities such as research, performance, internship, cooperative education, service-learning, and study abroad allow students to establish connections between academic life and the larger society and between, as the late Ernest Boyer offered, “what they learn and how they live.” The Shriver Center, as a national leader in applied learning, civic engagement, and community-based service delivery programs, promotes UMBC’s vision to be known for integrating research, teaching and learning, and civic engagement so that each advances the others for the benefit of society.
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Office of Cooperative Education was created at UMBC


Internship Program initiated
Office of Cooperative Education renamed Office of Professional Practice

Governor William Schaffer provides funding to coordinate the Governor’s Summer Internship Program as a state-wide initiative


Choice Program starts at UMBC


Community Service & Learning (later renamed service-learning) initiated with funding from the Fund for Improvement of Post Secondary Education

Office of Professional Practice was renamed to the Center for Learning Through Work and Service

DECEMBER 14, 1993

The Shriver Center was created in honor of the life’s work of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and R. Sargent Shriver

Established simultaneously with the Center and sharing its mission and vision was The Shriver Center Higher Education Consortium

The Choice Middle Schools Program and Choice Jobs began operations


The Shriver Peaceworker Program is transferred from Georgetown to UMBC

Learn and Serve America grant (from Corporation for National Service) begins as a consortium-wide initiative focused on service-learning infrastructure and capacity building and faculty course development in service-learning


CLEARCorps Program begins operation to reduce lead hazard in the community


Police Corps begins to train officers in community policing

Peaceworker program admitted to the Peace Corps Fellows Network


Choice Middle Schools Program receives Crystal Star Award for Excellence from the National Dropout Prevention Network

The Shriver Living Learning Community is initiated in partnership with the Office of Residential Life

Center receives funding from Maryland Department of Transportation for MDOT Fellows Summer Internship Program


Center receives funding from the Maryland Higher Education Commission to secure a College Preparation Intervention Program/GEAR UP initiative


NSF funds Teaching Enhancement Partnership Project collaboration with the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Engineering, and 5 Middle Schools

The Kauffman Foundation provides grant to initiate Kauffman Entrepreneur Internship Program in partnership with Alex.Brown Center for entrepreneurship in Science and Technology

Annie E. Casey Foundation provides grant to develop and host a seminar series on pressing social issues


Shriver Peaceworker Program survey of alumni reveals that 90% of program graduates are currently employed full-time, 100% in careers in public service, and of those enrolled in the program, 81% came from outside the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area, but 74% have remained to live and work in this area

Choice replicates in Syracuse, New York

New director named for Shriver Peaceworker Program


CLEARCorps USA becomes independent not-for-profit organization

USM names Shriver Center as UMBC partner on $7 million National Science Foundation-funded Vertically Integrated Partnerships (VIP) K-16 program, a partnership of USM, Montgomery College, and Montgomery County Public Schools

Choice recognized by Department of Juvenile Services in its GAP Analysis as “Model Diversion Programming in Maryland;” by Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention in its Model Program Guide as an effective, research-based model program; and, by the Advocates for Children & Youth in its “Parent Voices” publication


Data from UMBC’s Office of Institutional Research offers empirical evidence that graduate and undergraduate students’ engagement in internships and service-learning is positively related to their ability to be retained as students at UMBC, to graduate in less time, and to become better integrated socially and academically within the campus community


UMBCworks is launched to provide a campus-wide collaborative use of software to streamline the process of applied learning and job placement for students, campus departments, and community/corporate partners

Academic Exchange Quarterly publishes “Service-Learning & College Student Success,” a collaborative article of the Shriver Center and UMBC’s Office of Institutional Research which offers evidence of the benefit of service-learning to overall student success


Shriver Peaceworker Program secures multi-year grants from the Sargent Shriver Peace Institute and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation to build program infrastructure and capacity in evaluation, alumni development, and strategic planning.


Choice unveils the Choosing to Make a Difference mural, created by Choice youth in partnership with Class Acts and Project Youth ArtReach. The mural was displayed on the Freedom Wall of the Maryland State House until it moved to its permanent home in The Commons at UMBC.

UMBC is named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, recognizing the comprehensive service-learning, community service, and civic engagement activities of the Shriver Center and other university departments and programs. The Center submitted the application on behalf of the university.

UMBC becomes a founding member of the newly created Maryland Campus Compact (MDCC) with Shriver Center staff serving on the MDCC Senior Advisory Group for Engagement.


Professional Practice is recognized as a national model with the “Best Practices Award” by the Cooperative Education and Internship Association.

UMBC is named, for a second year in a row, to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, representing one of only 83 institutions named to this category and the only institution in Maryland recognized at this level.

The ACCES (Adventures in College & Career Exploration in STEM) program is launched with funding from the Maryland Higher Education Commission. This partnership project provides resources to Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School and North Bend Elementary/Middle School.

Governor’s Summer Internship Program alumni survey reveals that 80% of program alumni currently hold and/or held positions in public service following graduation.


Despite national declines in applied learning placements, Professional Practice and Service-Learning Programs set a record-breaking number of placements at 2112 or 69% change over the last 5 years

Several Shriver Center program alumni were featured in the spring issue of ¬†The UMBC Magazine and editor Richard Bryne recognized the Center as “a powerhouse for applied learning on campus”