TU-BCPS Model United Nations wins partnership award

By Rebecca Kirkman on November 9, 2018

Professor Alison McCartney earns recognition for Model UN program with Baltimore County Public Schools

Professor Alison McCartney
Political science professor Alison McCartney received the Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic P20 Partnership award for her leadership of the TU-BCPS Model UN.

More than 3,000 Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) students have participated in the TU Model United Nations program since it was established as a partnership between the university and BCPS 16 years ago.

Because of the program’s impressive reach and unique structure, Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic (CCMA) recognized TU Model UN and its leader, political science professor and Honors College faculty director Alison McCartney, with the 2018 P20 Partnership award in October.

The P20 Partnership award recognizes a leading partnership among K-12, higher education and the community. It’s presented by Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic, the largest higher education association in the region that advocates and encourages co-curricular civic engagement programs. The award ceremony was held on Nov. 8 at Gallaudet University.

One of the key aspects of great P20 work is being able to move beyond a top-down teaching model, where the university students impart knowledge to the BCPS students, and instead have the mentors and mentees learning and serving together at the same time,” explained CCMA representative Karin Abma. “This TU Model UN-BCPS mentorship program, under the leadership of Alison McCartney, does this, and is intentionally striving to better fulfill this mission all the time.

Read more: Model UN celebrates 15 years at Towson University

McCartney and Carver Center for the Arts teacher Hugh Kearney partnered with TU and the BCPS Office of Social Studies to bring the program to life in 2002. It brought together more than 250 high school students and teachers and 20 TU students and alumni for a training day in November 2017 and a two-day conference this past spring.

“This award shows how the people of TU can work within the university and with the community to advance the goals of public education—building knowledge and skills through a partnership that encourages access, equity, leadership and citizenship for all students,” said McCartney. “Citizens who can handle the complex problems of our world are vital for the future of our democracy, and the TU-BCPS program provides an opportunity to build citizenship experience.”

The partnership has continued to deepen over time. Not only do more students and more counties participate, but interactions between Towson University professors, TU students and BCPS delegates have grown in quality and depth, said John Billingslea, BCPS director of social studies.

The program was also one of three initiatives recognized in the university’s 2018 BTU Partnership Awards. The Model UN was commended for providing equal access to civic engagement learning experiences for students in Baltimore County Public Schools while also providing TU students with hands-on mentorship experiences.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: BTU-Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore.