BreakingGround TV (VIDEO)

David Hoffman is UMBC’s Assistant Director of Student Life for Civic Agency.

David HoffmanWhat exactly is BreakingGround? It’s a question I’m asked all the time, because this UMBC initiative defies conventional categories. BreakingGround is something new, but with deep roots in campus culture and history, and in national conversations about higher education’s role in our democracy. BreakingGround encompasses courses and community projects, but also the ways we all work together to co-create UMBC. BreakingGround is about student learning, but also about the contributions of faculty, staff and alumni, and the civic dimensions of research, teaching and campus life. Most of all it’s a philosophy of active, creative community engagement, enacted by people at UMBC and communicated through their stories.

Guided by UMBC professor Bill Shewbridge, students in his TV production course tackled the challenge of capturing some of those BreakingGround stories for UMBC’s “In the Loop” program, producing 9 video stories in all. Collectively, these videos answer the question “What is BreakingGround?” in many voices and from diverse perspectives. Here are three of those short segments. I’m looking forward to sharing them all.

1. UMBC professor Carolyn Forestiere and I talk about civic agency, BreakingGround’s origins and the national civic engagement movement in higher education.


2. I interview UMBC students Caitlyn Leiter-Mason and Ganesh Mysore about their participation in politics and campus/social change efforts.


3. Caitlyn and Ganesh interview UMBC Provost Philip Rous about his vision for UMBC as an engaged scholarly community.

Contact the author, David Hoffman, at


  1. […] does BreakingGround look like in practice? It’s another question I’m asked all the time, and because BreakingGround takes many forms (engaged scholarship, […]

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