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Virtus

An Engineering Living and Learning Community

Overview of Virtus

The Virtus Living and Learning Program is a two-year living and learning community designed for male engineering students. The primary focus of Virtus is on promoting community and facilitating students' transition into their first-year in the Clark School of Engineering. Through academic, social, and professional support services, Virtus seeks to better retain male students, while facilitating success through graduation. Participants will be introduced to a diverse range of mentors and role models and offered professional and personal development opportunities. Furthermore, the Virtus Program seeks to emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion in the field of engineering and empower students to shift the culture of engineering to be more inclusive of women and other underrepresented minoritized students. The Virtus community works closely with Flexus: Dr. Marilyn Berman Pollans' Women in Engineering Living and Learning Community.

Mission, Vision, Primary Goals

  • The mission of Virtus is to positively impact the retention and graduation of undergraduate students in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, who will become successful engineers in the future.
  • The vision of Virtus is to produce quality engineering graduates who value every voice and mobilize the power of community to thrive as global citizens and fearless agents of positive change.
  • Primary goals of Virtus: 1) To provide encouragement and support for academic, personal, and professional success; 2) To promote community among first- and second-year engineering students; and 3) to promote understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion in engineering.

Academic Component

All Virtus participants register for a 1-credit seminar each semester during the first and second year. The seminar provides an experience designed to assist and support students in being an engineering student and becoming a successful engineer. Seminar topics include:

  • Important technical and leadership skills needed to succeed in engineering
  • Professional, career, personal, and leadership development opportunities
  • Networking opportunities with professionals in the field of engineering to promote mentorship
  • Guest speakers from offices and programs that will facilitate acclimation to campus and college life
  • Importance of diversity and inclusion in engineering
  • Engineering entrepreneurial design
  • Opportunities to serve as a mentor and role model to incoming students

Another benefit of Virtus is that students will be clustered together in Math, Chemistry, and Introduction to Engineering Design (ENES 100) courses, providing Virtus and Flexus students with many familiar faces in technical courses.

Residential Community: Easton Residence Hall

First-year Virtus participants are required to live in the common resident hall, Easton. Second year Virtus participants are allowed to live elsewhere, but are encouraged to remain in Easton. Living in this community helps students connect with peers in engineering while creating a setting conducive to study groups, networking, peer tutoring, and a variety of social networking activities. Easton Hall is an eight-story, coed, traditional style hall with rooms range in size from single, double, triple and quad and each floor has a large community bathroom for residents to share. Located nearby are the Eppley Recreation Center, Stamp Student Union, and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The North Campus Dining Hall and a 24-hr convenience store are only steps away. Residents living in Easton Hall have air-conditioned rooms, and a laundry facility conveniently located in the basement of the building. Virtus students will have the option to live in mixed gender or single gender floors.

Virtus Student Assistance Center

Virtus participants also enjoy the perk of having their very own Student Learning and Assistance Center, conveniently located in their residence hall building. High-achieving, upper-level engineering students are available twice a week for tutoring in the Virtus/Flexus student lounge. Tutors are trained to assist in most of the first and second year engineering courses, including math, chemistry, physics, Introduction to Engineering Design (ENES100) and Mechanics I (ENES102). They can assist in some major-specific engineering courses as well. 

Applications for 2018-2019

If you are interested in participating in Virtus, please complete the online application. The priority deadline is on April 16, 2018, and applicants will continue to be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis through May 1, 2018, as space permits. Please note you must be an incoming first-year Clark School of Engineering student to participate in Virtus and will be required to live in Easton Hall with the Virtus and Flexus Living and Learning Communities. Space is limited. Acceptance notifications will be sent by May 1, 2018. This special opportunity can be continued into your sophomore year provided you complete the program’s academic components and remain in engineering.

Note: Virtus is not listed on the University housing agreement as a living and learning option. By applying using our online form, the WIE Program will work with Residence Life to ensure your housing in the Virtus Community upon enrollment at UMD. Virtus students will have the option to live in mixed gender or single gender housing.

 

For questions about the Virtus Living and Learning Community, please contact:

Elizabeth Kurban, Assistant Director of Retention, ekurban@umd.edu, 301-405-8308

Gregory Stinson, Virtus Graduate Assistant, gstinson@umd.edu