Degree program to put students in the field and the classroom
By Nirvana Bhatia
Master's Candidate in Human Rights
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Come July, a Master's in Development Practice will be added to the Josef Korbel School of International Studies graduate programs. Drawing on courses offered by 10 graduate schools of the University of Denver, the Maser's in Development Practice stresses blended learning through shared resources.
"It's a three-pronged approach," said Program Director Daniel Wessner. "There?s interactive, online learning with similar programs in a dozen universities around the world through a global classroom; field-based hosting of the cohort and applied research on the development goals."
As Wessner explained, the Korbel School offers excellent information on human-rights law, but can't necessarily provide solid agriculture instruction. The global classroom thus serves as a forum for exchange and partnership.
MacArthur Foundation involved
After examining progress on the United Nation's proposed Millennium Development Goals, the MacArthur Foundation became eager to help shift the focus in sustainable development from expert analysis to actual fieldwork. They invited interested schools to submit a proposal for a Master's in Development Practice in hopes of broadening its impact.
The Master's in Development Practice is an applied degree, so unlike more academic concentrations that occur solely in the classroom, this degree places students in the field. The cohort of students will spend six months on the road working in the communities they are linking with through the global classroom. From working in rice paddies in Southeast Asia to teaching safe health practices in Latin America, students will be immersed in the populations through a hands-on approach.
"This approach is different," Wessner said. "It's not better, it's different. It's about applied research on sustainable development. You're getting your degree while a community is being part of sustainable research and graduate learning."
Seeking 26 exceptional people
The new program is seeking a cohort of 26 students from all backgrounds--the point
is to emphasize everyone's individual contribution to a shared goal, after all--to
begin a two-year study in serving the common good.
"This has the potential to be a social movement," Wessner said. "It isn't yet, but it could be."
Applications for the MDP degree are now available for July 2010. To learn more about the program click here.