Friday, February 10th, 2017

New Blue Pioneers Program To Include Three Spots for MIIS Students July 23-August 5, 2017

Who: Program includes spots for 15 graduate students from Peking Guanghua Business School, 3 graduate students from the Middlebury Institute, and 2 graduate students from Stanford

What: The Paradise Foundation, in partnership with Peking Guanghua Business School, the David and  Lucile Packard  Foundation  and China’s  Yintai  Foundation,  has established  the Blue Pioneer Program to identify and train the new leaders of  China’s blue economy. The Blue Pioneer Program will enable young leaders to take effective action to build the corporations,  nonprofits and social enterprises that can successfully solve the sustainability and economic challenges that China faces in and around its oceans, coasts, fisheries  and aquaculture sectors.  The program has now added the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions (COS) as partners for 2-week summer training in Monterey.

When: July 23-August 5, 2017 (all day)

Where: Program will take place at sites around the Monterey Bay

Cost: There is no program fee to participate. Double-occupancy lodging at a hotel in Monterey is available free-of-charge for those without an apartment in Monterey over the summer.

Who Should Apply: MIIS graduate students with interest and/or experience in social business, nonprofit management, coastal conservation, or environmental sustainability.

How to Apply: Interested MIIS students should apply online starting February 20 (application link will be posted here) and no later than March 15, 2017.

What you will gain:

  • Training and knowledge on how to launch and grow “social enterprises” and non-governmental organizations related to the ocean
  • Interaction with Chinese graduate assistants seeking to start social enterprises focused on the blue economy
  • Exposure to marine and social business experts from California
  • Professional certificate from the Blue Pioneers Program

Why  was  the Program Created?

China’s blue economy will play a centeral role in the country’s 21st century development. China’s coastal provinces, with just 14% of its land area, have half the population of the country and two-thirds of its economic activity. The oceans are a major source of food production, employment, and economic activity. In the coming decade, China’s maritime economic is expected to achieve a growth rate nearly twice that of other sectors. This growth is challenges because China’s coasts and oceans face mounting pressures and threats. More than half of China’s fisheries are over-harvested and depleted. More than 60% of China’s coastal wetlands have been lost to development. Pollution carried by rivers to China’s coasts produce vast “dead zones” and contaminates seafood in the rapidly growing coastal aquaculture industry.

The complex economic, environmental and social issues around our oceans require business acumen and leadership to provide sustainable change. Over the next two decades, there will be a tremendous need for leaders and entrepreneurs who can build organizations that innovate to solve challenges facing China’s blue economy and those who can create businesses that can provide sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits from China’s marine resources.

Contact: For more information contact Prof. Yuwei Shi at or IPLSP Director Carolyn Meyer at

Friday, February 10th, 2017

J-TERM PRACTICA in NEPAL: My first country in Asia

Elizabeth Fisher, MPA ‘18 says, “I have travelled, studied, and worked extensively in Europe, but Nepal was my first country in Asia.” She participated in the Nepal J-Term Practica with 7 other MIIS students. The main purpose of her visit was to collect data on environmental awareness, perspectives on waste management and recycling, and the nation-wide plastic bag ban by using the data collection tools that she and her team had designed in her Field Methods class taught by Prof. Phil Murphy.

In partnership with Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI), her team interviewed the residents of Dang and Surkhet Districts in Western Nepal. Her fieldwork gave her an opportunity to immerse herself in the villages where she experienced authentic rural life in Nepal. She was fascinated by the range of colors that she saw there. 

“The best part of this fieldwork was that I got to work with a great team,” highlighted Elizabeth. She also stressed that the research was focused in one geographical region, which made it easy to maximize the team’s time in Nepal. It was a challenge for her to reach out to unknown individuals in the community for interviews, but she expressed that people were open to questions and chats.

After an exhausting week of fieldwork, the Nepal team took the opportunity to visit Bardia National Park for a retreat. Elizabeth emphasized that the retreat brought the group together as they bonded more.

In the third week of the Practica, the group returned to Kathmandu and she presented the preliminary findings to HCI. “It was very satisfying and fulfilling to share the findings to the client because the client was very receptive to our findings,” says Elizabeth. Apart from presentation, she got to see the famous monkey temple in Kathmandu. She said that Kathmandu was very congested and chaotic, but she enjoyed the beautiful landscape when she traveled out of Kathmandu.

Within three weeks, she learned a lot about Nepal and its cultures and religions. Her Nepal experience taught her that one does not need all western amenities to be happy. The experience cemented some ideas and helped rejected some ideas: Nepal was a test for her to see if she wanted to work in the international development sector. She expressed her interest in international development work without forcing her ideas on others.

Elizabeth, now a second semester MPA student, is still working on the data she and her team collected in Nepal. In her Advanced Policy Analysis class, one of three “wrap-around” courses, she is examining the findings in details that will be communicated back HCI.


Friday, January 27th, 2017

GSIPM Wins Photowings Grant! and is hiring!

GSIPM won a grant from Photowings for its “Bursting the Bubble: Fostering Connections between Community and Campus” project.  The project will aim to display art throughout Monterey County that depicts MIIS students involved in their local community.  At the center of the project is the MIIS Committee on Art in Public Places (CAPP), which is recruiting volunteers and one student Project Leader in a paid position, to enact the project.  Interested students should contact Carolyn Meyer (, explaining their proposed involvement and interest in the project.

To learn more about CAPP and the Photowings grant, visit

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

East Asia Practicum Deadline Feb. 3rd

The East Asia Practicum offers students the chance to explore foreign policy, trade and security issues in a semester long seminar that will also travel to Beijing and Tokyo over spring break.  The course will be taught by Professors Akaha and Liang. Please email Prof. Liang to register by February 3rd. For more details, visit the East Asia Practicum site.


*Students are eligible to apply for immersive learning funding to offset the program fee for this course.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Bright Future for DPMI Cairo – AUC Partnership

This J-term, the DPMI program ran its first training in Cairo in 5 years, re-invoking a longstanding partnership with the American University of Cairo (AUC).  MIIS and Middlebury College students joined a cohort of Master’s students at the AUC’s New Cairo campus to participate in a three week training, complete with site visits, alumni events, and trips to local NGOs.  MIIS and AUC are hopeful the program will continue to run in years to come, with the possible addition of an internship component.

Read the full story on the AUC site.

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Summer Research Practicum with the Andean Alliance exploring local governance or education and agriculture in Peru

For the summer of 2017, the AASD is seeking 12 students to participate in an 8-week intensive summer research practicum. These students will be split into two teams, each pursuing a unique research opportunity. One team will be working with the local government Office of Economic Development; the other team will make policy recommendations to institutions interested in scaling local community development projects. While these teams will be dedicated to separate projects, all students will participate in a common curriculum of research methods training, development theory and practice, and cross-sectoral collaboration.

Research Topics

Education and Agriculture: An Exploration of School Garden Projects in High-Altitude Communities

The AASD has extensive experience implementing school garden projects. An important factor in these projects is the diverse climates and social structures throughout Peru, which present unique obstacles and considerations. In this investigation, students would explore specific intricacies of implementing successful school gardens, and create a deliverable to convey their findings. The AASD has worked on school garden projects with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Qali Warma (National School Lunch Program), and the local Department of Education Administration. These local and national actors represent potential collaborators in this research.

Supporting Development Through Local Government: Challenges & Opportunities

The Office of Economic Development has numerous projects throughout the Sacred Valley and surrounding areas. These projects largely involve capacity building and resource development across many industries, including a coffee growers initiative, guinea pig farming, and flower production. In this project, students will conduct a diagnostic of the various projects housed in the Office of Economic Development. By creating a comprehensive inventory of these projects, challenges, and opportunities the AASD will work with the Calca government to identify a significant point of intervention to be explored in future iterations of the project.

Student Experience  

The context of the Sacred Valley provides a rich environment for students to learn about development, while also enjoying the beauty of the Inca Breadbasket. Students will have ample opportunity to explore the many ruins and tourist attractions in the valley, but will also have a unique experience visiting and learning from local communities that are off the beaten track. Students will advance their Spanish language skills through practical application, and will be immersed in Peruvian culture throughout their time in the program.

As members of a research team, students will participate in a complete iteration of a research project, from initial client engagement through deliverable creation and delivery. The first weeks of the program will focus on building local context, research design, and methods training. Students will gain experience in field research, data interpretation, and partner engagement.

In addition to the skills-based curriculum, the practicum offers a holistic learning experience that incorporates a strong academic component. Students will utilize advanced critical thinking skills and observations from their work in the communities to explore the complexities and challenges of community development. Exposure to diverse realities and development lenses will help students to develop a global perspective, as well as providing a reflection point for personal exploration and learning.

Student Qualifications

The AASD is seeking students with diverse academic backgrounds, including: Geography, Latin American Studies, Food Studies, Environmental Studies, Agriculture, International and Global Studies, or Sociology and Anthropology. Students from all departments are encouraged to apply, however preference will be given to students who represent the listed fields. Ideal candidates have a desire to learn about research methods and process, and are conversational in Spanish.

Program Dates: June 5- July 28

Cost per Student: $4,400


Application Process

 Interested students should submit a resume (cover letter optional), and a statement of purpose to Candidates who are a good fit for the program will be contacted to schedule an interview. We will contact all priority submission applicants by February 3rd (we will do our best to get back to you within one week of your submission), and all second phase applicants by April 7th.



Priority deadline: January 31, 2016

Final deadline: March 31, 2017


Guidelines for Statement of Purpose:

Your one-page statement of purpose should address the following points:

  1. Why would you like to participate the AASD Summer Research Practicum? Why is this important and what are you hoping to get out of your experience?
  2. How will your participation in the AASD Summer Research Practicum support your professional goals?

Your Statement of Purpose should be forward looking. While it is ok to draw on past experience for examples, we prefer that past experience and qualifications come through in your resume and (optional) cover letter.

Thank you for your interest in the AASD Summer Research Practicum- we look forward to hearing from you!


Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Czech Technical University (CTU)’s Professor, Dr. Lubomir Sklena Visits MIIS

On November 15, 2016, Dr. Lubomir Sklena from Czech Technical University (CTU), Prague met with MIIS students who will spending their J-term in Prague attending lectures at the Department of Nuclear Reactors at the CTU, conduct experiments on the research reactors, and go on the site visits.

Under the International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP), CTU will be hosting one MIIS student in the Spring 2017.

img_20161201_121218(Photo: Dr. Sklena with MIIS Students)

For more information on Czech Republic J-Term visit our website.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Register for Professional Development Weekend Workshops offered in Spring 2017.

Every semester we offer weekend workshops to our graduate students on a wide variety of topics from Development Practice and Policy, Frontier Market Scouts, Intercultural Competence , International Education Management, International Environmental  Policy, International Professional Services to International Trade & Economic Diplomacy and Nonproliferation & Terrorism Studies.

The Professional Development Weekend Workshops are also open to interested professionals, community members, and students and faculty from other institutions. Access the Sring 2017 workshop listing. For inquiries, please contact:

Apply for a weekend workshop.

Search weekend workshop descriptions in our course catalog.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Thursday Career Chats: US Federal Government, NPS Internships, and Navigating the UN System

Upcoming Career Exploration Chats (First Two Thursday Evenings in November!)

Designed for spring IPSS and DPMI Plus fellows; Open to all students

What: “Pursuing a career in the US Federal government and internship opportunities at the Naval Post-graduate School”

Who: Nicholas Tomb (MIIS IPS ’01) is the Program Manager for the Africa Program at the Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR) at the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Captain Tim Doorey, USN (Ret.), Maritime Security Program Manager, CCMR, NPS

When: Thursday, November 3 from 6-7:30pm

Where: Digital Learning Commons (DLC) Design Space

Background on NPS Department: CCMR functions like an “executive training” center for the US military. They train hundreds of civilian and military staff from around the world every year. Full and part-time unpaid internships are available in this department at NPS this fall and spring. Positions would include research and the development of cases for the trainings as well as preparation and implementation of training programs. Students have the opportunity to attend the courses as part of the internship (wonderful opportunity!). Please see attached documents to learn about one of the many CCMR programs (Maritime Security) and an upcoming December training students are invited to sit-in on if they are considering a spring internship with NPS. International students are eligible.

This session will explore the following questions:

  • How did you pursue a Federal government job after MIIS? What steps did you take?
  • What are the pros and cons to working in the Federal government? What personality types succeed?
  • What skills and experience are most beneficial for government job applications?
  • Which agencies seem to be hiring the most in recent years?
  • Which agencies have the most favorable work environments and why?
  • How does career advancement work in the government?
  • How can US and international students apply to internship positions with CCMR at NPS?


Save the Date

What: “Navigating the United Nations System

Who: –Scott Pulizzi (MIIS MPA ’98) senior consultant at UNESCO and former project director at EDC and

Elizabeth Wanic former UN Secretariat staffer and UNOCHA and UNDPKO staff member in Syria, Mali, and the Central African Republic

When: Thursday, November 10 from 6-7:30pm

Where: Digital Learning Commons (DLC) Design Space

Both events will include wine and cheese.

Please RSVP for one or both events here.

For more information email Carolyn Meyer at or call 831-647-6417.

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Community Action Hub: Explore the Past, Present and Future of Collaborative Learning

MIIS and California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB) have been collaborating on a project called Community Action Hubs. The underlying question being explored is: How might we have more meaningful, long-term engagements with community organizations that we partner with? This includes student, faculty and staff projects, practica and research. In an effort to collect and share historical data, Immersive Learning has been capturing a range of information on collaborative learning with the local community and surrounding areas. Whether you have a research focus in mind or want some inspiration from past work, check out the database! girl-watkins_coastline-with-boats

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Spotlight on Philip J. Murphy

phil-murphy-profileAssistant Professor, Development Practice and Policy

Here at MIIS, students can participate in a wide range of international and domestic immersive learning opportunities. Whether students travel during January-term, spring break, summer or do an independent practicum, students have a number of options at their fingertips. The faculty who lead these trips recognize the value of these immersive professional experiences. We at GSIPM wanted to sit down with another faculty leader and let them share their story.

Why did you decide to enter your field?…Tell me about your journey.

I got a BS and MA in History. I decided there was no future in that after I finished a thesis on the Holocaust. I felt powerless. So I decided to pursue something more proactive: policy. When I started that degree, I found that I was lacking in quantitative skills. So I spent a great deal of time acquiring them. When this position opened up, I thought it was a great fit. I was interested in having an international focus. And, my mentor was the same person whose book was used for the course I would be teaching–William Dunn.

How would you explain your practicum course a/o fieldwork?

The topics and locations are subject to change from year to year. In our first iteration, we had two students: Aaron Ebner and Adam Stieglitz, the founding members of Team Peru. They were established in Peru; had their own NGO, the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development; and they were very successful at grassroots organization.

Robert McCleery came up with the idea of conducting research involving Team Peru. Then, I suggested involving students. We were soon joined by three other colleagues: Fernando DePaolis; Kent Glenzer; and Jeff Dayton-Johnson. The plan soon evolved from sending students down during J-term to a three course progression. First, students would be prepared to conduct research. Next, they would actually work in the field to gather the information we need. Last, we would work with the students to evaluate and analyze the information and create a deliverable for a client. That started the “wraparound” progression that we have today. We now have a 2 credit course during the fall semester (Field Methods) where students train in building surveys, and conducting focus groups and semi-structured interviews. The second class is the J-term Fieldwork. The last class, Advanced Policy Analysis, focuses on analyzing the collected data and preparing reports based on our findings. Not everyone has to take part in all three courses. But, all three courses together constitute a project, and students have an actual client, for whom they prepare a policy deliverable. Students must not only learn, but also apply skills for research and policy analysis from these and other classes. This is one of the most practical field research opportunities that we offer at the institute.

Peru was our original program location, and this year we are doing the same process in Nepal and Salinas. Each location will likely interest different groups of students. In Nepal, the research question will focus on communicating and building support for NGOs. There might also be work with the local population. In Salinas, the Mixed-Methods Evaluation, Training and Analysis (META) Lab has been hired to do a program evaluation. This is centered on Why’D You Stop Me (WYSM), a program that teaches locals about what the police are up against while also teaching police how not to escalate or how to deescalate a situation. We will be really looking for the source of tension in the community. This is a primarily Hispanic community and it will be interesting and lively especially in light of what is happening across the country. There has been a lot of buy-in with the Salinas Police Department and we try to work a lot with them.

Why Peru vs. Ecuador vs. Honduras?

We used to do Peru and El Salvador. They already had students going and we just helped analyze their data. With Nepal, we had two students familiar with the country.  And one had been a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) who served in Nepal who was able to get extra training. One student has agreed to come back and lead it this time. It always depends on whether you have an NGO and a client to help do logistics and gain access to populations. And, it makes it valid research. It’s a service learning approach, so we need to be in service to somebody if we are giving the final deliverable to someone who counts on what you are giving them.

What connections do you have there?

In Peru we have past leaders from Team Peru. Adam and Aaron, were my students years ago and when they graduated they maintained their relationship with Middlebury and MIIS, so that was easy. The other NGOs have people we are very familiar with. We continue building rapport with some of them. And now we are in discussions with a new NGO. They supplied all the interpretation last year.

In Salinas we had been working with the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace (CASP). We still attend all of their network meetings. MIIS and the META Lab are well known there. We want to be present so we can work with them and pick up projects and give back to the community. I mostly go on my spare time and sometimes are able to cover the cost of travel for META Lab staff attendees who represent MIIS. Because of that several NGOs know us well. We were asked specifically to participate in the grant that supports our evaluation work. Fernando DePaolis will be the faculty lead for the project.

What draws you back?

I like being in the field. If you can’t get your feet dirty, why do you even do this stuff? If you talk with native Quechua speakers and talk with the people who have been there for thousands of years, it is amazing. It’s the kind of experience you don’t get any other way. I’ve always loved being in a research environment. I’m very dedicated and interested in methods of doing research. If I’m going to teach it I’d better be able to do it.

What would a student get out of this experience?

Every place they could go and get a degree they would have an opportunity to do projects. Very few would allow them to do actual fieldwork with actual deliverables with someone who really needs it. Being able to collect data in person is unmatched. What you will see is that some of the well known institutions will take students to do some professor’s project. This isn’t that. This is something students develop, vet, manage, execute and analyze. There is no other school doing this.

How would you advise a faculty interested in leading a class abroad for the first time?

Play to your strengths. Team up with someone who is interested so you can distribute the load. This started as the effort of 5 faculty members, so don’t take it all on yourself. Use those who are knowledgeable in the area, and come up with a compelling question so you can motivate students. In your recruitment the main thing you are looking for is motivation. Brilliance is something they can work on, but motivation you can’t get any other way.

Can you tell a story or share some of the challenges you’ve faced leading these programs?

One is just trying to help with another site while on-site myself. We happened to have some truly talented people available last year and that was our great luck. But when you are out there actually leading one of these, you have to be HR, IRB, an instructor and a manager. So there is a lot to balance at this time. And people have to realize that you are in charge not the NGO. You have to keep logistics straight, keep research valid – do the work to get a random sample and keep people motivated, though that could be a challenge.  It’s a stressful environment. People get rest, but not enough. Nerves get frayed. People realize that this isn’t what they want to do with their lives while others fall in love with it. You have to be ready to help someone see how they fit in and get people into the right tracks that will keep them and keep the project functioning.

Is there a story that captures one of your most rewarding or significant moments or could you share what drives you to do these types of programs?

For me the most rewarding part comes in the third course when people look back at what they’ve done. Normally it’s not me telling them but the students themselves realizing what they’ve accomplished. This is a year of effort and people realize the scope of what they’ve been through and what they’ve produced. The flip-side is that they realize that actual research is messy business. And they get a better idea of what they can and cannot do with field research. You might realize later that the questions initially asked were totally useless or the people on the ground weren’t interested.

What research or practices guide your approach to offering these programs?

[Looks over at bookshelf and laughs] There are a lot of resources. About seven to ten of these are great books that I go to all the time. I also troll the web. One thing is that you can’t expect to find what you are looking for in one book. Check two to three sources to get an idea of what is meaningful to you.

Is there anything you’d like to add/share?

I find this rewarding, but don’t take my word for it. I’d rather you go and talk to someone who went. It really is real work and it will feel like it, but that has a lot of rewards. It’s a whole lot better than Disneyland.

For more information on Phil Murphy, read his MIIS Faculty Profile.

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

J-term Practicum in Cuba is ON!

Dr. Jan Black and a second faculty member will be leading a JTerm Practica in Cuba January 10-20. This course can be taken for 0, 2, or 4 credits. Learn more and apply by October 31st at

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

International Winter Academy Call for Participants

IPD is very glad to announce its next International Winter Programs in Peacebuilding, Conflict Transformation, Mediation, Security and Intercultural Dialogue, which is going to be held in Switzerland. Applicants could choose either 10 days Winter academy or 3 Month CAS-Research program in their filled application.

View the application form or visit the School of Peacebuidling, Mediation, Conflict Resolution, Intercultural Dialogue, Security & Human Rights webpage for more information.


Thursday, October 13th, 2016

J.M.K. Innovation Prize Workshop and Luncheon

Members of the MIIS community are invited to join Profs. Yuwei Shi and Sandra Dow in spending time with and learning from an exceptional group of social innovators who will be on campus on Friday, November 4th for the J.M.K Innovation Prize. The founders of the following award-winning nonprofits/social enterprises will be in attendance:

  • Advancing Real Change, Inc.: Using state-of-the-art investigative tools and methods, legal defense teams can highlight an offender’s life history, reducing severe sentences and reshaping a retributive criminal justice system.
  • Bay2Tray / Real Good Fish: Bringing local fish into schools proves a powerful way to cultivate the next generation of ocean stewards, while promoting sustainable seafood and supporting a community’s fishing industry. Founded by MIIS alum Alan Lovewell.
  • Behold! New Lebanon: A model for activating human resources in rural places, this “living museum of contemporary rural life” celebrates the inventive residents of New Lebanon, New York while engaging every sector of the town.
  • org: To advance worker well-being, harnesses online tools to advocate for freelancers, independent contractors, and others in today’s gig-based workforce.
  • Essie Justice Group: This peer-support program’s “healing to advocacy” agenda empowers women with incarcerated loved ones to push for social and policy reform, while boosting their economic resilience.
  • Growing Veterans: Through a unique blend of peer mentoring, community farming, and “dirt therapy,” Growing Veterans uses sustainable agriculture as a catalyst for ending veteran isolation.
  • Land Art Generator Initiative: A series of large-scale public art installations seeks to transform unloved clean-energy infrastructure into wildly inspiring cultural and economic assets.
  • ScholarCHIPS: To break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration, ScholarCHIPS supports college students in the Washington, D.C. area who are among the millions of children with incarcerated parents.

From 11:00am – 12:30pm, we’ll break into groups to think through how emerging mega-trends (e.g., growing inequality) will impact the future of these and other mission-driven organizations.  From 12:30pm – 2:00pm, participants are invited to join a celebratory end-of-week picnic catered by Alan Lovewell’s organization featuring – what else? – sustainably sourced fish!

Space is limited.  Please complete this form to register.  Additional logistical details will be emailed to those who register.

We hope you can join us for this special opportunity!


Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Spotlight on Paige Butler


Assistant Professor, International Education Management

Here at MIIS, students can participate in a wide range of international and domestic immersive learning opportunities. Whether students travel during January-term, spring break, summer or do an independent practicum, students have a number of options at their fingertips. The faculty who lead these trips recognize the value of these immersive professional experiences. We at GSIPM wanted to sit down with some and let them share for themselves.

What’s Your Spirit Animal? Can’t think of one? Name an animal, now another, and finally another.

Jaguar ← What you think your spirit animal is.

Monkey ← What others think you are.

Llama ← What your spirit animal really is.  (Paige’s note: I just returned from Peru where I saw many llamas!)

Why did you decide to enter your field?…Tell me about your journey.

I had my first international experience when I was in high school at age 16. I went to Eastern Europe and traveled through Slovakia, Poland and Czech Republic. I grew up in a small farming community in Iowa, so visiting these cities and seeing so many new things was one of those experiences that changed my life, and propelled me into my international career – even if I didn’t even know how transformational it really was until many years later.

As a college student, I studied abroad in Mexico and Guatemala and worked in the Spanish department helping organize study abroad programs. I also worked for a program that provided after-school and summer care for children of US military families abroad which allowed me opportunities to live and work in Japan, Italy and Germany.  While my world experiences were adding up, I still hadn’t considered an international career.

I decided to pursue my Masters in Higher Education at Arizona State University (ASU) so I flew from Guatemala back to Iowa and without much hesitation, I packed up my car and drove to Arizona. While in graduate school, I started working in Student Affairs and Higher Education Administration. I enjoyed it, but I missed the international component.  After my first year at ASU, I had an opportunity to lead engineering undergraduate students abroad on a summer program that ASU was offering in partnership with two other universities.  This was a program that visited universities in England, France and Spain and I coordinated and led the trip, which was my first official study abroad experience as an administrator. I soon realized working in international education administration combined what I enjoyed about working with students in higher education and my passion for international experiences and cultural learning.

I completed my Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in Higher Education at Arizona State University. I worked in the study abroad office and later in academic affairs while completing my degree, and for my dissertation I researched outcomes of short-term study abroad participation. That research solidified how valuable education abroad is in shaping personal and academic development for college students. I had personally experienced many changes as a result of studying abroad, and I knew I wanted to be able to create those types of learning experiences for other students in my future career.

After completing my doctorate, I took a position in the private sector and managed academic affairs and faculty-led programs for a large study abroad provider, CEA.  There I worked with nine academic centers and international staff around the world as well as 100+ colleges and universities across the US, developing study abroad programs for hundreds of US college students.  It was a tremendous experience and rounded out my professional experiences.  Eventually, my desire to be in the classroom full-time grew and the IEM program at MIIS was a perfect fit where I could combine my expertise in international education and higher education administration to train rising professionals who will work in international education.

How would you explain your practicum course and fieldwork?

Onsite Perspectives of Education Abroad Management in Spain is an elective course focused on Education Abroad Management. We partner with Middlebury Schools Abroad in Madrid, Sede Prim.

While developing the program, I met Middlebury Schools Abroad Director in Madrid, Dr. Patricia Rodriguez,  who provided valuable input as I created the course and immersive learning experience.  It was important to connect the work we do in IEM with the work Patricia and her team do in Madrid managing study abroad programs. IEM students who participate in the program learn about education abroad management from the host community perspective.  This program gives students the opportunity to better understand education abroad from an international context. This course is a complement to the IEM courses taught on campus in Monterey.

Students complete small projects or fieldwork dedicated to managing education abroad in Spain. In 2016, students worked on projects about various components of the education abroad experience that Middlebury staff manage, including: homestays, marketing & social media, experiential learning and co-curricular activities, and orientation. Students explored how to create experiences that foster intercultural development and student growth, with an emphasis on language development in alignment with Middlebury’s mission.   Students are also meeting with local experts who work in education abroad, visiting Spanish universities and other education abroad programs across Madrid and practicing their own intercultural and linguistic skills during our time in Spain.


Why Spain and not Peru or Ecuador?

I was primarily looking for a place that had a large variety of education abroad programs, because I wanted to do a comparative analysis of education abroad programs and be able to offer opportunities for project work onsite. Spain is among the top 5 countries hosting U.S. students studying abroad.  It was also a goal to partner with Middlebury Schools Abroad and deepen the connectivity with the IEM program. After considering the infrastructure and resources available across Middlebury’s Schools Abroad network, Madrid was among our top choices. Since I have previously spent time in Spain, I felt comfortable coordinating the program and had a strong network to draw upon for organizing the onsite experiences.  It is my hope that this program could be replicated in other locations in the future, perhaps in France or China.  IEM is also looking at other options to meet our diverse student interests so I look forward to seeing what emerges!

What would a student get out of this experience?/How could students market the skills they will acquire?

In addition to specific knowledge and skills gained through the coursework and projects completed on site, students were able to expand their network in international education through a variety of site visits and expert meetings.  Students were able to see a variety of education abroad programs first-hand, and gained a deeper understanding the differences between programs. Students were able to analyze the mission of Middlebury Schools Abroad and comparatively evaluate education abroad programs offered by Spanish universities like Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, U.S. based program providers/international education organizations like CIEE and CEA and U.S. universities with programs like the University of San Diego Madrid Center.  Students can practice Spanish language skills relevant to international education throughout the program as well since most site visits and guest speaker meetings are held in Spanish.  We honor the Middlebury Language Pledge while interacting with study abroad students at Sede Prim.

Throughout the program Team Spain participants also reflect on their own understanding and experiences with education abroad and this program helps them break down their own stereotypes and biases of education abroad.  They also reflect on their intercultural development throughout the program, learning more about cultural differences between the US and Spain and how those might impact students who are studying abroad or how it might impact staff working with peers across the ocean.  Students take the Intercultural Development Inventory prior to participating in the program, which is an an assessment that measures intercultural competence—the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities. Intercultural competence has been identified as a critical capability for international educators and is a central goal of the majority of education abroad programs.  This program offers students the chance to reflect on their own intercultural development and think about its application to future careers in education abroad.

Shortly after the immersive learning program abroad, we received opportunities for seven practicum placements from the organizations that we partnered with and others who heard about the type of work our students were doing in Madrid.   I’m happy to report that we have five IEM students in Spain this fall in positions that were created following our J-Term program – a third of the students returned to Spain for their practicum!  There is real value for students to gain experience in the field through on site practicum work and it has been a goal of the IEM program to increase international practica opportunities for our students.


Is there a story that captures one of your most rewarding or significant moments or could you share what drives you to do these types of programs?

[Pulls down signed Team Spain group photo hanging in office] Students framed and signed this awesome memento as a thank you and to remember our inaugural IEM immersive learning program.  This is our group pictured in Toledo during a daytrip we took as part of the program. A team of students planned this as part of their project work in which they were creating co-curricular and experiential learning activities for Middlebury students. The students had to apply Experiential Learning Theory into practice to develop the excursion for our group.  It was their job to prepare their peers for the experience (abstract conceptualization), lead the excursion (concrete experience) and debrief the experience (reflective observation).  This experience gave the team leaders practice in understanding onsite administration of study abroad programs from a learning perspective as well as administrative skill development.  The team had to create a budget, coordinate train tickets for the group, create the itinerary and plan of where we were going and what we would be learning, while applying theory to practice and considering the host city context of a city they had not previously visited.  The team coordinated and led the excursion for our group as a pilot program. While leading the trip, I watched them change roles from being a student to taking on the role of a program leader.  They did a tremendous job, but some things didn’t go as planned and I watched them encounter these difficulties – from schedules being off-track, site visits being different than expected, getting lost, and managing a small group of students not arriving on time at the meeting point before departing for the train station.  They had to determine how to navigate these obstacles and make decisions in the moment using information they have learned through their courses and practice in IEM.  After the program, the students also developed and conducted an evaluation of the excursion and made adjustments to the excursion based on the pilot program, and now Middlebury’s Sede Prim team offers this as an optional excursion for their study abroad students.


For more details, read the full interview.

For more information on Paige Butler, visit her MIIS faculty profile.  

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

East Asia Practicum Info Session

Information Session:

East Asia Seminar and Spring Break Immersive Trip to Tokyo and Beijing

The immersive trip (March 18-26) is an integral part of the semester-long seminar “Foreign Policy, Trade, and Security in East Asia,” taught by Professors Akaha and Liang (GSIPM) in the spring of 2017. Everyone who wants to join the trip is required to register either for 4 credits (preferable) or for audit.

When: Thursday, October 13th at 12:00pm

Where: Casa Fuente 434


Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Stretch work: More than another web space. CHECK IT OUT!

groupwork1If you’ve recently visited the Immersive Learning page, you might have noticed a little section called “Stretch Work” and wondered what that even means?! If you’ve heard professors and staff around campus mention this concept at all, it has likely been to promote self-directed learning and new skill development. This concept allows students to create many of their learning opportunities through stretch work. And, they can carry this approach into their careers.

The Stretch work site is to make it easier for you to explore new ways to identify and work on strengthening core competencies. Check it out or submit your ideas/blogs on how we might stretch ourselves more!

Not convinced? See what Professor Edward Laurance had to say.

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

GSIPM Talks with Professor Fredric Kropp about his Illustrious Career and Final Semester at MIIS

Professor Fredric Kropp


After 17 years, Professor Fredric Kropp will be ending his tenure here at the Middlebury Institute. As fall 2016 will serve as his last semester, the Graduate School of International Policy and Management recently interviewed Kropp to discuss and reflect upon his time in academia.


  1. What was it that first brought you to the Middlebury Institute?

My wife and I were living in Australia, and we decided we wanted to come back to the States. I had never heard of the Monterey Institute. So, I did some research on it, and it looked like a pretty interesting place to be. I like the international viewpoint of the students and the faculty, and it was Monterey and the students themselves that were really interesting.


  1. And how long have you been here?

I’m starting my 18th year. It was a different place back then.


  1. What has been the most rewarding aspect of your teaching here?

The things that I’ve done since I’ve been here besides teaching is research. I was president of the faculty senate. I was co-chair of the faculty evaluation committee, and I was chair of the Fisher International MBA program. Typically, I’ve taught about five courses a year, and I really enjoy the interaction with students. Again, it goes back to the worldview and the sophistication of the students.


When I first came here, I was doing research on marketing, cross cultural impacts, advertising, and over time I’ve gone from that to social marketing to entrepreneurship to social entrepreneurship… I have counted it up and I think I’ve had about 32 refereed journal articles since I’ve been here, probably 60 or so conference presentations and eight or nine book chapters. I looked today (on Google Scholar), and since 2011, my papers have been cited over a thousand times. So, that’s really been satisfying to me to know that I made a contribution to the academic literature.


  1. How have you incorporated your extensive professional experience into the classroom? Any specific ways or methods?

Well, pretty much everything I do informs my teaching. Research certainly informs my teaching, but I’m a strong believer in immersive learning, and almost all of my courses are project based. So, typically I’ll run projects with about four or five students each. So, if there are 20 students in the class, it will be about four or five projects. They’ll be with existing firms or social ventures or social entrepreneurs in the community both near and afar.


So, if it’s my social entrepreneur class, I work with social entrepreneurs and the students act almost as a consulting team to the entrepreneur. They get immersed in their lives, they understand what it is to be an entrepreneur and they help them solve problems.


If it’s a marketing class, then it will have marketing projects. Last semester, we did [one] for a local entrepreneur in Salinas who, a number of years ago, was [Monterey County’s] Entrepreneur of the Year. Those are just a couple of examples. For the social entrepreneurship we are always working with social entrepreneurs…


  1. How have you seen social entrepreneurship develop throughout your career?

It’s really an interesting thing because it’s been going on for decades. I think they look back and see Clara Barton, one of the founders of the Red Cross, as a social entrepreneur. But, as a discipline, it didn’t really start getting named until about 20 years ago and it’s only over the last ten years that people start to know it and understand it [well].


But when I’m talking to other people, and I say I work in social entrepreneurship, the most common question I get is, “What’s that?” So, in graduate schools and education, it’s getting better known, but outside it’s still thought of as maybe charities or people doing good stuff. The field has really taken off, and it uses business approaches, in particular entrepreneurial approaches, to solve social problems.


  1. How has MIIS evolved on a whole since you began your tenure?

One of the accomplishments that I’m proud of while being the MBA chair was to develop and implement the joint degrees. Before I was the chair, we had something called dual degrees where people could take an MBA and they could take an IEP or another degree and kind of combine them. You got enough credit that instead of doing it in 3 years you could do it in 2 years. What we really wanted to do was develop the synergies between the programs.  So, we developed an integrated MBA/IPD or IEP, and now there’s a map for students to get through in five semesters.


So, I personally developed a course in social entrepreneurship, and it was my desire to have it be open to students of any degree. It wasn’t just in MBA. I think I’ve had students from [almost] every degree program.


MIIS is really focused on solving social problems, and it’s something that we’ve done and it’s something that attracted me here. Now, I think it may be more purposeful as part of the curriculum and also more purposeful in terms of internships and intensive activities, immersion activities to which Frontier Market Scouts is an example. It’s a wonderful program. I actually sat through it a number of years ago and sat through all the classes to see what our students were getting. They were able to get three extra credits by doing an intensive research program. If I were wearing a hat, I would take it off to CSIL. Everybody over there has done a wonderful job. That has been a tremendous focus for social entrepreneurship and helping the community.


  1. When you look at MIIS as a whole and your time here, what has been your biggest challenge here?

Becoming part of Middlebury has been wonderful. People have asked me how that’s gone and I say on a scale from 1 to 10, it’s probably 11. It’s been great being part of somebody that understands us. And who supports us and who really is not just a fan of what we’re doing, but an advocate.


On a personal level I think that there’s just so much more that I’d want to do… A few years ago, I tried to start a Latino entrepreneurship program, and I had really good emotional support but no financial support, no bandwidth. So, I can remember talking to one of our presidents and I said I really want to do this and they said, “Can you do this and teach all of your courses?” I said, “No.” So, we had to put the Latino entrepreneurship on a back burner. I wish I were more people, [but] that’s a little psychotic (Kropp laughs).


  1. What is your biggest success? Or what do you get the most satisfaction out of?

Success is such an amorphous concept. I like mentoring students, and I have some lifelong relationships with students. In fact I’ve even performed wedding ceremonies for students. The bond with students, that’s great for me… helping them after they’re out of here.


  1. What are your hopes for MIIS’ future?

When MIIS was becoming a part of Middlebury, there was a lot of concern on the part of students, and what I would say was “I’m willing to bet you 100 bucks that you’re degree is going to be worth more in ten years than it is now.” I didn’t get any takers. But I think [I] would have made a lot of money on that, and Middlebury is an astounding entity. I think of Middlebury College as one of the finest liberal arts schools in the country, but it’s now more than Middlebury College, it’s the Middlebury Universe. I think it’s going to bring excellence and continued excellence. So, what I would see in the next decade or two or three is that we will continue to be innovative, and we’ll continue to be world class. If anything we’ll get even stronger.


  1. Due to retirement, this will be your last semester. Any immediate plans?

Lots of plans! I’ve been named a Fulbright scholar, and I will be in Ireland from February [2017] to May [2017] of next year doing research on social entrepreneurship. I have a position at the University of Adelaide in Australia. It’s a research position, and the title is “University Professorial Research Fellow.” Sounds pompous, but I guess I’m a jolly good fellow (Kropp laughs).


I go there three times a year. I work with faculty there on their research, and I work with doctoral students. I’ve supervised a couple and advised a number [of them]. So, I’ll continue doing that, and there are potential opportunities in Costa Rica and in France.


  1. Is there anything you would like to leave off with?

I love this place. I hope to be emeritus after I retire. I live about seven, eight minutes away from here. So, I hope to be a presence on campus for a number of years to come.


We here at GSIPM would like to thank Professor Kropp for his dedication and selfless service throughout the years. His expertise and passion for the forward progress of students and the Institute on a whole will be missed. We wish him well on his future endeavors and congratulate him on his Fulbright appointment.

Thursday, September 15th, 2016





Experiential learning is a cornerstone of the MIIS experience. While you are here, you are able to participate in a wide range of international and domestic immersive learning opportunities during the January term and spring break. Practica provide students with opportunities to explore real world contexts as freelance consultants, field researchers, and junior-level professionals.

Immersive Learning recently announced 2017 Practica and now invite you to an informational session to discuss the variety of opportunities available. Where can you picture yourself —Colombia, Czech Republic, East Asia, Egypt, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, Spain or here in California?

For complete details on 2017 opportunities visit

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

A Semester at Sea and SUFE for Prof. Yuwei Shi

yuwei-shiProf. Yuwei Shi is back from a year-long sabbatical at Semester at Sea and Shanghai University (SUFE) where he taught two social entrepreneurship classes through Semester at Sea. Through these classes he was able to recruit 21 teams of students, faculty and staff to compete in a Social Venture Challenge. Several “life-long learners” aboard the ship served as mentors and judges, and teams competed for $5,000 in prize money. “Everyone was dedicated. They were meeting with students all the time,” explains Yuwei. After a 103 day journey (48 days at sea), three winners were declared and Yuwei was off to his second sabbatical project, in his hometown of Shanghai.

Yuwei describes the higher education sector in China as “reaching a tipping point. Parents are not happy with the [Chinese] schools and are sending their children abroad.” As part of the government’s economic reforms, 13 universities in China have been selected to experiment with liberalization. As a result, Shanghai University created a new finance school called “The Model School for Globalization”. “It’s an exciting time in China,” Yuwei explains. “Because these experiments are government-backed, the ideas will not just stay on paper.”

Cue Yuwei’s consultancy at SUFE, where Yuwei primarily conducted design thinking sessions. Working with university officials, members of McKinsey and Co. and Ashoka’s European arm, he explored what students need to know in the world of finance. Design thinking, championed by the Stanford D School, is a mixture of empathy mapping, stakeholder analysis, brainstorming and prototyping. A visual recorder, similar to a cartoonist, typically documents the design process. “Design thinking,” Yuwei indicates, “is a highly sought after skill, and it’s something that MIIS students learn to do in Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) and DPMI.”

Professor Shi will be back in the classroom this fall, teaching the Case Competition Prep Course, Business and Global Issues, Global Business Strategies and the Frontier Market Scouts practicum.

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