Archive for MPA

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Amy Nguyen is taking DPMI beyond the classroom.

Hello! My name is Amy Nguyen, and today I will be sharing my experience in the Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI) program in Monterey this past May.

A bit about me: Within the Development Practice and Policy (DPP) program, I am working towards a Master in Public in Administration (MPA) with a specialization in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Design. Prior to MIIS, I worked for the organization, Relief International (RI) (www.ri.org), where I am a still a member of its Performance Accountability and Learning team.

DPMI was a big draw for me when I applied to MIIS. I liked the idea of learning not only how to design projects, but also how to flip the traditional design process: how to make it more dynamic, more iterative and more community-oriented.

The two instructors, Beryl Levinger and Evan Bloom, have designed a unique, very hands-on learning environment. Over the span of the two weeks, we did all our work in teams: in the first week, to identify a development challenge facing a country and design a project, and, in the second week, to design a social innovation through collaborating.

These team projects took my mind to incredible places: first, to the coastal Ayeyarwady region in Myanmar, and, then, to the mountainous community of Barillas, Guatemala. Both projects involved understanding and addressing challenges facing farmers. Throughout the two weeks, we mixed and matched approaches, learning traditional tools and methodologies (e.g. as results frameworks and indicators) along with emerging ones (e.g. human-centered design, social network analysis).

My DPMI cohort was a fantastic group of working professionals and students. Each of us brought a different lens to the table: health, gender, migration, environment, education, and others. We asked hard questions. We brainstormed. We listened. And, just as importantly, we had fun. Somewhere in the mayhem of Google Drive folders, sticky notes, and team ground rules, our cohort was buzzing with energy and a sense of purpose. It felt like we were learning new approaches to think and work through development challenges… with some of the very colleagues whom we may be working alongside in the future.

DPMI has opened up new areas of work for me at RI. I am becoming more involved in the development of our new global partnerships strategy. This summer, I am completing my practicum with our Myanmar country team, focusing on ways to strengthen program quality through monitoring and evaluation (M&E), design and strategy. All of my deliverables will be tied to content from the DPMI modules. I’m excited to see my newfound skills and knowledge spring to life; as Beryl would say, I am excited to “hit the ground thinking.”

 

People, systems, and process matter a lot to me. Upon returning back to school, I felt it was important for me to become exposed to the methodologies, tools, and approaches that honor that principle. In the development field, we spend a lot of time in the development feeling stuck: The problems are great, and they are many. It is easy to feel beholden to the traditional way of doing things. DPMI beckoned us to do differently, and I am a better practitioner now because of it.

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Immersive Learning Student Portal is Live!

Read about students’ immersive learning projects all around the world including in the United States from 2014-2017.  Click here to visit the student portal. The student portal is a compilation of immersive learning experiences of MIIS students along with their project deliverables.

Immersive learning is the learning that occurs when students are outside of the traditional role of teacher and student. Immersive learning is collaborating with other people, organizations, and governments. It is the critical process of applying critical thinking and is a cornerstone of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) pedagogical philosophy on helping students develop skills and knowledge for preparing students to build a better world. 

Immersive Learning Programs include internships, DPMI +, IPSS, J-term & Spring Practica, summer opportunities, and directed studies. Through immersive learning programs, students take part in projects where they are outside of the traditional role of teacher and student.

To learn more about Immersive Professional Learning Programs and funding click here

 

Monday, May 1st, 2017

How My DPMI Plus Experience Paid Off More Than I Ever Expected

Sarah Terherst completed DPMI Plus in the Spring of 2017. She is currently working as the Field Program Coordinator for the Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth projected based in Niamey, Niger.

I’m one of those weirdos who has known what they wanted to do for a long time. I wanted to work in “development” before I ever knew it was an actual sector. When I was very young I lived in Togo and saw extreme poverty and subsistence farming first hand. Since then I’ve wanted to work in what I used to call “sustainable agriculture” which is now coined as “improved livelihoods” and “resilience.” When I joined MIIS I believed it would be the tipping point of my career, tying together all of my past experiences and launching me into my desired future career: program manager, in the field, somewhere in Africa, working on food security. So, naturally, I jumped at my first opportunity to take DPMI which then propelled me into the DPMI+ program.

 

I strongly believe that one of the best things that MIIS has to offer is the Career and Advising Center (CACS) and my journey here is a testament to that. When applying for my DPMI+, I reached out to my favorite professors as well as Gael and Scott at CACS and applied to over 30 positions. Scott spent a lot of time with me, explaining how food security projects worked overseas and told me about certain organizations who implement USAID-funded projects. He even reached out to some of his contacts on my behalf which led to an interview for the Livestock and Market Development Internship position at Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). I was offered the internship and headed out to Washington D.C. shortly after the new year. Just three months after I started my internship I became a full time employee for CNFA working on a different project. I am now a Field Program Coordinator for the Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) project based in Niamey, Niger.

 

For me, my DPMI+ experience led me exactly toward my career goals. And, I’m incredibly grateful to still have access to resources like Beryl, Scott, and Gael as I start a new role in a new place. As I’m given new tasks or come across challenges within the project, it’s great to have their insight and guidance at my fingertips.

 

I think my biggest advice to students considering DPMI+ would be two-fold. First, if you want to work in development definitely take DPMI. Understanding how development projects work; how they are designed, implemented, scaled, and how impact is measured is ESSENTIAL and gives you a great framework to work from. Second, while you are applying for your DPMI+ assignments only apply to organizations where you want to work. Don’t look at your DPMI+ as just another way to get more experience that you hope someday will matter to a recruiter.  Search for internships and opportunities that are actually in the sector and/or role you want to be working in. Pursue your career through DPMI+. I’m not gonna lie…internships are not glamorous…at my internship in D.C. I emptied and loaded dishwashers daily. But, at the same time and in the same role, I learned how USAID-funded projects operate, I gained a wealth of knowledge about livestock and agricultural projects, and I landed a full time gig.

 

I have in no away arrived. I feel more like I’m starting over. I’m in a new country, working on a new project, and speaking in a different language. I think the picture here is a perfect summary of my time so far in the field. Notice: the other two women beside me are not hysterically laughing. That is because they actually know what’s going on around them…they know exactly which appropriate customs should take place at this baptism and they completely understand the French as well as both local languages being spoken around them. Meanwhile, I’m just cracking up having a good ol’ time while I blunder through my time here. It’s a blast and I’m loving every minute.

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

DPMI Plus Spotlight: Addy Jimenez Haga

DPMI Plus Spring 2017 is underway and we have the inside scoop from current DPMI Plus participant, Addy Jimenez Haga, IPD. She is currently working in Peru for the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC).
How did you find your practicum position?
During my first semester at MIIS, Scott Webb sent out an internship opportunity with UNLIREC – which happened to be in Peru. I pinned this message and kept it into consideration when choosing an organization for my DPMI Plus practicum. The fact that UNLIREC is in Peru is a added bonus since I spent two years in northern Peru as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
What has been the most challenging work task you have been given in your current position so far and why? 
I have been working on an Operational Forensics and Ballistics Manual; I assisted on mapping the 26 Zonas Veredales in Colombia for logistical strategy in the disarmament process; I have been disaggregating dozens of news articles connecting  private security guards with homicides, suicides, femicides and accidents while using a firearm; and I am in the process of building an M&E tool for the centre… but the most challenging aspect of it all, is the culture shock of being in a rich-feedback and team-oriented environments like what we have at MIIS, to autonomy and independence. I miss having 3-4 rough drafts that have been edited by a faculty member, and all of the brilliant minds working together to produce the best deliverable possible. Nonetheless, this has been an enriching experience and my expectations have been exceeded.
 What skill did MIIS teach you that you have found to be useful in your current work?
Courses that I have applied in the disarmament Centre are  Program Evaluation, Proposal Writing, Finance Functions, Citizen Security in Latin America, Network Analysis, and Organizational Sustainability. The skills include designing effective indicators, observing dynamics within the office and imagining its weighted network (i.e. who is the cutpoint? who is the person connecting everyone?, who has the highest eigenvector? whose brain should I pick to brainstorm career opportunities?), feeling confident when reading a logical framework, finding quantitative data, and how to make M&E sexy/appealing.
How do you see this position helping you in your future career?
I was not sure if working for the UN was something I would enjoy. I love fieldwork and will continue searching for career paths that include it. But I have also been incredibly impressed to witness, live, the relentless hard work and dedication from those at UNLIREC. I am gaining a diplomatic discourse, understanding the uphill battles of working with beneficiaries while gaining patience, and a better understanding of the phases, challenges, and the importance of communication of project cycles.
What advice do you have for someone currently looking for a DPMI Practicum?
Start thinking of regions, organizations, and/or sectors of interest early on. And in my case, I chose an internship that I once found to be somewhat deviating from my passions with the hopes of narrowing my career objective. *Side note: it actually added disarmament to my passions.
What is something you learned you enjoy to do, that you did not previously realize?
I am learning about guns! which I never thought I would be drawn to. Arms trafficking and violence caused by a weapon has broadened my lens to see development from a different angle. Security and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean are increasing, and being part of an organization that believes security to be a human right, is an honor.
What are your plans after practicum is over?
I will start searching for job opportunities next month that hopefully include a niche of international development and monitor and evaluation.
Thank you Addy and we wish you continued success!
To learn more about UNLIREC, check out their website.

Friday, February 24th, 2017

IPSS, IONP, DPMI Plus, IEM Practicum, FMS, and Student Exchange Placements for 2017 Announced

IPSS, IONP, DPMI Plus, IEM Practicum, FMS, and Student Exchange Placements for 2017 Announced

For spring 2017, a total of 51 Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey students will participate in our distinguished semester long immersive learning programs, to be placed around the country and the globe. Domestically, students are as close as the San Francisco Bay area and as far away as Washington, D.C. Internationally, they are spread across five continents.

Programs include the International Professional Service Semester (IPSS), the International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program (IONP), DPMI Plus, the International Education Management (IEM) Practicum, the Student Exchange Program, and the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) Program.

Below is a list of current participants, their organizations, and their locations.

International Professional Service Semester (IPSS)

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Thomas Chamberlin SeeSaw Cape Town, Africa
Matthew Coomer NOAA Seattle, WA
Megan Godfrey NOAA Fairbanks, Alaska
Joshua Morris TNC Santa Cruz, CA
Sorina Seeley NOAA Fairbanks, Alaska
Akimi Yano-Manzano UNITAR Hirsohima, Japan
Daniele Elizaire UN Women New York, New York
Andrew Larson State Department Lima, Peru
Steven Perle IRC Sacramento, CA
Ariel Watkins EDC Washington, D.C.
Patrick Niceforo Korean Economic Institute Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rupp Greenbelt Alliance/Transform San Francisco, CA
Monique Rao UNICEF Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Shirin Khan Atlantic Council Washington, D.C.
Lieselotte Siegenthaler Center for Climate and Security Washington, D.C.
Laura Williams State Department Washington, D.C.
Maxwell Petersen Atlantic Council Washington, D.C.
Margaret Arno LLNL Livermore, CA

International Organizations and   Nonproliferation Program (IONP)

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Julia Diamond United Nations Office of Disarment Affairs (UNODA New York
Lesley Kucharski United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) New York
Kyle Pilutti IAEA Vienna, Austria
Nate Taylor Czech Technical University/CTBTO Prague, Czech Republic

DPMI Plus

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Genevieve Dabrowski Bay Area Council Economic Institute San Francisco, CA
Sarah Terherst CNFA DC/Niger
Genevieve Yehounme WRI Washington, D.C.
Addy Jimenez Haga UNLiREC Peru
William Holeness UNEP RONA Washington, D.C.
Nicholas Stulck Catholic Relief Services Ecuador
Elizabeth Falconer Catholic Relief Services Bolivia
Rachel Dickinson Global Fund for Women San Francisco, CA
Michelle Zaragoza Peace Corps Nicaragua
Adam Grant Peace Corps Armenia
Veronica Diaz US State Department and UNICEF DC/Honduras

International Education Management (IEM) Practicum

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Annelise Andrade EUSA Centro Universidad International Office Sevilla, Spain
Abbiola Ballah MIIS, Center for Social Impact Learning Monterey, CA
Jenna Cotey South Puget Sound Community College Washington
Megan Dieck University of Wisconsin-Plattville Platteville, WI
Damien Lazzari UC Santa Cruz, Global Engagement ISSS Santa Cruz, CA
Heather Rahimi University of Utah Asia Campus Incheon, South Korea
Jake Reckford American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) Washington, D.C.
Will Stewart Kuwait Cultural Office Los Angeles, CA
Clarissa Stewart Middlebury- CMRS Oxford Humanities Program Oxford, England
Yuki Ueda MIIS Strategic Programs Monterey, CA
Daniel Watson Portland Community College Portland, OR

Student Exchange Programs

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Sean Bonowitz Middlebury Schools Abroad France
Bryce Bay Middlebury Schools Abroad Russia

Frontier Market Scouts (FMS)

NAME PLACEMENT LOCATION
Ben Grimming Incubator Assistant @ Kalu Yala Panama
Frances Hess Impact Fellow @ Jeeon Bangladesh
Courtney Kemp Investment Relations Consultant @ Mangrove Credit Group Liberia
Christina Lukeman Impact Assessment Fellow @ Uberis Capital Cambodia
Jessica Anderson Business Development Manager @ Toucan Education Programs Belize

 

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.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

DPMI+ Fellow Jeanine Willig on her experience at Social Impact

Jeanine Willig (far left), DPMI+ Fellow & IPS 2016 student

Organization:  Social Impact

Title: Performance Evaluation Intern

Location: Washington, D.C.

Social Impact contracts with lots of different organizations, mainly for performance and impact evaluation and capacity building.  As a Performance Evaluation Intern, Jeanine’s been working to support the impact evaluation team on Social Impact contracts with USAID.  Last month, Jeanine helped conduct a literature review for FHI360’s Rural Teacher Retention Program in Ghana.  She also worked on an impact evaluation of a WASHPlus project in three districts of Bangladesh that are highly impacted by climate change and experience constant flooding.  Jeanine loves the variety of projects she gets to work on at Social Impact and says she never gets bored.  “I have days where I look up and I haven’t noticed the time go by,” Jeanine says.  “It’s been a HUGE learning curve.  I can’t believe it’s been a month already.”

Jeanine has recently signed up to assist with the evaluation of a Millennium Challenge Corporation anti-corruption project in Honduras.  The goal of the project was to help the Honduran government meet anti-corruption standards in order to be eligible for funding for development.  The evaluation with which Jeanine will assist involves quantitative and qualitative methods to measure impact and entails a comprehensive 23 evaluation questions (typically impact evaluation involves three to six evaluation questions).

How did MIIS prepare you to succeed as a Performance Evaluation Intern at Social Impact?

Jeanine credits Beryl Levinger’s Program Evaluation class with preparing her most directly for her work with Social Impact, which so far involves heavy use of data-evaluation methods, understanding and analyzing qualitative data, and “really getting into the nitty-gritty.”  Another class that was particularly useful was Ed Laurance’s Intro to Human Security & Development.  The “on-time assignments” in this class gave her the skills to be able to research and sort through information rapidly and effectively.  When asked what advice she had for MIIS students interested in similar work, Jeanine recommended that all students take Data Analysis (she wishes that she had).  She also said, “Finance and budgeting is such a NEED in this industry.  People who currently do it are doing it because no one else can and they have just taught themselves.  Skills in finance or budgeting will make your job application stand out.”

Any other advice for current students?

Jeanine wants other MIIS students to keep in mind that “people will care about you and last minute stuff is okay.  When an advisor says that you’ll find a spot, have faith.  Having a good attitude about the job search is important.  You’ve got to keep it in perspective.  Keep your ears open – there are things out there you don’t know about and opportunities you can’t even imagine, so just keep an open mind.  There’s so much out there.”

Find out more…

You can read more about Jeanine’s experiences on her blog.

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Reminder: Apply for IPSS 2017 by March 31st

IPSS 2017! (1)

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

D.C. Online Summer Internship Fair

dc career fairDon’t miss your opportunity to participate in the 2016 Online DC Summer Internship Fair and connect directly with employers in government, public policy, international affairs, communications, and philanthropy. This event is great for those exploring opportunities in Washington DC.  The event will take place on March 1, 2016 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

MIIS Alum Julia Belliard Featured in “The Californian” Article

Julia Belliard MPA ’05 has become the a point person for human resources related information in the California agricultural sector through her position as executive director of the Agricultural Personnel Management Association (APMA).

Take a look at this article in which she shares her journey from Belarus to MIIS and beyond.

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Join Prof. Olsen for ‘Emerging Discipline of Impact Accounting and Management’

sara olsen

Are you interested in social impact, social investing, stakeholder assessment, and/or environmental impact assessment? Would you like to pursue a professional certification in ‘Introduction to Analysis of Social Impact’? Why not bolster your knowledge of these topics in a course taught by a leading professional in the field?

Join Professor Sara Olsen in the three credit course MBAG 8616 Emerging Discipline of Impact Accounting and Management. The course is open with no pre-requisites, and will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-9:00pm throughout the entire term, starting February 10th.

The course will provide students with an overall framework within which to understand the social/environmental impact of any enterprise, and will then equip students with a practical toolkit. This toolkit can be applied to any entity to gauge its impact, and to manage impact as a strategic asset and/or risk factor.

In addition to other topics, Professor Olsen will cover content to prepare you to sit for an optional professional certification in ‘Introduction to Analysis of Social Impact’, awarded by Social Value International (SVI). Pursuing the optional certification requires an exam fee of $100.

Register for MBAG 8616 Emerging Discipline of Impact Accounting and Management today!

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Vote for MIIS in The Economist Case Study Competition!

Economist

Help MIIS defend its title!

The Economist Case Study Competition is now live! That means that the People’s Choice voting is now open, so be sure to vote for MIIS, and tell your friends!

Students Hesham AlSaati, Thomas Gilmore and Michael Mahoney are representing MIIS with their Real Vision Investment Case Study. View their presentation! Don’t forget to vote and share!

For more information on the challenge description and prizes, check out this link.

Friday, May 8th, 2015

OpenIDEO – Accepting Ideas for Refugee Education Challenge

Refugee Education Challenge is now accepting ideas to improve education opportunities for children in refugee camps.

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“Now is the chance to share an idea you have for how to improve education for refugees. We’ve partnered with UNCHR and UNICEF – so even if you aren’t able implement your idea yourself, there’s an opportunity you to submit a winning idea that could be implemented through partnerships with organizations already working with UNICEF and UNHCR.

Winning ideas on our shortlist will attend a design support bootcamp hosted by IDEO.org designers, where participants will learn how to apply human-centered design to their challenge idea. A handful of these ideas will be selected to receive a share of $500,000 in funding and design support.”

Design Principles for Refugee Education:

  • Focus on what we can do now
  • Design for gender equality
  • Keep resource limitations in mind
  • Design for uncertainty
  • Take an inclusive approach
  • Be culturally sensitive

Click to find out more about OpenIDEO and to submit an idea!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Immersive Learners Champion Seven Countries through Nine Programs

I sat down with Maritza Munzón (MPA/IEM ’15), and Rafael Hernandez (MPA ’15) at a local coffee shop last week to interview them about MIIS’s Immersive Learning Programs. Maritza has traveled on five trips to six countries through MIIS (Peru, Cuba, Kenya, Mindanao, and East Asia), and Rafael has gone to four (Peru, Cuba, Rwanda, and East Asia). Both had a lot to say, much more than I can fit into this interview; I can’t encourage you enough to talk with your peers about their experiences abroad.

Q: What made you choose the immersive learning programs you chose?

Maritza: For me it’s always about “why not?” It is always a question of “if I don’t go, will I regret it?” And the answer is almost always “Yes”. So I do everything I can to take advantage of the opportunity to travel. MarRafFurthermore, because I am in the IEM degree program and want to conduct these trips myself one day, the best way to learn how to do this is to go on as many as I can!

Rafael: I was eager to begin traveling right away when I got here. That was the reason I picked this school over many other options – the traveling component. Right off the bat I could go on this Peru trip, that had a practical application of policy analysis, – and so I went.

M: I don’t think many people have traveled the way we travel here at MIIS.

There is only so much reading you can do about culture, practice, and so on, but you need to embed it in your muscle memory to learn and understand.

Q: Have you gone on any trips together?

Both went to Peru (but in different communities), as well as Cuba, and East Asia.

M: Peru started my obsession with these trips; the experience got my feet wet and then I wasn’t scared, anymore, to do the others.

Q: Are there any programs you especially wish you could have gone on?

R: I would have liked to go to the Philippines.

M: I would have done the El Salvador trip if I had the time. But I am always torn between what is familiar and what is less accessible. El Salvador is within my reach because of language, so I decided to take the leap and go on trips that I was less likely to do on my own:  Kenya, East Asia, and the Philippines.

Q: How did the programs and learning styles compare?

Both: Cuba was more like learning tourism, while Peru and East Asia where more research based: we did academic research in Asia, and field research in Peru.

M: I was a guinea pig for many of the trips – for example:  Kenya, Peru, and East Asia. Cuba was established. Being on a program in its first incarnation is a valuable experience for someone learning about how these programs are conducted.

R: I learned a lot about different types of intelligence and understanding. You know there is the computer competency type, where you either know it or you don’t. And if you don’t, you can ask help from someone who does – and there are no ego problems associated with that. Cultural competency, on the other hand, and especially at this school, is more complicated in that way. Then there is emotional intelligence (EQ) versus the IQ. When you go to speak to someone in a village, everyone on these trips is so concerned about being politically correct, which makes them all self-conscious. I found that the best way to take to people is honestly and openly.

Q: Since you have gone on so many of these programs, do you have any constructive feedback?

R: Like I said, these trips are one of the reasons why I chose this school. And we are so grateful for these experiences.

M: Growing up the way I did, I would have never been able to do this on my own. And I am grateful, and the best way I can give back is by applying my IEM knowledge and skills and giving constructive feedback. I was able to design a pre-departure training for the Peru trip, which was very well received, but not yet implemented. Based on our experience in Peru, Cortney Copeland and I designed a pre-departure workshop and assessment for that trip through our IEM Design and Assessment Class. In the workshop we wanted students to bond with the people in their groups, learn each other’s working styles and strength, while also getting to practice giving the surveys and entering the data. There are always hiccups with international travel and our goal was to develop cohesive groups before departure to help student better work through some of those unpredictable moments. The assessment consisted of a simple survey that students took before and after the trip to better inform staff and faculty of what is working and what needs improvement.

One of my frustrations with the organization of these trips is that the system that puts these trips together does not value the experience that the students going already have. Because the information isn’t coming from a respected magazine or periodical, but from the mouth of a student, who has had the personal experience or cultural experience growing up – but they didn’t write a paper on it, so…. We don’t get a diploma for growing up bilingual or for living similar lives to that of the people we are studying.

R: So if professors and institutions have a way, for better or worse, of validating those experiences, for example, “here is Maritza, she grew up in a culture that…..” and by doing that, it validates the person, and symbolically validates the peers that have experienced this. People come back like “I was shocked to see this and that”, and that is the only thing that gets the spotlight. But there are people who have lived this their whole lives.

M: Out of the bad comes the good. MIIS is proud of its international diversity on campus, but now there are also conversation on national diversity and socioeconomic diversity as well, which is something that came out of a critique on one of these trips. We go on these trips, and learn, and some things are difficult, but the important thing is to take the bad with the good and make something out of it. For some of us, that meant creating the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which highlights domestic diversity on campus and is working on assessing the needs of all students, whether international students, first generation college students, student of color, LGBTQ, or second career seekers. We not only wanted to address diversity by identifying the needs of all students on campus but to make sure it is something that continues to be addressed in the institution after we are gone.

Professors should also make a point to make focus groups mandatory. A format of how to measure the trips as a whole, but also each trip individually, so it can be improved upon, but that responsibility also shouldn’t sit solely on the professor’s shoulders.

Q: Any advice for students who will travel on these programs in the future?

M: Some things you can’t prepare for. Keep an open mind, don’t sweat the small stuff. Like dirt, bugs-

R: – and cold showers –

M: – and so on because it distracts from the experience. Don’t fight the discomfort.

R: You don’t need language to communicate with people. You shouldn’t necessarily know a language perfectly – keep the willingness to go at the forefront. Don’t be catered to: we chose to go, to help. Be the one helping, not the helped. Own your decision to go.

Language should not be a barrier to communicating with people. In fact, I learned from my inability to speak the local language, which became a resource of information, connection, and interaction. When I ask you, “how do you say this?”, I become your student and switch the power dynamic. People love to teach you, to speak from authority. There is laughter, and it breaks the ice and opens new things. They think, “Here is a person who wants to know my language.” It helps equalizing the playing field.

Q: Is there something you never travel without?

M: I carry medicine for altitude sickness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, congestion, and allergies; but I also carry hydration salts and EmergenC to try and prevent getting sick as well. You never know how sick you are going to get and might not be able to get to a pharmacy right away or be able to communicate what you need so its good to carry some meds you trust. Oh! and Baby wipes.

R: Baby wipes! Pen and notepad.

*shows us his pen and notepad, which, sure enough, are in his back pocket*

M: That’s what I picked up, now I’ll do that.

R: I like to record sounds from the trips, it brings you back. *plays recording*

M: Learn how to say a greeting, and please and thank you in the local language.

R: So important!

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smaller headshotKatya Gamolsky (joint BA/MA ‘17) is a first year student who works for the Immersive Learning Programs Office. She recently went on the Los Angeles trip that focused on Homelessness, with Dr Iyer, and will be attending DPMI DC this summer. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to know more about our Immersive Learning Programs, please email her at immersive@miis.edu.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Team El Salvador Looking for a Team Leader!

Students from all MIIS Programs are encouraged to Apply!

TES Leader

TES Leader 2

 Description of Responsibilities 

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Leadership term lasts early May 2015 to early May 2016

For more information check out the Team El Salvador Blog or email any questions to teamelsalvadormiis@gmail !

Send Resume & Cover Letter to teamelsalvadormiis@gmail.com by Sunday, April 14th!

 

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

A Student’s Reflection on the 2015 Regional Hult Competition

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– Blog contributed by Kelly Quackenbush, MPA ’15

On Friday, March 13th, my team and I piled into Tim’s van for the drive up to San Francisco, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have butterflies in our stomachs. We were on our way to compete against nearly 50 other schools in the 2015 Regional Hult Competition. The challenge this year was “How can we provide quality early education to ten million children under age six in urban slums?”

My team consisted of Timothy Cunningham, Katie Barthelow, Noah Halton, and myself, and we had been working together for 6 months on our social enterprise, the Learning Roots Network. Our idea was to use technology to facilitate real-life interaction between caregiver and child. We would organize workshops about holistic early childhood education, and facilitate activity design sessions whereby residents in slums would create activities that made sense to them. These would be simple, short activities, such as stacking cups, identifying colors around the house, or counting grains of rice. Our idea was based on the premise that knowledge already exists in slums. What we wanted to do was shine a light on those local ways of knowing and nurture them to create a marketable product (which we call an “activity-based app”). Ultimately, we hoped, we would challenge people’s ideas about where knowledge comes from (doesn’t have to be from “experts”), and how value is created (value can come from slum communities).

Friday afternoon we arrived for registration and were handed folders, asked to pose for pictures, and shown to our very own break-out room, where we could relax and prepare. Half the teams would present in the morning, and half in the afternoon. We were scheduled for the morning, which meant that we would hear other teams’ pitches in the afternoon. Our friend Nicole Manapol volunteered to accompany us for the day as our “team advisor” and it was wonderful to have the extra support as we practiced our pitch the last few times. Finally, we were called.

Click here to read more

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Update on the Sarah Meek Travel Grant for Research in Africa

Summer and Fall Applications Invited

In January several students applied for this grant but none were awarded. In every case the requests were for the summer because there was little time for anyone to prepare a travel grant proposal for the spring immersive learning programs.

The result is that all the money available for travel grants is now available for summer and fall travel for research on social change in Africa. The research must be conducted in Africa for a duration of at least 2 and a half months.

To receive this grant students must submit a research design that focuses on a social condition in Africa of the applicant’s choosing; e.g., poverty, environment, crime, armed violence, gender inequality, conflict, disease, education, refugees, etc., with the goal of making policy/program recommendations that can change that condition.

The application must include the following elements:

  1. Dates of research
  2. Location of research, to include a letter of support from an organization which is hosting or assisting you with your project.
  3. A two page statement that includes a complete research design, to include a research question, a literature review that shows a need for this research, evidence generation methods, and its potential impact on the social condition.
  4. A description of the deliverable and date of completion.

Applications must be received between now and 1 April. A committee of faculty judges will evaluate all applications and determine the recipients of the award by 15 April. Awards will be given as reimbursement for travel to Africa. Only enrolled students may receive a travel grant. If two students will be conducting the research together, the award will be split between the two students with a cap of $1500 per award. Travel will not be awarded for an internship, unless appropriate research will be conducted as part of the internship.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss the eligibility of your planned research for this award, please make an appointment with Professor Ed Laurance at elaurance@miis.edu. He can also be reached at 831-402-2631.

These awards are made possible by a continuing donation from the family of Sarah Meek, a MIIS alum of 1996 whose life was cut short while working to improve social conditions in Africa.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

DPP Welcome Wine & Cheese Mixer

Development Practice and Policy: One Program, Two Degree Options 

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(Source: DPP Facebook Event Page

So, you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the DPP program – and now you can finally get the full scoop!

DPP will be hosting a wine & cheese mixer at the McCone Atrium (outside Irving Auditorium) on Wednesday, March 4th, at 5:00PM. If you are MPA, IPS, or IDP, you are now part of the larger umbrella of DPP. Join us at the mixer to hang out with DPP colleagues and faculty and hear more about the program!

Date: Wednesday, March 4th

Time: 5:00PM-7:00PM

Location: McCone Atrium (Outside Irving Auditorium)

RSVP on the Facebook Event! Or feel free to just show up!

And check out the MIIS DPP page for more information about the Program!

 

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

New Internship Opportunity in Uganda!

Looking for a summer internship opportunity in Africa? Check out ISLA – and feel free to join tomorrow’s info session from 12pm-1pm in Morse B206! http://www.isla-serve.org/

*MPAs – this could count for DPMI Plus!

isla Uganda

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Analyst Program with the World Bank Group

 

Check out this great opportunity with the World Bank Group!

 

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