The classes International Development in Practice I & II: What Works in Development? aspire to develop relevant knowledge and practical skills for students interested in engaging in positive change in a complex world.

International Development in Practice I (POLS 30595)

In this course on international development, students will:

  1. examine the processes that bring about individual and societal change in an international context;
  2. explore the roles, complexities, opportunities and constraints of development projects in areas such as poverty reduction, social development, health, and education; and,
  3. develop practical skills related to project design, planning, management, negotiations, communications, and the evaluation of international development projects.

A central theme of the course is to understand what have we learned over the past decades from systematic research and from experience in the field about “what works.” The course makes use of cases studies and draws lessons from instructive stories of failure as well as inspirational stories of change. The course focuses significant attention on “bright spots” in development– specific interventions that have made important and meaningful contributions.

The course will make use of specific case studies from Haiti, Peru, Bangladesh, Uganda, Mexico, Rwanda, Pakistan, and Chile, among others, drawing lessons from instructive stories of failure and inspirational stories of change. The course focuses significant attention on “bright spots” in development– where specific interventions have made real and meaningful contributions. Furthermore, the instructor aspires to help train students to think like creative, effective, and thoughtful development professionals.

The course is highly interactive and will require active student participation in class discussions, as well as in multiple exercises and group projects.  For the capstone project, students will work together in small groups with a “client” organization to address a real world development problem or opportunity identified by the client.

The class is particularly relevant for students who have engaged or hope to engage in international summer service internships, study abroad, or research, or for those considering professional opportunities in areas related to social and economic development in the international context.


International Development in Practice II

While sharing the same objectives as outlined above, International Development in Practice II (POLS 30596) has students (who have taken ID in Practice I) work with the professor in creating, designing, and leading a new class related to international development.  In addition to helping design the course, each student is responsible for preparing and leading one class session throughout the semester. A rough outline of  the syllabus is presented by the instructor on the first day of class, and is then modified and improved throughout the semester by the students.

The original syllabus

The student-designed syllabus