I am Steve Reifenberg, the Executive Director of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

I am teaching courses on international development, titled "International Development in Practice." The purpose of this website is to inform prospective students, current students, teachers and anybody else who is interested about the courses. On this website, you will find details on:  

  • Course content and pedagogy
  • Student projects
  • Student reflections

Please feel free to get in touch. 

-Steve Reifenberg

International Development in Practice I

International Development in Practice I: What Works in Development? (POLS 30595) aspires to develop relevant knowledge and practical skills for students interested in engaging in positive change in a complex world. In this course, students will:

  1. Examine processes for understanding 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, design thinking, management, negotiations, communications, and the evaluation of international development projects.

International Development in Practice II

The Advanced Topics and Applications—International Development and Design Thinking (POLS 30596) seminar builds on the knowledge and practical skills developed in POLS 30595, International Development in Practice I: What Works in Development? Students and I are co-creators of the course. In the first 30% of the course, each student will be part of a team to design one of the modules (2, 3 or 4). In the rest 70% of the course, students will lead one class session within the module while working in a Development Advisory Team with a real-world "client" organization to take learning into practice.

The new (Spring 2017) Innovative Approaches to Development  (POLS 30596 - IDS 30539 - CE 30710) seminar is a highly interactive class, where instructors and students will engage in creating and teaching a new course. This course will serve as a prototype for the first semester of the Integration Lab for Global Affairs, the first in a sequence of four Integration Lab courses in the Keough School of Global Affairs’ Master in Global Affairs. The class will create an innovative curricular space and ecosystem that connects theory and practice, integrating knowledge across different disciplines and professions.

spring 2014

The course focused on major development themes organized in three modules including

  1. Measurement and evaluation,
  2. Negotiation and the process of development, and
  3. Implementation and strategy. 

Spring 2016

Students and I learned about design thinking, and applying design thinking concepts to:

  1. Course design,
  2. International development challenges, and
  3. Real-world problems and opportunities.


The course will focus on innovative and integrative approaches to address global challenges, through:

  1. Co-Creating Personal & Collective Journeys;
  2. Design Thinking  & Futures Thinking;
  3. Systems Thinking;
  4. Negotiations; and
  5. Implementation Science.