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Foreign Policy Analysis
Glenn Denning, Director, MPA in Development Practice

Glenn Denning, Director, MPA in Development Practice


There are many MPA programs, there are
many MPA programs in International Development and on Economic Development,
but this whole notion of Development Practice and Masters in Development
Practice is really something relatively new. And it was started right here at
Columbia. SIPA is the first program to do a Masters in Development Practice and
it’s built on this great foundation of the MPA program within SIPA, but it
applies it to the practice of sustainable development. The program is
really geared towards solving complex problems out there in the world today
and there are several ways in which we do that. The first is the summer
placement. For three months our students are placed in organizations, in the field,
working on development problems. The second area: the capstone project. We
require students to do these team projects that have a client, that have
required deliverables. The third is a course that we call DP lab. So this is a
skills oriented course during the first two semesters and they learn skills on
how to design, how to manage, and how to evaluate development activities. The
clients of our capstone projects, of our summer placements, they come back to us
because they know our students have these skills that are directly
applicable to problem solving. They know how to work in the field, they know how
to work with other disciplines, they know how to work at different levels of
government and with public and private sector, and that’s one of the reasons why
many of these clients end up hiring our students when they graduate.

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