Case Study Objective: To establish a Master’s in Global Development Practice (MGDP) degree program at Harvard University’s, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Division of Continuing Education (DCE) to prepare development practitioners with the knowledge and practical skills required to critically evaluate and address the multi-dimensional challenges of sustainable development. These challenges include, but are not limited to climate change, extreme poverty, gender inequality, and access to clean water and sanitation. The DCE’s blend of three learning modalities (face-to-face, distance, and hybrid formats) provide a flexible and affordable option for students unable to attend graduate school full-time. The case study identified Harvard DCE as uniquely qualified and structured to rapidly fulfill the underlying goals and objectives of the Global Association MDP curriculum.
MGDP Core Competencies: The Harvard DCE MGDP degree program offers curriculum that covers the full breadth of the four core competencies of the MGDP: health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences and management sciences. With more than 100 established courses, the DCE draws from faculty across Harvard (e.g., School of Public Health, Medical School, Divinity School, Graduate School of Design, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Kennedy School, and the Law School), as well as other institutions of higher education around the world, and leading global practitioners.
Learner-Centered Approach: Harvard DCE has been at the forefront of developing innovative, interactive, and experiential based blended learning since the mid 1980’s. Courses provide learner-centered opportunities through on-line discussion breakout sessions, social media posting within course contexts, hybrid class environments (whereby students meet face-to-face and experience field studies), research evaluation and critique, and student control of learning-speed through asynchronous viewing of lectures.
Field Training Program: The MDP program will foster a “field training in place” approach to the student experience, whereby students will be mentored by their Research Advisor to develop rich and deep relationships with their field training “client”. The client may include NGOs, municipal/state/provincial governments, primary and secondary schools, universities, hospitals, health centers, regional development agencies, commercial enterprises, etc. The learner-centered approach is emphasized, whereby, the selection & development of client relationships, and project scope are the responsibility of the student.