Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
How does the MIIS MPA program equip students to work in development-oriented SCOs?

Students in the MIIS MPA program are prepared to apply - in diverse settings and with diverse stakeholder groups - the approaches widely used by social change organizations (SCOs). They also learn how to depart from traditional development practices to pursue innovative techniques and processes to improve the human condition in an increasingly complex world. Typically, program graduates complete coursework related to eight key thematic areas:

  • Leading mission-driven organizations
  • Managing and generating human, financial and material resources
  • Practicing good governance
  • Creating policy environments conducive to sustainable social change
  • Using qualitative and quantitative information to design solution strategies to critical problems
  • Evaluating programs, projects and initiatives
  • Developing organizational and individual capacity
  • Building networks and partnerships with diverse actors

Students may elect to create a four-course specialization to complement their coursework in the key thematic areas.  Illustrative degree specializations include development management; gender and development; human rights; security and development; monitoring and evaluation; and capacity development.

Highly relevant core courses, challenging professional service opportunities, complementary specializations, and a collegial community all contribute to helping graduates become gifted at:

  • Developing both oneself and others (at different levels of society) to become ever more effective SCO leaders and managers
  • Strengthening social change organizations so they can expand their impact
  • Promoting systemic approaches to sustainable change 
  • Fostering critical examination of key assumptions and promoting dialogue among people whose assumptions differ
  • Applying theory to practice and using practice to inform theory
  • Communicating and collaborating effectively in multi-cultural, multi-stakeholder environments
  • Generating and using information (both quantitative and qualitative) to improve stakeholder engagement, organizational impact, and the stewardship of resources.

Within a values-driven environment, students in the MIIS MPA program learn how to be effective change agents. They acquire tools and techniques to become practical idealists with a deep understanding of the contested meanings of development; inter-relationships among power, culture and sustainable social change; and, the role that SCOs and civil society play in development.