Students in the Monterey 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:
SCOs contribute to development by designing, implementing and assessing programs. Often, they also engage fact-finding, policy advocacy, and networking to achieve change.
The settings in which SCOs operate are varied. They include transitional states, low income countries, and anywhere where people hold aspirations for a better future. There are many communities in middle and high income countries--including the US--where large numbers of people live in poverty, face discrimination, or battle against threats to their wellbeing. These settings are also important for development work.
Through their projects, programs and other activities, SCOs address issues of critical importance to society by fostering positive, sustainable changes in human behavior that are linked to specific development outcomes. These changes may be socio-economic (e.g., reducing poverty through micro-enterprise development), socio-cultural (e.g., protecting human rights for traditionally excluded groups), socio-environmental (e.g., reducing the carbon footprint through recycling), or socio-political (e.g., increasing civic participation in local governance or achieving gender equity).