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IR Online Immersion

This page contains information about the on-campus Immersion. General information (e.g. cost, registration) can be found in the top section of this page, information specific to upcoming Immersions (courses, agenda, etc.) can be found in the section below. Check out this helpful graphic for help figuring out which Immersion course to sign up for.

General Immersion Information

What is the Immersion? 
That depends on your graduate program.

If you are a student in either the on-campus or online MIS program
, the Immersion is a required on-campus component of the 15-week hybrid Executive Leadership course.

The Executive Leadership course is a required three-credit course for Master of International Service (MIS) degree candidates. The beginning of the course takes place over three full days on campus. The rest of the course meets online in weekly, 80-minute live sessions. The course incorporates lessons in decision-making, ethical leadership, strategic communication, teamwork, emotional intelligence, leading multi-cultural workforces, and change and crisis management. Students who take this course will have an opportunity to gain insight on their leadership strengths, challenges that may be impeding their effectiveness, and ways of creating leadership impact.

MIS students who have fulfilled their Executive Leadership requirement, are eligible to take Immersion skills institutes with MAIR students. Please contact your Academic Advisor to discuss this option. 

If you are a student in the MAIR online program, the Immersion is an on-campus skills institute required for your graduate degree.

Each semester, the IR Online program offers both on-campus and online skills institutes, which are worth one elective credit each, are pass/fail, span one or two immersive weekends, and cover topics like Multinational Negotiation, Data Visualization, and Program Budgeting. When these skills institutes take place on-campus, they are part of the “on-campus Immersion program” which is a package program and includes career development opportunities, faculty dinners, and group outings. When they are online, they take place entirely via live session and require no additional on-campus component.

Most MAIR students fulfill 3 of their 6 required elective credits by taking one on-campus Immersion and two one-credit online skills institutes.


How do I register for these courses?
Information about skills institute topics and dates is released with the list of standard 15-week courses in the registration email each semester. Students can sign up for online skills institutes through the myau.american.edu portal themselves. Registration for the on-campus Immersion must be done via a separate Google form and submitted by an advanced deadline. The link to this Google form will be distributed in tandem with full 15-week semester registration information. Students who would like to register for the on-campus Immersion will be required to complete and submit a response to the Google forms in the semester prior to their participation.


Does the program cost extra?
Yes, fees vary for students in the MIS and MAIR programs. Students seeking to utilize financial aid or veterans benefits to cover the cost of summer tuition are encouraged to contact Katherine Buster (buster@american.edu) in Financial Aid or Val Verra (vverra@american.edu) in our Veterans Affairs office to learn more about program fee implications. 


When is my next opportunity to register?
The Immersion program is offered every summer and fall semester. The next opportunity for students to participate in the on-campus Immersion will be this summer, from April 28-30, 2017. Students attending the summer Immersion are eligible to participate in the Immersion Career Panel Program. This career event is designed to facilitate career exploration and networking specifically for MAIR and MIS students. Following the panel, students will have the opportunity to connect with professionals from the other panels/industry areas. Career Panel information and registration instructions will be sent with the summer Immersion emails.

Following the summer 2017 Immersion, the fall 2017 Immersion will be offered August 24-27, 2017. Students attending the fall Immersion are eligible to participate in the SIS Site Visit Program. The SIS Site Visit Program is an annual career event designed to facilitate career exploration and networking for the school's graduate students. Site Visit information and registration instructions are sent separate from the fall Immersion emails.

Summer 2017 Immersion Details

This section offers information specific to the Summer 2017 Immersion, taking place April 28-30, 2017 in Washington DC. To register for the Summer 2017 Immersion, you must complete the registration form by Friday, April 14, 2017 at 11:59pm EST. Space is limited and priority is given to students who have not yet done an Immersion. Requests and changes made after the April 14 deadline may have financial implications. If you can't make the Summer 2017 Immersion, the Fall Immersion will take place August 24-27, 2017. Students attending the Fall Immersion are eligible to participate in the annual SIS Site Visit Program for the career development portion. 


Please note that a block of discount rooms has been reserved for students attending the Summer 2017 at the Bethesda Court Hotel in Northwest DC. Students can book directly by calling 1-800-874-0050 and mentioning the "AU IR Online Immersion" or clicking reservation URL: http://bookings.ihotelier.com/bookings.jspgroupID=1760021&hotelID=99683 (rate is $189 for Thursday, April 27th, and $129 for Friday and Saturday, April 28/29th). Book before March 27, 2017 to receive this discount rate.

Course Descriptions

Diplomatic Practice (MAIR): This Skills Institute is designed to provide an intensive overview of diplomacy and how it is actually practiced. The SI will explore the various dimensions of diplomatic practice through lectures, discussion and small group problem solving exercises. Following the weekend program students will be expected to submit a policy options memorandum using a  scenario based in a fictional third world country (Erehwon).

Culturally-Responsive Program Design (MAIR): In this course, students learn how to adopt a culturally-responsive approach to program design and analysis to increase program effectiveness and promote social justice. Through interactive exercises, students will learn the foundational principles of cultural responsiveness, drawing on illuminative case studies from the international development, international education, and global health fields. Students will also practice implementing these skills by designing (or re-designing) culturally-responsive programs, drawing from previous field experiences, or by fleshing out original program ideas.

Mastering the Military (MAIR): This skills institute is designed to help students increase mastery of the complex structure, processes, and culture of the U.S. Department of Defense and the different military services (the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) as well as U.S. Special Operations Forces.  Topics covered include military organizations and DOD structure; budgetary trends; capabilities and weaponry of each service; and the unique nature and value of disparate service cultures, among other areas.

Executive Leadership (MIS): Executive Leadership is a required 3 credit course for Master of International Service (MIS) degree candidates. In an interactive class, students will discuss decision-making, ethical leadership, strategic communication, teamwork, emotional intelligence, leading multi-cultural workforces, and change and crisis management. They will have an opportunity to gain insight on their leadership strengths, challenges that may be impeding their effectiveness, and ways of creating leadership impact.

Faculty Profiles

Ambassador Anthony Quainton (Diplomatic Practice) is the Diplomat-in-Residence and a professor of U.S. Foreign Policy, having previously served in the United States Foreign Service and held ambassadorships to the Central African Republic, Nicaragua, Kuwait, and Peru. Ambassador Quainton has taught courses on Diplomatic Practice, Public Diplomacy and International Communications, Demography and Public Policy, Analysis of U.S Foreign Policy, and U.S Policy in the Middle East.

The research and teaching of Amanda Taylor (Culturally-Responsive Program Design) focuses on the intersection of culture, power, and education. She is particularly interested in the role of race in shaping educational policy and practice as well as community organizing for school reform. Her work has been published by Oxford University Press, the Free Press, and in peer-reviewed journals including Urban Education and Equity & Excellence in Education. Before joining the faculty at SIS, Dr. Taylor taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Relay Graduate School of Education, and in public and international high schools. She served as the Director of Graduate Enrollment Management at SIS for six years and has consulted for the District of Columbia Public Schools, Mass Insight Education, and the Civil Rights Project (now at UCLA).


Lt. Gen. David W. Barno, USA (Ret.) (Mastering the Military) was senior American commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003–2005. Barno is an authority on military operations, the changing character of conflict, civil-military issues, and leader development. He was a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Barno has published extensively and testified before Congress numerous times. He earned his BS from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and MA from Georgetown University.


Dr. Nora Bensahel (Mastering the Military) is a widely published expert on U.S. defense policy, military operations and force structure; coalition and alliance operations; and leader development. Bensahel has held senior positions at the Center for a New American Security and RAND Corporation. She taught in the Security Studies Program at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University for more than a decade. She earned her BA from Cornell University and her MA and PhD in political science from Stanford University.

Nancy Sachs (Executive Leadership) teaches in SIS's graduate program in social enterprise and its online master's program in international relations. She has taught leadership, ethics, and communication at American University’s Kogod School of Business as well as at Georgetown University Law Center, Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Peking University’s School of Transnational Law, and Australian National University.  She has more than 25 years of professional experience in the public and private sectors. In her work for the federal government, she developed award-winning public policy campaigns, many in conjunction with Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profit organizations. She also has worked as a news producer for public television, founded her own publishing small business, and conducted fieldwork in the Middle East.  Professor Sachs began teaching at American University in 2005 and has received an award for outstanding teaching.

Ambassador Sally Shelton-Colby (Executive Leadership - Guest Speaker) has held a number of senior positions in the public, corporate and nonprofit sectors and in international organizations. She has been Deputy Secretary‐General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France; Assistant Administrator for Global Programs at the U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Ambassador to Grenada, Barbados and several other Eastern Caribbean countries; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America; and Legislative Assistant to Senator (later Secretary of the Treasury) Lloyd Bentsen. She was Vice President of Bankers Trust Co., where she was responsible for managing the bank's political risk in developing countries during the third world debt crisis of the 1980s.

Immersion Career Panel Program

Students attending the Summer Immersion are eligible to participate in the Immersion Career Panel Program. This career event is designed to facilitate career exploration and networking specifically for MAIR and MIS students. Over the course of a morning, students attend one of several concurrent career panels followed by a networking session. Each panel consists of a career-related discussion with three different professionals working in the same industry area. Following the panel, students will have a chance to connect with professionals from the other panels/industry areas. Space is limited, so please rank your preferences in the registration form as soon as possible! *Students who are not participating in the Immersion are not eligible to participate in the Summer Career Panels at this time.

If you have questions about the Immersion Career Panel Program, please contact Shaine Melnick (smelnick@american.edu). 

Sample Immersion Agenda

Thursday, April 27th   

6:00pm  Welcome Happy Hour for DC locals and Early Arrivals (not required)

Friday, April 28th

7:30am  Arrival, Check-In
8:30-10:00am  Career Panel
10:00-11:00am  Networking Session
12:00-5:00pm  Class
6:00pm  Dinner 

Saturday, April 29th

8:00am Breakfast and Coffee
9:00am-12:00pm Class
12:00-1:00pm Lunch
1:00-6:00pm Class
7:00pm Programmatic Dinner with students, faculty, staff, and SIS leadership 

Sunday, April 30th

8:00am Breakfast and Coffee
9:00am-12:00pm Class
12:00pm Lunch (grab-and-go) and Closing Remarks

 

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES

MAIR Online Summer 2017 Immersion Email Invitation (sent 2/27/2017)

MIS Online Summer 2017 Immersion Email Invitation (sent 2/27/2017)

MIS On-campus Summer 2017 Immersion Email Invitation (sent 2/27/2017)