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Summer and Intersession Programs

Program Design and Assessment in International Education

Nairobi, Kenya

UNESCO and other major international organizations continue to place high-quality education at the center of their development agendas, and for good reason: high-quality education—especially for women and girls—supports the achievement of multiple economic and human development goals for communities and nations across the globe. But in order to achieve high quality education, one key factor must first be addressed: the development of high-quality teachers. This practicum will place participants at the center of this increasingly important work. In partnership with The Dignitas Project, an innovative and robust NGO working to develop teacher and community leadership in the urban slums of Nairobi, Kenya, practicum participants will develop a culturally-responsive and comprehensive educational program evaluation toolkit in support of the organization's efforts to assess their teacher leadership development program. Practicum participants will also develop a parent-community leadership development program for the organization.

AU SIS students on a safari tour during the Kenya Practicum in Nairobi.

Faculty Director

Amanda Taylor

Academic Details

Practicum Description

The practicum will consist of two projects:

The first will involve developing and pilot testing a qualitative evaluation toolkit to track the results of the partner organization, Dignitas', extensive teacher leadership development program. In Nairobi, practicum participants will work with Dignitas and its local community partners to gather data to inform the development of these metrics, pilot testing of evaluation tools as appropriate. Based on the results of the pilot tests, practicum participants will produce a final evaluation toolkit along with an associated handbook for the organization to launch at its fall training institute. 

The second will involve developing a communications strategy and engage in content creation for Dignitas. Participants will assess how Dignitas can effectively and responsively share the organization's work and impact, developing appropriate messaging for a donor audience. 

Upon completion of the practicum, students will have gained important skills in the fields of program evaluation, communications strategy and content creation, intercultural awareness and research, and consulting.

2017 Course Dates

In-class Meeting Dates and Times Washington: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 5:30-8:00 PM

May 23, May 25, May 30, June 1, June 6, June 8, June 13 (Pre-Departure Meeting)

June 29: Debrief, group date

July 1: Final drafts due

July 6: Papers/Presentations due

July 8: Clients provide feedback

Travel Dates- Nairobi: Tentative

June 17: Arrive in Nairobi

June 18: Optional excursion and group dinner (students responsible for cost)

June 19: Begin work with Dignitas

June 23: End work with Dignitas

June 24: Safari excursion

June 25: Departure

Program Costs

Expected student expenses include: AU tuition, program fee, international travel (flights), visa fee (if applicable), and most meals. 

Program fee: $1700 $850

Students will be charged the full program fee for their participation in the program, but all participants will receive a 50% scholarship on their student accounts to reduce this cost. The program fee reduction is provided to the students in the form of a scholarship after their initial payment of the full amount in order to avoid students paying taxes on a fee subsidization. This process has been established to be in accordance with American University and federal financial aid policies.

More information about the Summer Study Abroad Program expenses and scholarship will be provided during program specific information sessions or by emailing specific questions to the Office of International Programs (

Who Should Apply

While all students are welcome to apply for this practicum, special consideration will be given to students with interest, coursework, and experience in international education, leadership development, community development, sub-Saharan Africa and intercultural relations and communication. All students should have some prior experience with or coursework in qualitative data analysis;project or program evaluation skills and coursework are particularly helpful. Swahili skills not required but a plus.

Practicum Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in any SIS Practicum, MA students must be in good academic standing (including a 3.0 cumulative GPA) and have completed 18 credits of graduate coursework by the end of the spring 2017 semester, prior to participating in the Practicum. Dual degree students (e.g. MA/MBA, JD/MA, and KU/MA) must have completed at least 9 of the minimum 18 credits to participate. Students from any MA program can apply to this practicum.

Application and Deadlines

Application deadline: February 22nd

Please visit the Practicum site to get started on your application to the Practicum Program. Be aware that applications received before the deadline will not be reviewed sooner, nor will they receive special consideration because of early submission. We strongly advise you to take your time to submit a quality application. More information on how to submit a strong application is available through the Practicum site.


If accepted, students will be required to submit a non-refundable deposit of $250 to SIS, through a check or money order made payable to American University, to secure their place in the Program.

Application and Deadlines

Summer 2017: February 22, 2017- no applications accepted after this date.

Information Session

January 30, 2017 4:30-5:30 PM, SIS 112F

Funding Your Study Abroad

Graduate grants and scholarships

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