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School of International Service

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Upcoming Practica Summer & Fall 2018 Practicum Courses

The following courses will be offered as Practica in the summer and fall 2018 semesters. Summer and fall 2018 applications are now closed, stay tuned for spring 2019 offerings!

Students in the Master of International Service (MIS) Program may also apply for the Executive Practicum, which has a separate application process.

On-campus Practica

The following Practica are available to all students, as well as online MAIR/MIS students that can attend weekly on-campus classes.

Conflict Mitigation and Peacebuilding

Professor: Hrach Gregorian

Course Time (subject to change): Wednesdays 5:30-8pm EST

This practicum is designed to increase familiarity with current practice in contemporary conflict prevention, mitigation, and settlement. Topics recently covered include conflict minerals, women's empowerment, youth violence prevention, and peace gaming. Hands-on activities emphasize such skills as narrative analysis, conflict prevention training, monitoring and evaluation, and conflict mapping. Practicum clients include NGOs such as Partners Global, Search for Common Ground, Saferworld, and Resolve; for-profit organizations such as Creative Associates; and government agencies such as the US Department of State.

Intelligence and Analysis

Professor: Aki Peritz

Course Time (subject to change): Thursdays 5:30-8pm EST

The class produces a report intended to serve the intelligence, policy, defense, and diplomatic communities. US national security priorities shift rapidly, and topics will be determined with the client organization.

A Wicked Challenge to US National Security

Professor: Sally Shelton-Colby

Course Time (subject to change): Thursdays 5:30-8pm EST

Students in this practicum study a country of strategic interest to the United States and develop policy recommendations for the US government. Specifically, the practicum addresses challenges with governance, the government's role in international conflicts, and fractious relationships within the country and in the international community. Students make policy recommendations for US Department of State officials and other relevant entities and identify the pros and cons of each policy recommendation.

Online Practica

Priority for online Practica admission is given to online students, but on-campus students are also welcome to apply!

Growth Strategy in Intercultural Communications and Leadership

Professor: Alessandra Zielinski

Course Time (subject to change): Saturdays 9:00-10:20am EST

Our world is increasingly connected through technology, yet we've also witnessed mounting divisiveness and an upswing in nationalist sentiment. This class will focus on growth strategies for programs that foster global connections and bridge divides between individuals from different cultural groups. Students will work with non-profit organizations that cultivate cross-cultural dialogue and create new cohorts of global leaders by exploring different organizational growth strategies and models to help organizations achieve their mission and scale their programs. Students will research and assess growth models, provide recommendations to clients, and craft documentation that outlines a strategic vision for sustainable organizational growth.

Countering Propaganda and Disinformation 

Professor: Jorhena Thomas

Course Time (subject to change): Tuesday 7:30-8:50pm EST

During the past year, reports about ISIS-inspired attacks and Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election have dominated the headlines. This practicum will focus on the evolving use of propaganda and disinformation campaigns by international terrorist organizations and nation-states. Students will work with the State Department's Global Engagement Center (GEC) to evaluate and provide recommendations for the United States' efforts to "recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests." Students will work in teams to conduct high quality, original research and develop practical, forward-leaning recommendations that can be of immediate use to the client.

Alternative Strategies: Challenges to the Third Offset

Professor: Stephen Mariano

Course Time (subject to change): Wednesdays 7:30-8:50pm EST

Third offset is a strategy meant to give U.S. forces technological overmatch of its adversaries. Possible examples of this new offset include robotics, autonomy, miniaturization, 3-D printing, and/or big data. While the costs of developing new technologies continue to limit the number of immediate peer competitors, the costs of imitation appear to be declining over time. It is also unclear whether the technologies being developed are contributing to a larger unified operating concept or whether the technological edge will extend the era of U.S. offensive power dominance. Students in this practicum will work to answer the questions: What capabilities and/or advances in technologies need to occur to ensure SOF maintain a technological advantage over adversaries? How can SOF capitalize on the third offset? How can SOF benefit from these same technologies for operators' safety and effectiveness? How can SOF use recent technological advances to sustain a force in austere environments, or decrease the footprint of a force in a situation that demands low visibility? Are the basic assumptions of the third offset valid? Can the third offset strategy be successful without a unifying concept on how to employ military forces? What is the low-end of the third offset? What is the poor man's version (e.g., 3-D printer-enabled weapon manufacture)? Does DOD's pursuit of technological third offsets undermine efforts to build mil-to-mil relationships with less advanced partners? Are SOF pursuing advances that so outpace allies and partners that it could isolate itself militarily? What are the future technology-based threats to SOF operators across the range of military and special operations? Can SOF overcome these threats? Are performance enhancing drugs a third offset capability? Advanced technologies may make the human-machine interface even more complex as the human side must recognize when the machine side is out of tolerance. Will that complexity outpace the education and training of the force? What are the legal, moral, and ethical issues associated with advanced technology concepts such as autonomous machines and machine-assisted decision making?

Program Evaluation and Development

Professor: Terrence Jantzi

Course Time (subject to change): Saturdays 9:00-10:20am EST

This practicum increases familiarity with the practice of program evaluation in the context of peace building and development operations. Students will collaborate with an international NGO to identify an evaluation opportunity within the framework of an international project being implemented in a development or peace building context. Over the 15 weeks of the semester, students in the course will work together to design the evaluation, collect data, and develop the analysis and conclusions. The semester will culminate by producing a final report with recommendations to be submitted to the NGO. The practicum students will use both qualitative and quantitative methodologies during the evaluation process. Prior coursework or experience in monitoring and evaluation required.


Practica Abroad

These international Practica are offered to all students through SIS's Office of International Programs. Funding may be available to help cover part of the cost of your Practicum abroad through OIP.

Program Evaluation in Global Education Bahamas

Countries around the world are working to improve access to quality education, especially for historically underserved youth, in order to support national development, health, and peace. Through this practicum experience, students will not only practice program evaluation skills in international education and youth development, but will also develop cross-cultural research and communication skills. Students will also exercise intercultural competence skills as they engage with our Bahamian partners.

Professor: Amanda Taylor

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Cooperation for Peacebuilding Israel and Palestine

Students will become familiar with the wider transboundary cooperation efforts of AIES, PWEG, and other organizations in the region. During the desk study portion of the practicum, they will study the theory and practice of environmental peacebuilding, learn about the challenges and opportunities of conducting research and evaluation in a conflict setting, and develop skill in rapid-appraisal techniques, interview methods, and others. They will be required to read extensively and participate in the formulation of an assessment framework/matrix. During the field portion of the practicum, they will live and work in close quarters, meet practitioners working for these NGOs as well as the beneficiary-participant parties of the projects and communities. They will also meet Israeli and Palestinian officials whose governance practices have bearing on water, cooperation and peace in the region. Team members will undertake desk-study and research design work early in the summer of 2018; travel to the region to collect data in the field through participant-observation, interviews, focus groups, and/or archival work at the project sites; and produce a report that will be submitted to the partners to help them assess, improve, and further develop their activities. The collaborative report-writing phase will take place through the remainder of the summer, and possibly into the fall, when one or more public presentations will be made.

Professors: Eric Abitbol and Ken Conca

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The Future of Cyber Conflict Norway or Denmark

Recent election hacks and the proliferation of malware linked to state-sponsors open new fronts in strategic competition between rivals. What is the emerging character of cyber conflict? How do revisionist states use cyber operations short of war to coerce domestic and international opponents? To what extent to these operations spillover into the commercial space creating new markets for malware and cybercrime? The course will take students to NATO's "northern flank" - Scandinavian and Baltic countries whose territorial and commercial interest leave put them in the Kremlin's crosshairs. The class will combine remote seminars with visits to multiple countries in Northern Europe. At the conclusion of the course, students will present government and corporate partners forecasts about the future of cyber conflict in the region.

Professor: Benjamin Jensen

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Project Design, Monitoring and Evaluation in Indonesia

Students will spend roughly two weeks in Indonesia conducting project design, monitoring, and evaluation with local NGOs in the country. Student teams will work with their assigned NGO to fulfill these needs, to be determined by the organizations. In most cases, students will evaluate one of the local partner's projects and help them to assess their impact, but in some cases they may assist in project design or proposing grants. Students will develop concrete project design, monitoring, and evaluation skills, such as the ability to design a theory of change and Logframe relevant to project goals, develop evaluation tools, collect and analyze data using these tools, and teach these skills to civil society organizations in an international context. The program will conclude with students leading a training for VIA's local NGO partners and providing a manual for VIA to use to train their partners in the future.

Professor: Alex Cromwell

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