FrançaisMDP Questions and Answers
1. What is a Master’s in Development Practice degree ? The Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) is a two-year degree providing graduate-level students with the skills and knowledge required to better identify and address the global challenges of sustainable development, such as poverty, population, health, conservation, climate change, and human rights. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has committed $15 million to create MDP programs at up to 15 universities worldwide over the next three years. This month, the MacArthur Foundation is announcing that 10 universities across the globe will receive significant grants to establish new MDP programs. 2. Why did MacArthur create the Master’s in Development Practice degree ? In 2007 the MacArthur- supported International Commission on Education for Development Professionals, found that worldwide, many people working in the field of development are not sufficiently prepared to tackle the challenges they face. The creation of MDP programs is an acknowledgement that addressing extreme poverty and sustainable development throughout the world requires expert knowledge and an interdisciplinary approach. 3. Why is a separate degree necessary rather than a concentration within an existing master’s program ? Currently the bulk of development leaders are trained in narrow fields, usually in the social sciences, such as economics. By broadening their training and providing them with a knowledge base including health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and management, they will be able to more effectively understand and address the root causes of extreme poverty and the challenges of sustainable development. 4. What type of student do you hope will seek this degree ? We believe that a wide range of development professionals will seek the degree including officials with inter-governmental organizations, developed and developing-country ministries, aid agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and the private sector. The MDP programs being developed will provide these individuals with training beyond the typical classroom study of economics and management found in most development studies programs. 5. How long will it take to get these programs up and running ? This month, the MacArthur Foundation is announcing that 10 universities across the globe will receive significant grants to establish new MDP programs. The universities will produce 250 graduates with a Master’s in Development Practice degree by 2012, with a total of 750 students enrolled. Columbia University will launch its program in September 2009, while the other nine universities will launch their programs in the fall of 2010. 6. How the universities that received grants were selected ? The universities were selected for a number of reasons, including support from top university leadership and the quality of faculty across four core competencies: natural sciences, health sciences, social sciences and management. They also were chosen because of the strength of their infrastructure and academic programs; their ability to serve as a regional hub; the geographic representation among students; and a timeline and business plan for financial sustainability when funding ends in three years. 7. How competitive were these grants ? The grants were very competitive. There was widespread global interest in establishing local MDP programs – with MacArthur receiving 140 letters of interest. Ultimately, over 70 universities in North America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin America submitted proposals. The quality and diversity of the proposals indicate strong interest in expanding development studies around the world. 8. Do you think other universities will now create MDP programs ? It’s exciting to think that this grant will spark interest in new MDP programs at universities around the world and create a standard for cross-disciplinary development studies. To assist in the creation of programs across the world, MacArthur established a Global Master’s in Development Practice Secretariat based at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. The Secretariat there will help manage the development of the MDP programs around the world and develop an open-source repository for the MDP curricula and other teaching materials. They are also offering an online, Global Classroom on sustainable development for students worldwide. It’s our hope that our work will be shared far and wide. 9. Beyond the number of students graduating, how will success of the program be determined By 2012, the MacArthur Foundation expects a total of 750 students to be enrolled in programs worldwide. Beyond that, we hope to see over the next 10-20 years a critical mass of programs develop globally and for the MDP to become an internationally recognized degree much like a Master of Business Administration (MBA). 10. Why are there no programs in Latin America ? In the first round of grants, MacArthur did not find a match for the program in Latin America, but the region still remains a priority. MacArthur staff will actively solicit proposals from Latin American universities for future grant consideration. In addition, Latin American universities are represented in the first round of grants through partnerships with several universities that did receive funding, including the University of Florida, which is known for its focus on Latin America and for having educated a generation of Latin American environmental and development practitioners, as well as through partnerships (Autonomous University of the Yucatan, Mexico). Additionally, Emory University, though its partnership with the Amazonas Sustainability Foundation in Brazil, and Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, brings a Latin American emphasis 11. Why did MacArthur select Columbia as the first program and what role will Columbia serve in setting up the other programs ? John McArthur, CEO of Millennium Promise, and Jeffrey D. Sachs, the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, were instrumental in creating the International Commission on Education for Development Professionals, which MacArthur supported. The Commission provided the insights and recommendations that ultimately led to the development of the MDP degree. As an outgrowth of that preliminary work, Columbia University’s Earth Institute, in cooperation with the School of International and Public Affairs, is creating the first MDP program that will launch in the fall of 2009. In addition, MacArthur established a Global Master’s in Development Practice Secretariat based at Columbia. The Secretariat will help manage the development of the MDP programs, develop an open-source repository for the MDP curriculum and other teaching materials, and will offer an online, global classroom on sustainable development for students worldwide. The Secretariat will also manage the MDP network of universities and additional programs for MDP graduates, including continuing education opportunities, networking, and development of course materials including cases 12. How does this grant fit into the rest of MacArthur’s work ? This program is the natural outgrowth of the MacArthur Foundation’s commitment to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. MacArthur is an international foundation with offices in the United States and four countries - and works in 60 countries. The challenges of sustainable development touch every aspect of the Foundation’s work to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, support reproductive health, and make cities better places. 13. What do these grants mean for the regions where these universities are located ? The grants help recognize some of the very fine universities across the globe that have the infrastructure, interest, and ability to strengthen their expertise as world leaders in the future of development. Every one of the universities that was selected to establish a MDP program is well positioned to create a program that attracts strong regional, national and international support in terms of students and faculty. These universities will develop innovative, inter-disciplinary programs that will become models for other institutions of higher learning to emulate. We understand that you may have questions that are not addressed by the FAQ, if this is the case, please let us know at the Global Master’s in Development Practice Secretariat :
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