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M.A. in International Development
Fowler Hall 409A
Dedicated to contributing to “change for good” in our home communities and in collaboration with international partners (Chambers 1997, Whose Reality Counts?), the International Development MA Program (IDMA) is committed to advancing the leadership of Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-plus, and signing professionals in the development field.
As the world’s only International Development program that trains professionals for deaf development and disability inclusive development, the IDMA Program prepares students to advocate, design, implement, monitor and evaluate social change activities in collaboration with Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing people, and people with disabilities, at local, national and international levels. IDMA coursework provides practical experience examining legal and social policy frameworks, political and economic conditions, sociocultural and language-centered values and rights, and other features of contemporary life that contribute to or impede social participation and social justice.
The IDMA also offers numerous opportunities for professional interaction and engagement in the development field, by hosting and/or coordinating presentations by key development practitioners and researchers, professional development activities outside the classroom, and two professional field placements (one conducted in the metro Washington, DC area and one conducted internationally).
Additional Program Requirements
A basic understanding of economics is necessary to complete coursework in Economic Development and Micropolitics. Therefore, students must have passed an introductory course in economics either prior to or during the first semester of study.
The ability to communicate across cultures in more than one language is both a distinguishing and expected skill of the international development professional. To satisfy requirements for graduation, IDMA students are required to take one course in a Language Other Than ASL and English (LOTAE) or demonstrate that they took a course in a LOTEA some time in the five years prior to entering the IDMA.
Interview with the International Development MA Program. After submitting a complete application, the program will contact you to arrange an interview (either face to face or via video-platform)
Goal statement questions
Note on Goal Statements in ASL and English: In your online application, you will submit a written personal statement answering four questions and submit a link to an American Sign Language (ASL) video where you discuss the same four questions. This is an opportunity to demonstrate the way that you approach the four questions in each language. The ASL and English Goal Statement do not need to be identical, and can address similar or different content areas.
Summary of Requirements
Year One - Fall
MPA elective: or equivalent course as approved by academic advisor
Students are introduced to significant topics in international relations that affect economic and social development. Among the topics to be included will be: theories of the nation-state; theories of peace and war; theories, perspectives and measures of economic and social development; the role of international organizations and international law related to conflict resolution and development; Case studies of development reflecting various perspectives; and the role of women and disabled people as both participants and subjects of the development process.
This course introduces students to the field of International Development by examining the history, theories, and models of development. Drawing on a range of case studies, students gain an understanding of development as a set of institutions and networks that emerged in the post WW II period and proliferated primarily throughout the Global South, facilitated by neoliberal policies. Critically analyzing the role of development organizations from the Global North in foreign assistance, as well as their influence on social policies and political decision-making, students will apply their insights to current development issues, controversies, and debates.
Current enrollment in the International Development Masters of Arts Program; or permission of instructor
This course explores how micropolitical factors shape individual experiences and social relations within and between groups. Understanding human experiences and practices connected to gender, race, ethnicity, language, disability, sexuality (and so on) as changeable, contradictory, and often situation-specific, we will examine personal choices, identities, and community formations as legacies of and responses to the ways power is organized under late-modern capitalism and post-colonial international relations. Drawing from a wide range of social scientific materials, we will pay especial attention to intersections of race and class, as well as local, national, and global affiliation in the formation and transformation of people's lives. Course activities focus on the project level in which development takes place, allowing students to examine those social categories that most impact development outcomes, associated political processes, and individual and group action of the group or groups selected for the semester project.
IDP 770 and IDP 771
This course introduces students to standard practices of professional communication, conduct, and preparation of documents and presentation materials and types commonly used in the international development field. Course activities include: technical writing, creating persuasive messages in formats and media appropriate to a variety of audiences (e.g., specialist, non-specialist, targeted groups). Course activities will also address professional communication and conduct, and guide students in preparing their IDMA portfolios for submission at the end of the semester (required for continuing to the second year of IDMA graduate study, practicum and internship experiences)
permission from the department
Year One - Spring
This course will be a survey of the major issues in economic development. There will be an overview of the central questions in economic development, including the very definition of development itself; the problem of how to measure economic development; the causes and consequences of differenced in economic growth rates among countries; and a review of the history of international development policymaking. Topics covered will include international trade policy, international capital flows, exchange rate policy, inflation, public finance, monetary policy, agriculture, population, and the environment. The class will end with a synthesis of these diverse fields into the theory of development economics as a tool for promoting growth and reducing poverty.
Matriculation in the Master of Public Administration or International Development program
This course expands upon IDP 770: Introduction to International Development by exploring human rights frameworks currently reshaping the field of international development, particularly with respect to sustainable development goals. IDP-771 applies human rights theories and models to case studies from Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing, signed language communities, and persons with disabilities around the world to analyze human rights indicators in the context of sustainability, as well as social movements, grassroots activism, and other forms of non-governmental organizing work. This course also examines the impact of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), assistance projects/programs, international laws, and social protection policies for communities at the local, regional, national and international level.
IDP 770 or permission of the Program Director.
IDP 775 introduces students to the design, planning, and implementation of community development projects with Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing people, signed language communities, and people with disabilities with a focus on disaster and humanitarian contexts. Theoretical frameworks address the nature of social change in societies around the world, the interrelationship between inequitable social conditions and efforts such conditions, and the value of local constituencies’ involvement in shaping change. Students will develop essential skills for designing projects, as well as training in collaborative team-building and facilitation of projects that are sensitive to local communities’ viewpoints, social interests, and leadership in local and international development networks.
Year Two - Fall
This course builds upon IDP 770 and 772 by focusing on the intersections between race, gender and sexuality in international development agendas emphasizing the role of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing people and people with disabilities. Drawing on theoretical and practical cases, students will explore the ways that race, gender and sexuality shape individual and group identities including diverse practices, perspectives and creative development action. Through critical analysis of the course's core concepts, students will develop insight into the social issues faced by particular groups around the world, as well as the ways that others forms of categorization further impact social inequalities, such as: socioeconomic class, social hierarchies, disability, ethnicity, family structures and expectations, language and communication, and religion.
IDP 770 and IDP 771; or permission of the Program Director.
This course focuses on collaborative formulation, development and evaluation of programs working with Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people and people with disabilities in disaster and humanitarian contexts. Exploring current philosophical, theoretical, and methodological stances related to collaborative program development, course activities demonstrate the salience of international human rights frameworks for sign language-centered leadership and disability rights, and connect these to bi- and multilateral organizational and funding channels now undergoing enhancement as a result of the United Nations introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals. Using the latter as a foundation to identifying socioeconomic problems and barriers to self-determination, participation, and equity, students will design program proposals in response to an actual Request for Proposal (RFP). Work on peer teams, students will then submit an Evaluation Plan for an actual program. In addition to cultivating program development and evaluation skills, course activities provide students with opportunities to practice program management skills and grant-writing experience.
Permission of the instructor
International development activities place a heavy emphasis on the ability to skillfully interact with and to generate many types of data. This course introduces students to the most common types of research methods and strategies currently used in the international development field, and explores the ethical implications of research planning, methodological decision-making, and research fieldwork. Course activities include: introduction to research formulation and design; literature review; quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods; data collection and analysis; rapid assessment methods; and participatory community assessments. Course activities also highlight the elements of a good argument and provide opportunities to analyze, construct, and to refine research arguments.
Completion of the first year of IDP core coursework, or permission of the Program Director.
Professional service and direct action are core features of international development work, and therefore a critical aspect of graduate-level preparation. The IDMA's supervised practicum is designed to offer practical field experience observing and working in an international development assistance organization, federal agency, for- or non-profit organization, or other development-related venue. The supervised field practicum provides students with a critical first opportunity to integrate didactic interdisciplinary study of international development with professional interaction and engagement in an international development organization, federal agency, non-profit organization, or other international development entity (think tank, policy institute). An on-site supervisor and a university-based supervisor (practicum instructor) provide supervision and guidance to promote students' professional development, and application of theoretical knowledge to real-world international development situations, issues, and opportunities.
Year Two - Spring
This course builds on IDP-780 Supervised Practicum for International Development. As in that course, field experience working in a development assistance organization, federal agency, or nonprofit organization is an essential part of graduate training in and preparation for professional careers in the international development field. The supervised internship placement adds to the practicum experience by expanding the scope of professional activities and outputs expected of students, and by increasing students¿ level of responsibility and accountability to partnering organizations and collaborating communities. As with IDP-780, students engage in practical experiences guided by the supervision of an on-site supervisor and a university supervisor (internship instructor). The supervised internship requires a minimum of 360 clock hours.
Current enrollment in the International Development Masters of Arts Program; or permission of instructor.
Building on IDP-779 Professional Seminar I, this course is designed to deepen students understanding of standard practices of professional communication, conduct, and preparation of documents and presentation materials, as well as their understanding and advocacy of human rights, with an emphasis on language, and visible and invisible disabilities. In addition to preparing students for entry into professional international development work (e.g., professional rapport and alliance-building, developing CVs and cover letters for various types of job postings, job search skills), IDP-782 activities guide students in critical reflection on the impact of cross- and intercultural power dynamics for professional interaction, collaborative engagement, and ethical practice.
IDP 779 or permission of the Program Director.
Go Global Fair Gallaudet’s Education Abroad Office/Office of International Affairs hosts an annual “Go Global Fair” bringing International Development organizations and government agencies to Gallaudet’s campus for a day of professional interaction, career exploration, and presentations on a variety of topics related to inclusive development with signed language comunities. The IDMA Program has participated every year since the inaugural fair in 2018 – through two main activities: IDMA students prepare a graduate panel addressing key development topic, and IDMA faculty engage professional partners to continue to grow opportunities for student internships and post-graduate employment. IDMA Mentorship Program We established our IDMA Mentorship Program in 2020 in response to student and alumni feedback expressing interest in engaging guidance from senior International Development practitioners trained by the IDMA Program. In the Fall semester of the first year, students take IDP-779 Professional Seminar I through which they engage in group-based mentoring ‘meet and greets’ and are paired with a mentor for 1:1 professional development. After the Fall semester, students may elect to maintain contact with their mentor for ongoing professional engagement. IDMA Professional Partnering Engagement & Events The IDMA Program engages over fifty partnering organizations within the U.S. and internationally, through which students have oppportunities to participate in professional development activities, networking events, forums and webinars addressing a wide range of thematic areas and topics, and career fairs. Professional partnering activities take place in connection with course-based activities – particularly through two courses, IDP-779 Professional Seminar I and IDP-782 Professional Seminar II – as well as through program-level events hosted at organizational sites and on Gallaudet’s campus. Major IDMA partnering organizations include: CBM International, Chemonics International, Deaf Worlds, FHI-360, Humanity & Inclusion, InterAction, International rescue Committee, Save the Children, Society for International Development-US United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Women Enabled. Membership in the Society for International Development-US The Society for International Development-US (SID-US) is the professional organization for International Development practitioners. According to their website “About Us” section, SID-US is “a US-based 501(c)3, is the largest and most active chapter of the Society for International Development (SID), an international network founded in 1957 to serve as a global forum dedicated to sustainable economic, social and political development. Through the locally-driven programs of our member organizations and individuals, the majority of whom work on the front lines of development, we are uniquely positioned to inform and promote more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable international development. Our network includes chapters and individual members in more than 50 countries. The Secretariat has offices in Dar es-Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), and Rome (Italy).” Student members pay the annual discounted rate of $35 gaining access to all member resources, including career fairs, internships, professional development forums, and many other opportunities to get involved. See: https://sidw.org/individual-member-benefits
IDMA students conduct two professional field placements as a core part of their graduate studies, conducted in the second year of IDMA studies. Field placements build on students’ individual interests in particular specializations and development sectors (e.g., education, gender equity and social inclusion, information and communication technologies, environmental justice, language equity, immigration and refugees, humanitarian and disaster risk reduction), and are guided by cooperative planning and supervision with one IDMA faculty supervisor and one organization-based supervisor. Practicum – Conducted in the Fall semester of the second year, students pursue a practicum placement in a development organization in the Washington, DC metro area for 120 hours (10+ hour per week/12 weeks). International Internship – Conducted in the Spring semester of the second year, students conduct an international internship for 320-hours (30+ housr per week/12 weeks).
1. Students will engage in critical study of international development theories and methods with an emphasis on collaborative advocacy, program and project development, and research to address social inequalities and promote social justice efforts pursued by Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing communities and people with disabilities.
Vodcast: Deaf Youth Disaster Experiences & Action Vodcast description: Deaf youth leaders are generating attention to climate change issues and social injustices through taking action in their communities and on a global scale. This vodcast (video-cast) introduces two Deaf youth leaders, their disaster-related experiences, and...
For updates on IDMA activities and events, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 2017 1st Annual Deaf Leadership in International Development Panel 2018 2nd Annual Deaf Leadership in International Development Panel 2019 3rd Annual Deaf Leadership in International Development Panel 2021 4th Annual Deaf...
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