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University adds International Development Studies minor

Ann-Marie Woods | Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In response to students’ increasing interest and involvement in issues surrounding international development, the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity announced the introduction of a minor in International Development Studies (IDS).

“We need to look at more than just the technology solutions to development, but also the way in which we have to change some of the structures that prevent development from happening,” Tony Pohlen, assistant director for the Ford Program, said.  “Notre Dame has a unique opportunity being a religious, Catholic institution to look at development in a certain way.”

Housed in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the IDS minor will utilize an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating electives from a variety of disciplines, a gateway and capstone course and a field-based research project for students to apply their academic experiences with work and study in the developing world.

“Through both classroom instruction and fieldwork, our graduates will understand both the human face of development and the global realities,” the Ford Program said in a press release.  “Our students will emerge poised to utilize and apply these teachings and experiences in their future careers and pathways.”

Because of the partial funding the Ford Program hopes to provide students for their research project, the IDS minor will have a limited intake of approximately 12 students in its first year. 

“We are looking for students that really want to make this a big part of their undergraduate studies leading to international development work through graduate studies or work in the field,” Pohlen explained.

Rising sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply by March 15 for entrance into the minor. 

“The minor is not only open to incoming sophomores, but that’s where were primarily going to look,” Pohlen said.  “We really want it to be three years of someone’s career here.”

While the list of cross-listed electives has not been finalized yet, the IDS minor is hoping to collaborate and work across majors and colleges to offer a variety of courses to broaden students’ vocabulary and knowledge about development.

“We want to work toward developing courses across colleges, to get a course in science or engineering on water issues or global health that provides students with the vocabulary and understanding from a scientific perspective,” Pohlen said.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology Rahul Oka will teach the gateway course for IDS in the fall of 2010 and will assist in further development of the minor. In addition, the Ford Program is looking to hire new professors with expertise in international development.

An informational session on the minor will be held on Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in Hesburgh Center C-103.