Skills For Impact
The Skills For Impact (SFI) program, originally developed and taught with the Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership & Advocacy (LEAD), provides a learning environment in which MPA students can enhance the essential skills they will need for their future careers.
The SFI program is a mandatory, applied element of the MPA program. It aims to equip students with core vocational competencies that are of high value in the workplace, including team building, leadership, emotional intelligence, planning, risk management and critical reflection. The SFI modules complement academic learning on the MPA, and provide an important opportunity for practice oriented learning and broad skills development.
Modules are delivered in the Spring term of the first and second year in a professional education format of either 1.5 (1 credit) or 3 days (2 credits) of intense engagement, a style that introduces students to executive training approaches and different pedagogic styles. These modules variously develop the ability of students to navigate, shape, and negotiate complex environments, manage and reduce conﬂicts, and to communicate and advocate effectively. Faculty delivering SFI modules come from a diversity of practice and professional backgrounds including film-making, media training, budgeting, capacity building, management, law and psychology.
For the incoming class of MPA students 2016-18, there is a choice of options from a range of SFI modules for a maximum of 10 credits over the two years of the MPA program:
- Introduction to Negotiations
- Working Under Pressure - Responding to a Human Rights Crisis
- Turning Conflicts into Collaboration
- Introduction to Leadership: Leading Yourself, Others, and Policy Change
- Documentary Film-making
- Media and Video Advocacy
Of the 10 credits that must be successfully passed for completion of SFI and the MPA program, the 1 credit module Managing Cultural Diversity is mandatory and delivered during the pre-sessional period of the first year.
For the MPA class of 2015-17, the following modules must be completed this academic year:
- Leading for Policy Change
- Advanced Topics in Negotiation
- Manage & Mobilize Teams
- Advocacy: Strategizing, Planning and Measuring Impact
All 10 credits of the Skills For Impact modules are earned on a Pass/Fail basis, with assessment criteria set out for each of the individual SFI modules. Students must fully meet all relevant requirements for attendance, participation, and assessment to earn a "P" (Pass) on their transcripts at the end of the second year.