Department of International Development and Social Change

Undergraduate Program

Created over 30 years ago, Clark University's major in International Development and Social Change (IDSC), is one of the oldest and most distinguished liberal arts programs in this field. This major will enable you to understand and think critically about the social, political, economic, and cultural dynamics transforming our world. Working with faculty with Ph.D. degrees in anthropology, education, political science, history, to economics, students acquire a broad analytic background in the social sciences. Not simply thinkers, IDSC students become doers prepared to tackle the challenges of global inequity and injustice in the 21st century.

Since World War II, the field of international development has been one of the driving forces shaping contemporary power and politics. In the IDSC major, you will learn from people who are actively engaged in vital world issues such as: global social movements, corporate power, race and nationalism, health disparities, social justice, education, human rights, refugees and migration, among many other topics.

As an IDSC major, you are part of a diverse student body and will discover a program that offers intellectual excitement, insightful perspectives, and stimulating ideas. After taking a series of core classes, students then specialize in a particular field of development and social change of their choice. Building on what they learn in the classroom and from each other, many IDSC students become actively engaged in political and social action on campus, in Worcester, and beyond. As part of their course of study, many majors also pursue formal internships and research opportunities at home and abroad. In their senior year, students take a capstone course that involves independent research. Download the IDSC Undergraduate Brochure

The IDSC major is part of a growing and dynamic Department of International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) that also offers Master's degrees in Community Development and Planning (CDP), Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P), Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment (GISDE), as well as International Development and Social Change (IDSC). Advanced BA students can take advantage of academic and extra curricular opportunities associated with all these graduate programs. Students who earn honors in the undergraduate major are also eligible to apply to Clark University's Accelerated BA/MA program to earn an MA in one of these four programs.

2012 LEEP Project Pioneers: International Development and Social Change Major

Lila Trowbridge '12 began her fifth year tuition-free through Clark University's Accelerated B.A./Master's Degree Program last fall. Lila worked with ASODILL, a community-based organization in a remote village of Loma Linda, Guatemala. ASODILL is a partner program of the Seven Hills Global Outreach Foundation in Worcester, and works to promote ecotourism, sustainable food production through organic farming and basket weaving from bamboo. Together with the members of ASODILL, she implemented a sustainable evaluation plan for the organization that can be used to assess the effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses of its programs. She also traveled to Kenya to serve as the Spanish translator for ASODILL at the Seven Hills Global Outreach International Conference. Watch an interview with Lila.

Shelby Margolin '13 spent the summer with Facing History and Ourselves, a leading organization in Holocaust education dedicated to combating racism, anti-Semitism, and prejudice. There, she analyzed Facing History's educational material and created a lesson plan for the organization focused on the stages of the final solution. Facing History and Ourselves facilitated Shelby's individual research surrounding how the Holocaust can be used not only to teach about morals and values, but also as a way to develop critical thinking skills by complicating binaries such as "good" and "evil" and "right" and "wrong." Shelby will be working on her senior honors thesis, which examines the representation of Holocaust perpetrators in popular culture, through March 2013. Watch Shelby discuss her project.

Alina Michelewicz '14 organized a teacher training workshop for dozens of teachers in Villard, Artibonite, Haiti with the Haiti School Project. Eric Demuelenaere, from Clark University's Education Department, facilitated the five-day workshop for teachers, and a one-day workshop for principals in the area on topics such as powerful learning, curriculum design, and lesson planning.

Siobhan Kelley '12 began her fifth year tuition-free through Clark University's Accelerated B.A./Master's Degree Program last fall. Siobhan is working as a community engagement intern at Partners in Health (PIH), collaborating on the creation of the Community Organizing Initiative, a new project that will connect supporters across the country in a grassroots organizing structure. The Community Organizing Initiative aims to raise the dialogue on global health and social justice in communities across the country by educating, advocating and fundraising. Siobhan will spend the 2012-13 academic year exploring the other side of the organizing initiative by acting as the New England regional organizer. She will work to empower local communities to connect with PIH's mission and impact programs on the ground.

Laura Overton '12 began her fifth year tuition-free through Clark University's Accelerated B.A./Master's Degree Program last fall. Laura is researching the relationship between socio-economic status, early-age sexual abuse, and sex work in Worcester.

Sam Moody '12 began his fifth year tuition-free through Clark University's Accelerated B.A./Master's Degree Program last fall. He has been working with the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team (WAFT) to address issues of foreclosure and vacancy in the Main South and Pleasant St. neighborhoods. Sam spent his summer developing a project with WAFT to expand the organization's outreach and service to include residents who have already been foreclosed on and evicted, with the intention of addressing the full historical extent of the foreclosure crisis (which began in 2006). His project also targets Worcester's more than 600 vacant homes as an arena in which to pressure state and financial actors for justice, as well as for restoration of ownership to Worcester's diverse communities. Sam has helped WAFT collaborate with local ministries and submit a grant proposal to the Mass. Attorney General's HomeCorps program, and is investigating further funding opportunities in hopes of starting the project this fall.

Elora Way '12 began her fifth year tuition-free through Clark University's Accelerated B.A./Master's Degree Program last fall. Elora is addressing the documented experience of research fatigue in community-Clark University relations. Research fatigue exists when individuals or groups of people resist, avoid, or are reluctant to participate in research for reasons such as distrust, annoyance, exhaustion, or a lack of perceived benefit attributable to participation. Since such fatigue is counter to Clark's goal of being a responsible, engaged community partner, Elora hopes to present her research to Clark administration and staff to facilitate institutional change that could ameliorate research fatigue at the community level. Since little is known about research fatigue within academia, she plans to present at an academic conference and produce a publishable manuscript.

Rachel Sorenson '13 (double major with economics) observed and studied Explora! Dominicana, an ecotourism organization in the Dominican Republic, to see how it operated in a developing country. Rachel spent the summer investigating how the organization was started, their impact on the economy, and their overall operations to make tourism more sustainable. She took trips to local nature preserves, national parks, and ecological hotspots around the country (such as a mangrove forest) with members of the organization, and talked with the staff.

Deviyani Dixit '13 (double major with economics) is studying the relationship of the transgender community in Kathmandu, Nepal, to Nepalese society. Deviyani is exploring the construction of the transgender identity in relation to the "other." While one aspect of her research will cover a scholarly framework, another aspect will be an artistic depiction of her findings via a photographic series that will be shown in an exhibition both in Nepal and at Clark.

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