SIT students visit CIE to learn about international projects

Karla Sarr brought students from her class on the Design and Delivery of International Education to visit CIE. Thirteen students in the Master’s program at the School for International Training (SIT) in Vermont, were at UMass for the day.  After visiting the International Programs Office, they came to Montague House to discuss two CIE field projects and talk about managing funded projects.


CIE Director Joe Berger welcomed the students and noted the long history of collaboration between our two institutions. CIE has welcomed many graduates of SIT into its doctoral programs and in turn has sent numerous graduates, including Karla Sarr, to teach in various programs at SIT.


Jennifer Randall, a faculty member in research and evaluation, provided the visiting students with a brief summary of the activities of the "VAS-Y Fille!" project supporting girls’ education in the DRC. Dr. Randall highlighted significant challenges in the evaluation design that was used to measure project impact. She raised issues about the cultural appropriateness of methods used and the impact they had on the validity of the results. The visiting students asked about culturally-appropriate alternatives to measuring individual achievements.


Javid Mussawy, a doctoral student at CIE with many years of involvement in higher education in Afghanistan, then summarized the key goals and approaches of the UMass Amherst component of the USWDP project in Afghanistan. USWDP is a large, very complex project, which has many components working to increase the capability of 11 Afghan universities. 


Discussion following Javid’s presentation focused on the pros and cons of using university partnerships as a mechanism for capacity-building of Afghan universities. Javid, based on his experience as Vice-Chancellor of a new regional university, commented on how much such partnerships meant to an Afghan university in terms of accessing desperately needed resources. Shane Hammond shared some of the challenges CIE has encountered working with U.S. community colleges paired with Afghan universities as part of the project.