Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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It’s that time of year when again when university students and their professors return to classrooms around the world, and CGD has a wealth of materials to help educators and students interested in development make the most of their studies.

Our recently updated online resource For Educators provides access to syllabuses and slidedecks from courses taught by CGD-affiliated professors, as well as podcasts, videos and publications that cover a range of global development topics.  We also offer free subscriptions to our weekly CGD Development Update and a range of topic-specific newsletters.

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Of special interest this semester, CGD president Nancy Birdsall is teaching an undergraduate development course at Williams College (she has added her syllabus to our online catalogue), and two recent CGD books -- Emerging Africa and Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance -- are on the reading lists for many development courses (check out all our books here).

Here are some of the ways that professors can incorporate CGD materials into their classes, helping students to make the link between their studies and the wider global development policy dialogue:

  • Encourage students to sign up for our weekly Development Update and one or more of our topic-specific newsletters
  • Ask them to follow relevant CGD blogs and post comments.  This is a great way for students (and instructors!) to engage directly with our researchers and the broader development community online.
  • Listen to the Global Prosperity Wonkcasts, a weekly audio interview hosted by CGD vice president Lawrence MacDonald (subscribe through iTunes or Stitcher).
  • Students with strong quantitative skills may want to utilize our open source data and try to replicate the results in CGD working papers (see if you can find where our scholars goofed!).

In addition, if you’re based in or visiting the greater Washington metro area come see us at CGD.  We host a large number of events each year at our headquarters near Dupont Circle, ranging from small seminars to large public forums. This fall are organizing a special event on “What’s New and What’s Missing in University Education on Development” featuring David Lindauer, CGD Advisory Group chairman, professor of economics at Wellesley College, and co-author of the widely used textbook, The Economics of Development. No need to watch the Website: sign up now to receive your invitation to this and other CGD events.

We also welcome faculty-led student groups to our offices for one-hour introductory briefings and Q&A, as the schedules of our core research and policy work permit.  Last year we hosted 11 such groups, and are looking forward welcoming more in the year to come.

Finally, we’ve compiled a list of undergraduate and graduate development programs at universities in the US and around the world that we hope will serve as an ever-evolving online clearinghouse.  Don’t see your university?   Let me know and I’ll add it to our list.

I hope that students and educators alike find these materials helpful. My colleagues and I welcome your feedback. So here’s an extra credit assignment to kick off the semester – tell us what you think! What’s useful? What isn’t? What could we do better? You’re your comments below or e-mail me directly if you have any questions or would like to arrange for your faculty-led student group to visit CGD.