A First-of-its-Kind Master’s in Communication for Conservation Practitioners
Whether it’s getting people to adopt more sustainable agriculture or to better manage a protected area, the conservation field is becoming more and more focused on mastering the art of social and behavioral change. A Master’s Degree in this arena is an idea whose time has come. In partnership with the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication at the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP), Rare has launched a first-of-its-kind training program that provides conservation practitioners with an M.A. in Communication. Administered by regional university partners in four languages, and globally accredited by UTEP, the degree is awarded to Pride campaign managers who complete all coursework, as well as implement a successful 2-year Pride campaign at their site.
Rare's partnership with UTEP
A Master's Degree for changing the world
Pride campaign managers do not simply study social change theory in the classroom. The majority of Rare’s training takes place in the field where campaign managers complete the toughest assignment possible – applying theory to real people in their communities. They do not graduate until they’ve made a difference in the way people think about and practice conservation in their small, but important corner of the world. This is not easy! So, in addition to 17 weeks of classroom training, each campaign manager receives a dedicated Rare Pride Program Manager for two years; support from technical experts at problem-solving workshops and online forums throughout the campaign; visits to his or her site by Rare alumni mentors and staff; and tailored supplemental reading and guest lecturers during return trips to the university.
Regional University Partners
English-language training is conducted in the United States in collaboration with the Executive Education Office of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in Washington, DC. Participants in the English-language program come primarily from Africa, the Caribbean, the Western Pacific, and Southeast Asia.
All Spanish-language training is conducted at the ITESO Jesuit University of Guadalajara (Instituto Técnico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente) — one of the largest and most respected institutions of higher learning in Mexico. Participants come from all over Latin America.
Training in Bahasa Indonesia is offered at the Bogor Agricultural Institute (Institut Pertanian Bogor - IPB). Participants in the IPB-Rare program come from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Training in Mandarin is provided at Southwest Forestry University in Yunnan Province, China. This is Rare’s most recently added university partner with the first cohort of campaign managers launched at the end of 2008.
How does conservation today become conservation for life?
For social and behavioral change to not only take hold, but last for years to come, several key elements must be in place. Local conservation organizations must have the ability to raise funds, build strong local partnerships, and have a clear plan of action to reach their goals. That is why Rare addresses sustainability before even launching a new campaign, and then again at each stage of the planning process. As you read in the previous seven pages, we have multiple tools to help partners plan for long-term success. In addition, partners who complete the 2-year Pride campaign become part of Rare’s Global Alumni Network and are eligible for the following support mechanisms, designed specifically to enhance their conservation work and the work of others around the globe.
• Alumni Project Grants: Partner organizations that have completed Pride campaigns are eligible for Alumni Fund grants to support follow up work at the site or train others in Rare’s methodology.
• Rareplanet.org: Partners gain access to Rare’s online network from the moment they launch a campaign. Post-campaign, partners gain alumni status and lifetime access to resources, expertise, and tools from the Rare community.
• Regional Workshops: Rare offers periodic workshops in each region to foster learning and innovation around community-based conservation issues. Both current and alumni partners are invited to these workshops and are often involved in leading sessions or presenting case studies.
• Mentoring Program: During the campaign, each partner is assigned an alumni mentor. Post-campaign, partners can become mentors themselves and take part in a global program of top Pride leaders.