Make a difference while you learn

Here at global development, we work to build a more sustainable, equitable world - at home and abroad. Our students are at the forefront of those efforts through their involvement on campus, in the local community and across the globe. Students in Global Development are encouraged to make the world their classroom and engage with the community.

What is engaged learning?

Experiential

Real-world environment

Community-centered

In and with communities

Anchored in reflection

Finding our purpose

Breadth & depth of engaged learning in Global Development

Throughout the Global Development major, students have opportunities to engage with a variety of communities in structured, faculty-led settings as well as to carve out their own path for engaging with and positively impacting communities in more independent, self-directed ways.

Engaged courses in Global Development

The most structured of the engaged learning opportunities offered by the department, many GDEV courses incorporate community engagement, ranging from case studies that draw on community-level data or issues defined by community members, to collaboration with community stakeholders within the context of the course itself, to site visits to community spaces that provide context to real-world problems. All first-year students are enrolled in an engaged course during their first year (GDEV 1300: Just Food), to best understand what engaged-learning-in-action looks like, and how to best incorporate breadth and depth of engagement across a four-year plan.  

Explore engaged Courses taught by faculty in the Department of Global Development

Engaged courses across Cornell 

Additionally, great engaged learning courses are offered across the university.  We encourage you to check them out during your time at Cornell.  Please see this list of engaged courses from the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement.

Some fall and spring semester courses that are based on-campus at Cornell have short-term field study opportunities attached to them in the off-term (Winter or Summer). In these instances, students typically travel with a faculty member to a community field site, where they can contextualize their classroom-based learning through dialogue and collaboration with community members.

Learn more about the faculty-led study trips.

Faculty in the department are dedicated to providing each GDEV majors with a mentored research experience. These can range from working in a lab to data collection at a field site. Each experience offers students the opportunity to address a specific problem of public concern, and integrate the research experience with educational content through the guidance of a faculty member.

While not all study abroad programs are ‘engaged,’ there are many opportunities for study at a partner university or study abroad center that incorporate meaningful collaboration with host communities and opportunities for reflection on that work. Students are encouraged to consider semester-long study abroad options that incorporate an internship in order to meet the department’s 8+ week internship requirement. Studying abroad directly preceding the required 8+ week internship can facilitate immersion in the language and culture of the internship site for an extended period of time. This is a preferred option if available.  

Learn about and explore study abroad opportunities

 

All students are required to complete a development-focused internship, of at least 8 weeks in duration, after the Spring of their second year and before the Fall of their fourth year in the program. The internship requirement is intended to provide students with an opportunity to apply their global development training in an off-campus, project-based context. In some cases, students choose to incorporate their internship as part of a semester-long study abroad experience. While many students complete their internships with local, national, and international development organizations, agencies, and businesses, others work with faculty to conduct field-based research.

Students currently enrolled in the Global Development undergraduate program can refer to the Global Development Engaged Student Center for more information about internship opportunities. Prospective students can reach out to engagedgdev [at] cornell.edu (our engaged learning team) for more information.

Engage with real world challenges

Students in Global Development step out of the classroom and into local communities. Hear the stories of students who have travelled the world to apply their education.

Headshot of Sadie Groberg

Field Note

Sadie Groberg ’24: Advocating for criminal justice reform
Meet Sadie Groberg ’24, an undergraduate in Global Development who seeks to make the world a better place through criminal justice reform. During her time at Cornell, Sadie gained unique insights into the carceral system through her research on...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
Woman sits by the water

Field Note

Meet Sammi Lin '23, a recent graduate in the Department of Global Development with a passion for sustainability and equity, particularly in transforming food systems and empowering marginalized communities. Upon graduating in December 2023...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
Pile of waste

Field Note

The Humphrey PACT (Practitioner - Assistant - Collaborative - Training) Program pairs undergraduate students in Global Development with Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows to work on a research endeavor in the fields of agriculture, rural development...
  • Global Development
Aerial view of national park

Field Note

The Humphrey PACT (Practitioner - Assistant - Collaborative - Training) Program pairs undergraduate students in Global Development with Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows to work on a research endeavor in the fields of agriculture, rural development...
Eliana Amoh

Field Note

Meet Eliana Amoh ’26, an undergraduate student in Global Development whose research explores youth development, educational equity, and economic migration. As a Laidlaw scholar at Cornell , Eliana is examining the interplay of education, labor...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development

From Ithaca to India: Students unite to learn from experts in agricultural development

Engaged learning team

Looking for assistance to find the right internship or engaged learning opportunity?

Julie Ficarra
Julie Ficarra

Associate Professor of the Practice

Department of Global Development

Julie Ficarra
  • jmf389 [at] cornell.edu
International Education & Engaged Learning
Partnership Development
Critical Pedagogy
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman headshot
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman

Senior Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Director, Education Minor

Department of Global Development

Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman
Community development
Civic engagement
Engaged learning and research