Dr. Tavanti facilitating participatory poverty assessments (PPAs) analysis for the Manila Teams made by DePaul international public service graduate students, Adamson University faculty and community leaders from displaced informal settlers at Southville, Cabuyao, Philippines (December 2009).
Teaching is an art, but it is also a science and a value-based practice. Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968) and Lorenzo Milani's School of the People in Barbiana, Italy (1954) have been sources of inspiration to my teaching methods and values. The concept of "praxis" (the process of making theory into practice) is also inspiring for my teaching and learning methods that include personal accompaniment, professional quality, practical (pragmatic) applications and strategic thinking for systemic change. The values taught in my ethics courses, for example, are never in a vacuum or disconnected from practical decision making, organizational cases and institutional effective strategies. Hence, my teaching is an attempt to inspire globally engaged leaders (critical thinkers) while building professional capacity (international managerial skills) in people, organizations and institutions. The success of my teaching is ultimately measured by the inter-personal, inter-organizational and inter-national transformations that my students are capable of doing in their personal lives and professional careers.
My own professional practices, my background as practitioner, my engaged and participatory research and my passion with technology is what nurture and stimulate my own teaching capacity and innovation. I rarely teach the course with the same exact syllabus from a previous session. As real world practices and research evolve, so does my list of readings and resources, in-class or on-line exercises and assessment methods. Because I teach primarily to professional graduate students, my style of teaching is close to professional trainings, but not exactly so. I do not consider skill development the same as education that is merely centered upon critical thinking and critical analysis. My preoccupation in teaching is not just developing managers (doing things right) but in also educating leaders (doing the right thing). Paraphrasing the values of socially responsible businesses (doing well by doing good) and the phrase attributed to St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac (it's not enough to do good, it must be done well), I would say that it goes one step further. It would not be enough to simply teach about 'good' and 'values' without ourselves becoming living witnesses and inspiring practitioners of what we teach. This is what is at the core of my teaching philosophy.
Community Centered Teaching and Learning
I began teaching in universities in 1996. Teaching has been a journey and an ongoing discovery. I love to learn when I teach and honestly think that education is the key for developing socially responsible leaders and achieving sustainable and just societies. It is not easy to teach keeping these goals in mind. Sometimes, due to my own limits, little institutional support or unmotivated students, these gaps are large to overcome and the journey gets more complicated. Some other times not all students are in line with my community-centered and public service-driven teaching methods. I may not please everyone's expectation because my main goal is not to be liked but to create capacity and inspire engaged values. My teaching, not the subject matter, is about international societies, global leaders and cross-cultural relations. There are numerous studies that show the importance of moving away from a teacher-centered of teaching to a more student-centered style. However, I believe that students can benefit most when they are willing to take risks and journey together toward a greater good of the community. My students are neither objects or subjects, they are colleagues and we are all learning. This requires mutual respect and good degree of humility. This "socially-beneficial" type of teaching goes even beyond service learning or experiential models of teaching. It is about a third level that I call a community centered teaching style. Teaching cannot simply move from dependence to independence but arrive to a third stage that is interdependence (this journey is also true in international relations). We are part of that community, a global community of many local and diverse communities. The people and sectors at the margins of that community should be the primary objective of our teaching and learning. It is in this spectrum that teaching become public service by practicing public service through its alignment and collaboration to the needs and assets of the community. It is more than gaining practical "hands-on" experience in your education. It is about academic social responsibility and the realization that our privileged higher education can be of great social benefit is directed toward the common good.
Hybrid Global Identity as Teaching Asset
My teaching style and methods reflect values recognizable in my own hybrid identity as American, European and international professional. I take the liberty of making stereotypical analysis of my own mixed identity to explain the values of my teaching approach. The "American" values of my teaching can be recognized in my ongoing interests in technology and by making the classroom a participatory learning environment. The "European" teaching values are also central when we realize that methods and technology are empty without good quality content, good analysis and critical thinking. The "international" teaching values in me are present in my drive to link the local with the global and bringing back the international "at home". The international is also evident in my conviction that our academic studies and careers could greatly benefit if we were to look more closely to the field of international development. After all, what is the use of our best thinking if its is not to benefit the most pressing problems in the world? I believe that innovation, entrepreneurship and even profit can benefit with a higher degree of international service. The "professional" values of my teaching are vivid in my constant seeking of pragmatic applications and solutions that help careers and the real world. Even before academic quality, my professional background and international experience as a practitioner is what my students say they appreciate the most in my teaching.
Participatory Open Online Communities (POOC)
Some of my courses, teaching engagement and international trainings are based on a Participatory Open Online Community (POOC) teaching and learning method. While the field of higher education is exploring new ways to integrate teaching and learning in the digital age, the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) do not sufficiently provide an answer to integrate technology with participation and quality in teaching and learning. I created some innovative online learning community platforms that resemble more the so-called Participatory Open Online Courses (POOC). Some of the contents, methods and structures of these courses are visible as public communities online while others are only available to my students. The POOC are based on a social media framework provided by Google+ Communities and integrated with other online based tools such for sharing videos, documents, exercises, and discussions. This method improves participatory learning through constant online interactions and real-contemporary situations in our global society. Teaching and learning in the digital age is about learning how to think and how to navigate, interpret and critically analyze content and information. These innovative POOC learning platforms link my International Public Service graduate courses with international research, practical applications and international career development. They provide students abroad the possibility to fully participate in the regular class session. These POOC learning platforms are all ‘triple-format’ with a face-to-face (F2L) level of interaction integrating social networks (Google+ Communities), synchronous online participation (Hangouts) and asynchronous online participation (Hangouts on Air, HOA). Students from different countries can participate through the invitation in the Hangouts or review the video recorded sessions in a link connected to my YouTube channels. The content of these courses is only partially disclosed to the public providing a sense of the quality learning that happens in my courses and trainings. In addition to these open forums, participating students get access to password protected course material, announcements, assignment drop-box and grade-book information on Desire to Learn, Blackboard and Digication e-portfolios. The innovation of these platforms comes from integrating a social media (Google+ Communities) with news, analysis and course participation assignments. Class based POOC learning platforms are inserted and integrated with an open forum on hot international issues (Global Café) and specialized and experiential international learning (Global Labs). In class participants enhance the participation level and analyses by used their laptops or mobiles for live search and additional information emerging in the discussions and interacting in the Google+ community platform.
United Nations Seminar
The UN SEMINAR learning community is an open forum associated with the International Public Service graduate seminar on Globalization and Civil Society Organizations. The issues and dimensions of globalizations are critically considered from the perspectives of the United Nations’ Agencies, Councils and Programmes. Through agencies analysis, case studies, book reviews and news critical analyses the forum provides contemporary insights for understanding global and international organizations. A specific focus is given to the role of community-based organizations emerging from social movements as active responses to contemporary issues primarily in the fields of international development. Other interrelated themes include the review of the UN system in the area of peace and security, human rights, humanitarian affairs, international law, higher education, health and sustainability. The globalization phenomena are critically reviewed along intersecting elements in governments (states and international relations), economic development (labour, capital, sustainability, human development, technology and resources) and social affairs (humanitarian interventions, human rights, cultural rights, indigenous rights, women rights). Read more >>
Sustainable Human Security
The Sustainable Human Security Learning Forum is a sharing site for professionals and graduate students in the field of international relations, global conflicts and international public service. It includes resources and links for sustainable (institutional) capacity development for human security in transitional and developing societies. The learning forum is linked to the International Relations and Conflict Management Graduate Course of the International Public Service Graduate Program at DePaul University. This graduate course offered in dual format: in class and online. Students may choose to participate in class or online through the Sustainable Human Security Learning Forum. The online participation can be demonstrated through synchronous participation (Google + Hangouts) or asynchronous participation by reviewing the recorded hangouts and posting entries and comments in the discussion forums of the course website on Desire to Learn (D2L). The course is highly interactive and collaborative on real life applied projects in conflict areas and post-conflict situations. High quality selected students’ analyses will be invited to submit their work in the International Journal of Sustainable Human Security (IJSHS) of the World Engagement Institute (WEI) or the International Research and Review (IRR) journal of the International Scholars Honor Society (PBD). Read more >>
The Global Café is an international engagement initiative around hot issues of global citizenship. It includes academics and practitioners engaged in areas such as fair trade, anti-human trafficking, women empowerment, human security, and others. It is linked to the International Public Service Program as it features research topics of faculty and students and course topics of the curriculum. Students participating in these debates work in collaboration with faculty, alumni and community organizations linked to the International Public Service and the World Engagement Institute. The Global Café is a series of discussion forums between academics and practitioners exploring hot issues in our global society and international public service. This is a collaborative initiative of Dr. Marco Tavanti in collaboration with alumni, students and faculty of the International Public Service (IPS) Program active in the World Engagement Institute and other Chicago based international and national nongovernmental organizations. Read more >>
The Global LABS (Learning Across Borders Sustainably) are programs held during the summer term and include intensive based weekend courses followed by guided international public service internships. The Chicago based special topics courses are blended with face-to-face, synchronous and asynchronous participation in the Participatory Open Online Courses (POOC) methods. Sessions begin during the first weekend of the Summer Term in June and continue with online-based interactions through the entire summer. During the month of July, students participate in international internship programs with selected organizations focusing on the corresponding courses. The upcoming Global Labs offers alternate summer programs such as: Even Summers: Indigenous rights and Sustainable Development (MPS 604) linked to international internship programs with selected partnering organizations in Guatemala (MPS 610). Odd Summers: Sustainable Food Policy (MPS 604) linked to possible international internship with UN specialized agencies in Rome and other food related organizations in the European Union. Read more >>
International Public Service Courses
I designed and taught a number of courses to prepare individuals to the profession of international public service applied to governmental agencies and non-government organizations. The following is a sample of the courses I designed in dialogue with colleagues and professionals. The background I have in international development and my studies in globalization and international ethics have been important in the selection of the topics, readings and competencies.
Sustainable Development and Nongovernmental Organizations
Course Description: This course provides an overview of theories and approaches to sustainable social and economic development and examines the roles of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as well as methods of evaluating their impact. The purpose of the course is to learn about the crucial role that NGOs play in building and strengthening sustainable communities and societies in developing countries.
Learning Outcomes: The overall objective of the course is to recognize the correlation between development and sustainability in light of human rights, social justice and social responsibility. By the end of the course the student will be able to: 1. Recognize major theories and approaches on international development 2. Recognize best strategies for sustainable community development 3. Identify contemporary approaches of capacity building for leadership, organizations and institutions.
Course readings: The course includes a series of fundamental and adjourned reports related to teh field of international development and sustainable development. These include: Sen, Amartya. Development As Freedom. New York: Knopf, 1999 | Blewitt, John. Understanding Sustainable Development. London: Earthscan, 2008 | Hickey, Samuel, and Diana Mitlin. Rights-Based Approaches to Development: Exploring the Potential and Pitfalls. Sterling, VA: Kumarian Press, 2009. Black, Maggie. The No-Nonsense Guide to International Development. Oxford: New Internationalist, 2007 | UNDP. Human development report 2010: Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 | UNITED NATIONS. Millennium Development Goals Report, 2010 | UNDP. Innovative Approaches to Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment, 2008 | Kates, Robert W., Thomas M. Parris, and Anthony A. Leiserowitz. “What Is Sustainable Development? Goals, Indicators, Values and Practice." Environment. 47, no. 3 (2005): 8 | Hardin, G. "The Tragedy of the Commons. The Population Problem Has No Technical Solution; It Requires a Fundamental Extension in Morality." Science (New York, N.Y.) 162, no. 3859 (1968): 1243-8 | Earth Charter Initiative. "Text of the Earth Charter". World Views: Environment, Culture, Religion. 8, no. 1 (2004): 141-149 | SIDS. The Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development, 2006 | NGLS. Human Rights approach to sustainable development, 2006 | Fowler, Alan. "Ngdos as a Moment in History: Beyond Aid to Social Entrepreneurship or Civic Innovation?" Third World Quarterly 21, no. 4 (2000): 637-654.
Globalization and Civil Society Organizations
Course Description: This course introduces students to the practices and theories of global civil society organizations (CSOs). Globalization of economics, politics, technology and culture is critically reviewed as a threat and opportunity for NGOs and CSOs. Students learn about network analysis of civil society in relation to the United Nations, international organizations and transnational movements.
Learning Outcomes: 1. Critical understanding of current theories and trends of globalization in relation to global governance and international public service | 2. Recognition of the central mandates and role of the United Nations in achieving global security, socio economic development and human rights through inter-sectoral partnerships (ISPs) | Recognizing both the potential and obstacles for democratic participation and accountability of the growing global civil society | Developing skills in controversial debates, organizational network analysis, best practice analysis. Course Competencies: 1. Debate Capacity (DC): Working in the field of international public service requires essential skills in effectively presenting your argument and make compelling, well-documented points and counterpoints in a debate. Aside from essential skills such as professional writing, international communication and participatory evaluation, an international public servant will benefit from developing and practicing excellent oral and written debate skills | 2. Critical Analysis: (CA): Through this competency, students can construct and effectively present an in-depth analysis of a topic or issue that has significance for our social/political/cultural lives. This course provides the opportunity to pursue an in-depth analysis of a topic chosen by the student while sharpening his/her ability to assess different frameworks and approaches to an issue, formulate relevant questions, develop a coherent position, and have the ability to explain his/her knowledge to others | 3. Network Analysis (NA): The analysis of global civil society with the methodological approaches introduced as network analysis. This competency is a set of related approaches, techniques and tools used to describe and analyze relationships among individuals, institutions and organizations. This innovative analytical approach is an essential tool for understanding how people and organizations work in the globally connected fields of international public services | 4. Global Leadership (GL): Being an effective public servant in the current global reality requires the development of appropriate leadership values, skills and experiences. The global leadership competency encapsulates the leadership styles that best perform in an interdependent global economy, politics and society. This competency reflects some of the characteristics of cultural intelligence (CQ), integrated by the ability to recognize the interconnectedness of globalization forces, agents and trends.
Course Readings: Lechner, Frank, and John Boli. The Globalization Reader. Wiley-Blackwell; 3 edition . 2007 | Haugen, David M., and Rachael Mach. Globalization: Opposing Viewpoints. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010 | United Nations. The United Nations Today. 2008 | Glasius, Marlies, Mary Kaldor and Helmut Anheier (eds.). Global Civil Society 2005/6. London: Sage, 2005 | Anheier, Helmut, Marlies Glasius and Mary Kaldor (eds.). Global Civil Society 2004/5. London: Sage, 2004 | Stiglitz, Joseph E. Making Globalization Work. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2006 | Chandler, David. Constructing Global Civil Society Morality and Power in International Relations. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
Management of International Non-governmental Organizations
Course Description: This course examines management skills and trends of international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs), Through specific case studies in the fields of international public service, development and emergency, students learn about current techniques for effectively manage the projects, relations and operations of NGOs working in international contexts.
Learning Outcomes: 1. Understanding contemporary challenges and best-practices in NGO management | 2. Analyzing nongovernmental organizations in their mediating role with foundations, civil society organizations, businesses, public agencies and intergovernmental organizations | 3. Developing project management skills applied to international development and international public service.
International Relations and Conflict Management
Course Description: International Relations and Conflict Management offers reflective practices and concrete directions for creating constructive solutions to interpersonal, inter-group, and international conflict. This course is a valuable opportunity for students to learn about interpersonal, intercultural and intergovernmental conflict prevention, management and resolution. The broad field of international relations is explored through the role of governmental and non-governmental approaches to conflict management. This course focuses on theoretical foundations and practical implications connected to the use of diplomacy, negotiation, mediation, peacekeeping, peacemaking and peace-building in order to solve and prevent international conflicts. The purpose of the course is to analyze contextual and managerial variables correlated to the success or failure of conciliatory missions and preventive efforts. The escalation of global terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction, and various post-WWII conflicts will be used as case studies to explore the role of international organizations, multilateral coalitions, and international dialogue to deescalate violence, enhance security and promote peace. This course is a combination of mini-lectures, seminar format discussions, and group presentations. Guest speakers will represent a variety of approaches and experiences in conflict management.
Course Objectives: 1. Introduce students to classic and contemporary theories of international relations in connection to conflict management | 2. Understand and identify the political, economic, cultural and social dimensions of conflict at the interpersonal, inter-organizational and international levels | 3. Recognize the role of nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations in mediation, conflict resolution and prevention.
Course Competencies: 1. Conflict resolution techniques: Student participating in this course will acquire or enhance their ability to manage conflict through reduction, mitigation or elimination through management and international negotiation skills like bargaining, mediation, or arbitration. The techniques will be analyzed along interpersonal, inter-organizational and international levels of conflicts. 2. International conflict analysis: Students will increase their capacity to recognize the complexity of factors influencing the surging, perpetration or escalation of conflicts through human security factors related to economic, political, social and other dimensions. Students will increase their cultural intelligence and their awareness on the necessary skills for engaging diverse stakeholders in win-win-win solutions. 3. Project design: Students will learn how to apply their theoretical understanding and practical management skills in preparation of proposals addressing real needs in conflict zones or post-conflict contexts. The proposal will include innovative concepts and pragmatic partnerships for promoting peace-building in conflict areas and post-conflict contexts.
Intercultural Communication in Organizations
Course Description: This course provides the necessary conceptual foundation and practical skills for leading, managing and communicating in a cross-cultural and diverse working environment. Students learn intercultural competency through applications and examples on international relations and human resource management.
Learning Outcomes: 1. INTERCULTURAL AWARENESS & KNOWLEDGE: Demonstrates increased awareness and knowledge of the central role that cultures play in international communication, global management, and human resource management in diverse and multicultural settings | 2. CULTURAL DIVERSITY COMPETENCY: Demonstrates effective strategies and competencies to relate, respect, dialogue, and negotiate with culturally diverse organizations and people in appropriate social and organizational contexts | 3. CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE & COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Demonstrates a development in his/her cultural intelligence, global leadership capacity, and professional skills for effectively managing and communicating in international public service and/or cross-cultural contexts in the United States and abroad | 4. INTERNATIONAL HR COMPETENCY: Demonstrate capacity to recognize the intercultural and diversity challenges in international human resource management while offering both culturally and managerial intelligent alternative solutions.
Course Readings: Hofstede, Geert H., Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind : Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010 (third edition) | Harzing, Anne-Wil, and J. van Ruysseveldt. International Human Resource Management. London: Sage Publications, 2010 | House, Robert J. Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications, 2004 | Gannon, Martin J. Understanding Global Cultures: Metaphorical Journeys Through 23 Nations. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications, 2010 | Hofstede, Geert H. Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications, 2001.
International (Global) Leadership Ethics
Course Description: Ethical and socially responsible leadership are core dimensions in the education of local and global public servants. This course provides students with the essential framework for personal and professional ethical decision making applied in the context of diverse workplaces and international organizations. Through lectures in ethical theories, case studies in applied ethics, and specific assignments, students clarify their personal-professional values, assess their moral intelligence, and enhance their ethical leadership integrity. Students learn about economic, political, social and environmental responsibility as applied to contemporary practices of professional and international public service. Learning Outcomes: 1. Increasing global awareness and social engagement: Appreciatively and critically review the values and practices of global citizenship, socially responsibility and sustainability | 2. Becoming aware of your personal philosophy: Developing your moral intelligence by identifying, understanding and developing your own value system and ethical frameworks | 3. Learning to recognize issues with ethical content: Understanding different ethical frameworks, especially from a cross-cultural perspective. Learning about value leadership and moral decision making in public and private life | 4. Learning to ask the right questions when confronted with ethical choices: Developing awareness of those habits of mind that may encourage moral dialogue on important personal, professional and international issues.
Graduate Courses Taught
Comparative Public Policy Ethics in International Administration Globalization and Civil Society Organizations Integrative Seminar Research Intercultural Communication in Organizations International Dimensions of Public Service International Political Economy International Relations and Conflict Management Leadership and Management Management of International NGOs Partnership Management for Poverty Reduction Public Service and the Three Sectors Public Service Assessment and Evaluation Research Methods in Public Service Sustainable Development and NGOs Third World Development and Role of NGOs United Nations Seminar Urban Poverty Seminar Values-Centered Leadership
Undergraduate Courses Taught
Sustainable City Leadership (Discover Chicago) Chicago Service Leadership (Explore Chicago) Globalization and Human Rights Human Geography Multiculturalism in the United States - Indigenous Identities in the US and Globally Sociology of Resistance, Indigenous Social Movements Sustainable City Leadership (Discover Chicago) World History from a Global Perspective Poverty Analysis: Analyzing Poverty, Its Causes and Consequences
Study Abroad Courses Taught
Human-rights sustainable Development and NGOs (Chiapas, Mexico) Research Methods – Participatory Poverty Assessments (Manila, Philippines) Sustainable Community (Development) Assessment (Manila, Philippines) Intercultural Refugee Service Management (Amman, Jordan) EU Regulatory Public Policies, Managing Food in Italy (Tuscany, Italy) Brazilian NGOs – Street Children (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Online and Hybrid Courses Taught
Assessment and Evaluation (Online) Ethics in Administration (Online) Ethics in International Administration (Online) Integrative Seminar (Online) International Relations and Conflict Management (Dual Format) Globalization and Civil Society Organizations (Hybrid / UN-Video Conference Seminar) Management of International NGOs (Hybrid / United Nations Conference)
Independent Studies Subjects Taught
Social Enterprise for Sustainable Change and Poverty Alleviation EU-US Agriculture Policies The United Nations and Sustainable Development The United Nations and International Organizations The United Nations Human Rights Council Advocacy and Public Policy in Border and Immigration Studies Philanthropy and the Economy: International Dimensions Food Ethics Affecting Chicago International Public Service & Human Rights: Ending Human Trafficking Sexual Violence in Mexico: Prevention & Accountability Domestic Violence in Mexico Communications by Civil Society Gender-based Leadership in Chiapas, Mexico United Nations Global Compact Patriot Act and US NPOs International Strategic Planning International Zapatista Movement Refugees and Internally Displaced People US Immigration and Border Issues Microfinance Latin American Foreign Policy Civic Participation in High School Service Learning Programs International Social Entrepreneurship
Title of Thesis Projects Supervised
The Impact of Fair Trade Cotton on Livelihood of Cotton Producers in India. Fair Trade and Development Goals in the Coffee Sector The Central American Free Trade Agreement: Effects on Labor in the Maquila Sector A Participatory Assessment of Immigrant Integration in a Low-Income Suburban Neighborhood Increasing Latino Engagement in Sustainability of Mainstream Youth Development Organizations Leapfrogging or Green Washing? An Economic, Social, and Environmental Impact Analysis of Rural Solar Electrification Programs in the Fatick Region of Senegal A Multidimensional Community Development Model for Resettlement Communities: A Case Study in the Philippines The Lost Boys Of Sudan: Unaccompanied Dinka Refugee Children Indigenous Leadership Development in Chiapas, Mexico Contemporary Immigration in the Italian Context Non-Governmental Educational Assistance for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Rachuonyo District in Kenya The Zapatista Movement’s Social & Electronic Network Impact on NGOs: Chiapas Lessons The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: What kind of policy is it and what did it accomplish? Putting the ‘Micro’ Back in Microfinance: A Case Study of Two NGOs In India The Weight of Tradition: Barriers to Rural Women’s Property Rights in South Africa The Alien Tort Statute and Global Human Rights Advocacy Homelessness as Challenge to African American Males The Participation and Influence of Nongovernmental and Civil Society Organizations in the Development of Cambodia’s National Poverty Reduction Strategy