The Skills For Impact (SFI) program, originally developed and taught with the Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership & Advocacy (LEAD), provides a learning environment in which MPA students can enhance the essential skills they will need for their future careers.
The SFI program is a mandatory, applied element of the MPA program. It aims to equip students with core vocational competencies that are of high value in the workplace, including team building, leadership, emotional intelligence, planning, risk management and critical reflection. The SFI modules complement academic learning on the MPA, and provide an important opportunity for practice oriented learning and broad skills development.
Modules are delivered in the Spring term of the first and second year in a professional education format of either 1.5 (1 credit) or 3 days (2 credits) of intense engagement, a style that introduces students to executive training approaches and different pedagogic styles. These modules variously develop the ability of students to navigate, shape, and negotiate complex environments, manage and reduce conﬂicts, and to communicate and advocate effectively. Faculty delivering SFI modules come from a diversity of practice and professional backgrounds including film-making, media training, budgeting, capacity building, management, law and psychology.
For the class of MPA students 2021-2022 and 2020-2021 there is a choice of options from a range of SFI modules for a maximum of 10 credits over the two years of the MPA program (list subject to change):
- Negotiations Workshop
- Data Visualization with R: Principles and Practice
- Turning Conflicts into Collaboration
- Documentary Filmmaking
- Advocacy: Strategizing, Planning and Measuring Impact
- Internet and Human Rights Practicum
- Practical Legal Skills for Public Policy Students
- Effective Speaking to Public Policy Audiences
- Evidence for Policy Impact
- Engaging International Organizations in Vienna
- Applying Psychology to Public Policy
Of the 10 credits that must be successfully passed for completion of SFI and the MPA program, the 1 credit module Managing Cultural Diversity is mandatory and delivered during the pre-sessional period of the first year.
All 10 credits of the Skills For Impact modules are earned on a Pass/Fail basis, with assessment criteria set out for each of the individual SFI modules.