University of Cincinnati logo and link
E-mail this information to a friend  

Plan on More International Opportunities with Peace Corps Partnership

The School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati is set to better prepare students to work around the world thanks to a new agreement between the school and the Peace Corps.

Date: 3/18/2003 12:00:00 AM
By: Mary Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot  

The  School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati is set to better prepare students to work around the world thanks to a new agreement between the school and the Peace Corps.

Students earning masters degrees from UC’s well-respected planning program are now eligible to sandwich a Peace Corps stint of service between their first and last years in school.  The School of Planning is only one of five such planning programs across the nation that offer this option, thanks to an agreement just forged with the Peace Corps.

Associate planning professor Johanna Looye helped to organize the partnership in order to better prepare advanced planning students for careers in international development.    That’s one of reasons that first-year Master of Planning student Roderick Williams, 32, of Lexington, Ky., has applied to volunteer with the Peace Corps for the next two years. 

Rod and Devona Williams

Said Williams, “The international development track is why I came to UC.  And it’s just worked out that the Peace Corps partnership came along, and it really fits with what I want.  Since I was born and raised in the Midwest, this is my a chance to look at the world from a very different perspective.”  Williams and his wife, Devona, a pharmacist, have long considered serving in the developing world.  Both are hoping their Peace Corps service will take them to Latin America this fall.  

After their two years of service, Williams will return to UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning to complete his final year in the planning program. 

“By placing this service within the years of their UC degree, students are cushioned in terms of preparation and return,” explained Looye who was a Watson Fellow in Chile and Ecuador before entering graduate school and has since conducted research in Brazil.

Like Williams, future planning students who opt to serve in the Peace Corps will first spend a year in the classroom, concentrating on issues related to international development, such as how to work in large teams and how to conduct research in developing countries where access to the best data is not usually available.  After returning from their service years, the students will step back into a familiar professional and physical environment without having to immediately search for a new school, job or place to live. 

Within the program, the UC students will benefit from the depth of Third World experience available among UC’s planning faculty.  Several faculty members are former Peace Corps volunteers while several others have extensive experience living and working in the Third World.

Looye added, “The combination of their [students’] masters degree in international planning and the stint in the Peace Corps will launch them into careers within international development.  The combination of academic and real-world experience will allow graduates to compete for planning jobs not only in the U.S. but around the world.”

The School of Planning/Peace Corps partnership is part of an ongoing program in which the Peace Corps allows graduate school students to sandwich their volunteer years within their graduate school curriculum, often allowing the students to earn academic credit as is the case with the UC partnership.  According to Sylvia Alejandre, the Peace Corps' University Programs coordinator, UC’s School of Planning is one of five planning programs so partnered with the Peace Corps.  The others are Florida State University, Virginia Tech, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Arizona. 


Digg! Digg | | Slashdot Slashdot | Reddit Reddit | AddThis Social Bookmark Button

More UC News | UC Home