| by Jason Warburg

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Graduation at the Dong A University IT Program
This image from graduation at the Dong-A University IT Program for Students with Disabilities in Vietnam is featured on the cover of one of the sections of the new Higher Education Scholarships Toolkit published by USAID and coauthored by Professor Anne Campbell of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. (Image courtesy of USAID Vietnam)

The Middlebury Institute’s academic curriculum is enriched immeasurably by the fact that many faculty members serve simultaneously as teachers, mentors, researchers, and practitioners.  

These multiple complementary roles can extend to shaping future government programs and policies, as Professor Anne Campbell of the MA in International Education Management (IEM) program recently did while spearheading the creation of a new resource for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Since fall 2020, Campbell has been working with USAID as a consultant to develop a toolkit for international scholarship programs—a project that directly connects her work as a practitioner with her teaching in the classroom.   

“I teach and conduct research at the intersection of international education and international or sustainable development,” she says. “Higher education scholarship programs are my area of focus. This project was a great way to pair my past work with helping to guide scholarship initiatives by USAID.” Campbell, who also serves as the program coordinator for the Institute’s Joint MPA/IEM degree program, worked closely with USAID Higher Education Senior Advisor Samantha Alvis, the project lead. 

The 11-item toolkit was launched October 19 via a global webinar for USAID staff—which topped out its maximum capacity of 250 attendees—at the same time all of its components were published on the agency’s website. Campbell explains, “This toolkit is aimed at helping the USAID missions in their efforts to design and manage national and international scholarships for national development outcomes. It’s being published open-access so that others interested in designing, managing, or implementing scholarships can also use the products.”

“I see my role as helping students sharpen their skills and ideas towards advancing global understanding and driving change in pursuit of a more just world.” 
— Professor Anne Campbell

Campbell’s role as a lead researcher created value for both her client and her students. In the context of scholarship program design, “one of the focal areas of the project was considering ways to extend recruitment and frame selection to include candidates who might otherwise not have the opportunity, such as women, students with disabilities, or those who live outside of major urban centers. As we discuss in my IEM classes, these practices help to spread opportunities, increase diversity of the finalist pool, and interrupt the cycle of perpetuating the elite by offering scholarships to underserved populations rather than those who have already had much opportunity.” 

The project also found Campbell thinking more intensively about how to foster and encourage scholarship alumni as partners in development. “Many graduates of USAID scholarships go on to work in government, for international NGOs, for local organizations, as professors, and in other important roles that lead to national development—they often become leaders in the development of their countries.” That focus on mentoring and developing future leaders naturally mirrors the work Campbell does as a faculty mentor at MIIS. “I see my role as helping students sharpen their skills and ideas towards advancing global understanding and driving change in pursuit of a more just world.”

Professor Anne Campbell
Professor Anne Campbell (Credit: John Schaidler )

Campbell also noted how, in the process of producing the toolkit, she brought to bear a range of skills taught at MIIS. “In this project I worked closely with a team based in Washington, D.C., and Algiers, and we interviewed USAID staff and partners around the world. These experiences called on my skills in intercultural communication and research, project management, and working with international partnerships and teams—skills that are at the heart of our work at MIIS. We really consider how to develop a vision, build teams, and successfully communicate across cultures.”

Project Offers Practical Tips for Students

In the end, Campbell sees concrete lessons for her students in the project just rolled out. “My USAID work was also a good reminder of how development or change happens somewhat differently in each country. While there are guiding principles and benchmarks towards international or sustainable development goals, the specific actors, history, culture, and power relations all influence how that change happens. Reminding students that one size does not fit all is crucial to working in the field.” She also shares practical tips with her students about the various actors in international development, the opportunities and limitations in the field, and her experiences as a consultant.

Campbell took a semesterlong leave of absence in fall 2020 to complete her work on the new toolkit, but the Institute was never far from her thoughts, thanks to the global network of MIIS alumni. “In the course of working on the project I met the acting team lead for the Young African Leaders Initiative at USAID—our alumna Jennifer Schneider (MBA ‘09)!” It’s a small world, made even smaller by the international collaborations of teacher-practitioners like Professor Campbell.