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Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education
Unformatted Document Text:  Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education According to the original concept paper, the Capstone “would involve more multi-dimensional challenges of international leadership, including: intercultural communication, consensus building, conflict resolution, leadership and management, strategic planning and resourcing, evaluation, budgeting, and proposal writing…. During the morning of the first day and the afternoon of the last day of the simulation, students would have the opportunity to work with faculty on special topics. During the three remaining days, the students would participate in a simulation exercise that incorporates all that they learned throughout the year….The simulation would involve a variety of stakeholders and would revolve around a current transnational problem.” The proposal for a capstone simulation was submitted to the various curriculum committees of the University and approved by the University Senate and the State of New York in mid-2005. The revised MA-IR Program was advertised in fall 2005 for the entering class of 2006, which would participate in the inaugural simulation exercise in May 2007. The 2007 Simulation: “Primus Inter Pares?” Learning Outcomes The students who participated in the 2007 Simulation, “Primus Inter Pares?” were told the purpose of the exercise was “to think of potential developments before they happen, so that when they happen we are not totally caught off guard. As we know from recent history, the first mistake a policy-maker or analyst can make is to assume that something is never going to happen. The purpose of this simulation is for you to get into the shoes of a member of a team and together strategize and make tactical decisions in response to the changing situation.” For the participants this was an opportunity to work in a small group setting to plan a strategy for their team and work together to implement the strategy. The learning outcomes for the Capstone were described in an assessment exercise for the International Relations Program, “Documenting the Assessment of Student Learning in Academic Programs” (June 2006). For the Capstone, five outcomes were identified as being relevant: 1. Culture: Familiarity with cultural dimensions of International Relations. The role of culture in international development, conflict management and dispute resolution, and organizations. 2. Decision-Making: The ability to identify relationships between policy options and interests with respect to problems in international affairs. 3. Research and Analysis: The ability to work individually and in groups under a deadline in order to digest, select, and organize policy-relevant material in international affairs. 4. Consensus Building: Basic skills in interactive and collaborative learning. 4

Authors: Bonham, G. Matthew.
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Using a Role-Playing Simulation to Bridge Theory and Practice in Graduate Professional Education
According to the original concept paper, the Capstone “would involve more multi-
dimensional challenges of international leadership, including: intercultural
communication, consensus building, conflict resolution, leadership and
management, strategic planning and resourcing, evaluation, budgeting, and
proposal writing…. During the morning of the first day and the afternoon of the
last day of the simulation, students would have the opportunity to work with
faculty on special topics. During the three remaining days, the students would
participate in a simulation exercise that incorporates all that they learned
throughout the year….The simulation would involve a variety of stakeholders and
would revolve around a current transnational problem.”
The proposal for a capstone simulation was submitted to the various curriculum
committees of the University and approved by the University Senate and the
State of New York in mid-2005. The revised MA-IR Program was advertised in
fall 2005 for the entering class of 2006, which would participate in the inaugural
simulation exercise in May 2007.
The 2007 Simulation: “Primus Inter Pares?”
Learning Outcomes
The students who participated in the 2007 Simulation, “Primus Inter Pares?”
were told the purpose of the exercise was “to think of potential developments
before they happen, so that when they happen we are not totally caught off
guard. As we know from recent history, the first mistake a policy-maker or
analyst can make is to assume that something is never going to happen. The
purpose of this simulation is for you to get into the shoes of a member of a team
and together strategize and make tactical decisions in response to the changing
situation.” For the participants this was an opportunity to work in a small group
setting to plan a strategy for their team and work together to implement the
strategy.
The learning outcomes for the Capstone were described in an assessment
exercise for the International Relations Program, “Documenting the Assessment
of Student Learning in Academic Programs” (June 2006). For the Capstone, five
outcomes were identified as being relevant:
1. Culture: Familiarity with cultural dimensions of International Relations. The
role of culture in international development, conflict management and dispute
resolution, and organizations.
2. Decision-Making: The ability to identify relationships between policy options
and interests with respect to problems in international affairs.
3. Research and Analysis: The ability to work individually and in groups under
a deadline in order to digest, select, and organize policy-relevant material in
international affairs.
4. Consensus Building: Basic skills in interactive and collaborative learning.
4


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