Master of Arts in Sustainable Development:
Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change, Brattleboro, VT

Faculty for the MA in Sustainable Development: Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change program in Vermont are experienced development professionals. They include practitioner-scholars based on SIT’s Vermont campus and adjunct faculty from the Washington, DC Center, southern Vermont, and the surrounding region. The MA in Sustainable Development: Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change program draws upon other campus-based resources, including the professional development staff in SIT Study Abroad, and leaders of both local organizations and organizations around the world, often through visits and video conferences. Many of these individuals serve as guest lecturers and practicum advisors for SIT students.

SIT Graduate Institute Sustainable Development Faculty

  • Jeff Unsicker

    Jeff Unsicker PhD, MA, Stanford University
    BA, University of California, San Diego

    Chair, Sustainable Development

    Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

    Jeff Unsicker completed graduate studies in international development, education, policy analysis, and administration. His research focused on the political economy of foreign aid for adult education, rural development, and Ujamaa socialism in Tanzania. A member of the SIT faculty since 1990, Jeff has also served as academic dean and interim president of SIT Graduate Institute. While at SIT, he co-founded and served as general secretary of a global partnership for educating NGO leaders that has programs in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and co-directed a program on leadership for social justice for the Ford Foundation’s International Fellowships Program.

    Before joining SIT, Jeff was the coordinator of education and leadership development programs for an advocacy coalition of over 50 community-based organizations in Southern California; faculty director of the International Service and Development degree at an international liberal arts college in northern California; a research associate at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Botswana. His current teaching and practice are focused on policy analysis and advocacy by grassroots associations, NGOs, and other local, national, and transnational civil society organizations that are working for social change. He has recently done training and consulting for the advocacy divisions of BRAC in Bangladesh, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Oxfam America, and CARE. Jeff has also held various leadership and strategy planning roles in a statewide coalition of citizen, public interest, and environmental organizations that is committed to retiring Vermont's nuclear power reactor and replacing it with safe and green alternatives. Jeff's teaching, consulting, and activism are the basis for his book, Confronting Power: The Practice of Policy Advocacy (Kumarian Press, 2012).

  • Kanthie Athukorala

    Kanthie Athukorala EdD, MEd, University of Massachusetts
    BEd, National University of Lesotho

    Assistant Professor
    Sustainable Development

    Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

    Kanthie Athukorala holds a doctorate in international education. A member of the SIT Graduate Institute faculty since 2000, she teaches courses in research methods, theory and practice of sustainable development, and assessment and evaluation. Her teaching experience includes a professorship at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she taught courses on women and economic development, and global feminism. Kanthie also has extensive experience in non-formal and adult education and in gender and development in African contexts.

  • Charles Curry-Smithson

    Charles Curry-Smithson PhD, MA, The Fielding Institute
    MA, Saint Louis University
    MRE, MDiv, New York University
    BA, Glen Ellyn College

    Sustainable Development

    Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

    Charles Curry-Smithson holds a doctorate in human and organizational systems, as well as four master's degrees in organizational development, sociology, religious education, and theology. A member of the SIT Graduate Institute faculty since 1989, Charlie teaches courses in social change, policy advocacy, leadership and organizations, program planning and project design, and monitoring and evaluation. He also has served as chair of the sustainable development degree and as associate dean of the program in intercultural service, leadership, and management.

    Prior to joining the faculty, Charlie worked for more than 20 years as a practitioner in different aspects of development, including community organizing, micro-enterprise development, vocational rehabilitation, political education, civic engagement, and policy advocacy. During that period he worked in five different civil society organizations and in the US Peace Corps. He also established and directed an organization to advocate for a non-interventionist US foreign policy and one supportive of human rights.

    Charlie speaks Spanish and has lived and worked in Chile, Venezuela, and Tajikistan. He has also consulted in 15 countries, providing service in needs assessment, program planning, training, capacity building, and program evaluation. His current professional interests revolve around social change, and are partly reflected in the issues he has chosen for his annual policy advocacy course in Washington, DC, including anti-personnel landmines, labor and human rights, the Iraq war, child labor, child soldiers and human trafficking, and global climate change. He is active locally in the Vermont Progressive Party.

  • Teresa Healy

    Teresa Healy PhD, Carleton University
    MA, York University

    Associate Professor
    Sustainable Development: Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change

    Teresa Healy earned her doctorate in political science from Carleton University in Ottawa. Her work focuses on social movements’ struggles for equity and community-based sustainability in times of economic crisis. Before coming to SIT, Teresa worked as a senior researcher within the Canadian labor movement and held academic posts in the fields of international political economy and North American integration. Currently, Teresa is involved in an ongoing research project on economic re­structuring and women in northern Canada. She has recently published an article on the Canada-EU free trade agreement and is completing a participatory action research project with immigrant workers whose factory closed suddenly in Ontario. She is a recording singer-songwriter. Teresa Healy’s book, Gendered Struggles against Globalisation in Mexico, was published by Ashgate in 2008. Her edited collection, The Harper Record, was published in 2008. Healy is an adjunct research professor at the Institute for Political Economy at Carleton University and a research associate at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

  • Nikoi Kote-Nikoi

    Nikoi Kote-Nikoi PhD, MA, University of Massachusetts
    BA, Vassar College

    Professor, Sustainable Development
    Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

    Nikoi Kote-Nikoi, who holds a doctorate in economics, has been a member of the SIT Graduate Institute faculty since 1989. He also has served as a policy analyst and director of research at the Institute of Economic Affairs in his native Ghana, and as a visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen, Marlboro College, and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. As a development consultant, Nikoi has worked with international businesses and organizations, including the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, and DANIDA. His research and writing explore context-specific theories and practices of development, with a focus on political economy, the economic impact of the AIDS pandemic, employment policy in transitional economies, financialization, and industrial policy for Africa. In addition to teaching courses in economic theory, development economics, policy analysis, and sustainable development, Nikoi has a thriving practice in policy analysis and advocacy in Ghana, where he is the co-founder and chief economist of the Center for Policy Priorities, a public policy research and advocacy institution in Accra. He sits on the boards of the Institute for Training and Development in Amherst, Massachusetts, and the Free-Zone Authority of the Republic of Ghana.   His major publications include ‘Beyond the New Orthodoxy: Africa’s Debt and Development Crises in Retrospect’ (Aldershot, UK: Avebury Press, 1996) and the forthcoming ‘Policy-Relevant Macroeconomics: A Critical Introduction to Orthodox Theory, Institutions and Policy' (Prentice-Hall).  He also serves as an editor of the Journal of Social Policy and Development Research.

  • Christian Parenti

    Christian Parenti PhD, London School of Economics and Political Science
    BA, Eugene Lang College, New School for Social Research

    Professor, Sustainable Development
    Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

    Christian holds a PhD in sociology (co-supervised in geography) from the London School of Economics; he later completed a series of post-doctoral fellowships at the City University of New York Graduate Center where he worked closely with the geographers Neil Smith and David Harvey. He has held fellowships from the Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. He arrived at SIT in 2011 from a teaching position at Brooklyn College. His current research focuses on the environmental history of state involvement in American economic development, from the earliest days of the republic onward. Most of his previous publications have focused on war, crime, repression, surveillance, and state power.

    His latest book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (2011), explores how climate change is already causing violence as it interacts with the social legacies of economic neoliberalism and cold-war militarism. The book involved several years of travel and research in conflict zones of the Global South.

    His three earlier books are The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq (2005), a work of analytic and ethnographic reportage on the first years of US military occupation in Iraq; The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror (2002), a history of routine, everyday surveillance that traces the development of political technologies, like fingerprinting and photographic identification, from their origins in the antebellum South to the present; and Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (2000/2008), Christian’s first book, considered a social science classic. Lockdown explores the history of the US prison and policing buildup since the 1960s and argues that the buildup is rooted in both global-scale economy shifts and national discursive projects of racialized class control and political theater.

    As a journalist, he has reported extensively from Afghanistan, Iraq, and various parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His articles have appeared in Fortune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Middle East Report, London Review of Books, Mother Jones, and The Nation (where he is a contributing editor). He has also helped make several documentaries and has won numerous journalistic awards, including the 2009 Lange-Tailor Prize and “Best Magazine Writing 2008” from the Society for Professional Journalists. He also received a 2009 Emmy nomination for the documentary Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi.

    In addition to teaching at SIT Graduate Institute, Christian is the director of SIT Study Abroad’s new comparative program focused on climate change and the political economy of resources. He splits his time between New York City and Brattleboro and is, quite coincidentally, a native of nearby Putney, Vermont.

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