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The NAFSA Management Development Program (MDP) is the most trusted and comprehensive management training program for international education (IE) professionals. Since its inception, more than 700 IE managers have gained applicable real-world skills that have helped each take their career to the next level.

  • Become an Effective Manager in International Education
  • Develop the Expert Skills You Need
  • Proven and Interactive Three-Day Format With Trainers and Peers

Have you been elevated to a managerial role? Are you often the one making critical decisions for your team or office? Do you wonder why some of your management strategies are successful, while others are not? Would you like to meet and work with fellow IE managers who share your management challenges? If you have at least three years of management experience, or if you have been leading staff for years but want to expand your full potential as a manager, consider the NAFSA Management Development Program. Through this interactive, three-day professional development experience, the trainers of the Management Development Program will help you find and apply the management principles that work best for you.

View the Program Agenda

Over the course of this three-day comprehensive program, participants will learn about the key skills needed to become a more efficient and effective international education manager. The curriculum is reality-based, grounded in theory but focused on application. The content leverages participants' management experiences to illustrate concepts and identify solutions. To encourage participant sharing and learning from everyone's expertise and experience, class size is limited!

Day One (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

Module 1: Seeing Your Program in the Larger Context

  • Understand how the manager can anticipate and react to environmental factors in ways that enhance the international education program.
  • Conduct an "environmental scan" of your program's key opportunities and threats presented by the world outside the program.
  • Consider the implications for your international education program and your managerial role.

Module 2: Organizational Culture

  • Apply a description of organizational culture to your international education program.
  • Examine your organization's politics.
  • Assess and bridge gaps in knowledge regarding the manager's financial responsibility.

Module 3: Your Managerial Style and the Needs of Your Staff

  • Apply the situational leadership model.
  • Discover your preferred management style.
  • Identify the needs of your staff.
  • Assess the "fit" between your preferred management style and the needs of your staff.
  • Learn how to diagnose and assess staff's developmental needs according to the task.
  • Begin to use a variety of leadership styles comfortably. 

Day Two (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

Module 4: Performance Management

  • Apply a performance management model to programs and staff.
  • Identify opportunities to improve approaches to performance management.
  • Apply performance management tools - goal-setting and feedback - to address performance issues.
  • Identify strategies for managing both under-performing and high-performing employees.
  • Understand the six performance management principles.

Module 5: Managing Change

  • Appreciate the need for a systematic approach to change management.
  • Learn a model for change management.
  • Apply model to a past or an ongoing change effort.
  • Incorporate a stakeholder analysis to facilitate the change effort.

Day Three (8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)

Module 6: Increasing Support for Your Program

  • Generate ideas to align international education goals with institutional goals.
  • Recognize challenges facing your supervisor.
  • Suggest ways to better communicate with your supervisor.
  • Develop and benefit from working with colleagues beyond your office.
  • Assess and bridge knowledge gaps for financial responsibilities.
  • Distinguish "positive politics" from "politics of self-interest." 
  • The 4 'P's of Managing Up, Across, and Out.
    • Priorities - Develop and align goals with your supervisor and institution.
    • Pressures - Consider and act with regard to pressures and performance measures affecting your supervisor.
    • Preferences - Match and/or adapt your communication style or approach to your supervisor's preferences and needs.
    • Patience - Stay committed in adhering to the first 3 'P's

Module 7: Sustaining Yourself as a Manager

  • Understand the nature and potential impact of job stress.
  • Exchange insights and strategies for balancing work and life.
  • Generate ideas and actions to manage stress more effectively.
  • Review and identify the strategies and tools from MDP most likely to increase your effectiveness as an IE manager.


It was definitely worth the bang for my buck... or my institution's buck. Both professionally and personally, I had so many takeaways. I'm very anxious to apply and use my new knowledge and information.

- Participant, Chicago, IL, Summer 2018