The School of Professional & Continuing Studies, in partnership with GVI, has launched Impact Academy, a career-oriented international program focused on sustainability and social impact. Through rigorous online coursework and an immersive international fieldwork experience, Impact Academy provides participants the practical skills and experience needed to launch a career in sustainable international development.

According to GVI’s 20 years of experience and research in sustainable development, Millennials and Gen Zs want a career that makes an impact. Of those surveyed, 72% reported that they hoped to advance a cause through their career.

In partnership with GVI’s “Impact Academy” division, UCR Extension, UNC Charlotte and the University of Richmond are each offering a portfolio of career-accelerating programs focused on supporting the cause of sustainable international development.

The Impact Academy is a global first: a one-stop-shop designed to give participants the practical skills, theoretical understanding, on-the-ground experience, career guidance and support needed to launch a career in international development.

Impact Academy is now open for registration. Programs combine rigorous online coursework with 2 or 4 weeks of international fieldwork. This fieldwork immerses participants in the local realities that make or break development programs. This gives participants a unique, nuanced grasp of context, in countries such as South Africa, Thailand, Costa Rica, Peru, Fiji, Ghana and the United States.

Understanding context in sustainable development is vital. With better-trained graduates who are equipped to analyze and adapt to context, development projects are more successful, and more sustainable.

Over 80% of employers in nonprofit organizations, development-focused corporations, and social enterprises say that candidates’ lack of practical experience on how to deliver change is the biggest blockage to them achieving their career goals.

Impact Academy was developed with this need in mind, to be applied to projects across all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And to close this gap even further, participants will also have unique access to industry opportunities and updates through a dedicated careers portal.

Program Overview

Online learning (2, 8 or 16 weeks) is followed by 2 or 4-weeks of international fieldwork where participants will visit and analyze established development programs, and attend masterclasses led by local practitioners.

Students will apply their learning and analyze the ways in which contextual factors such as culture, politics, logistics and economics impact, and sometimes impede, development initiatives.

By completing research and projects in the field, participants gain necessary professional experience, and an appreciation for local knowledge and the contextual factors that affect global development.

A Partnership for Impact

The Impact Academy prepares participants for career placements in the sustainable development field, in eight subject areas:

  1. Marine Conservation
  2. Global Public Health
  3. Climate Crisis and Clean Energy
  4. Social Economic Development
  5. Human Rights and Access to Justice
  6. Environmental and Corporate Sustainability
  7. Wildlife Conservation
  8. Education for Development

Graduates of the Impact Academy programs will be a step ahead in their careers, as they receive an education guided by a deep understanding of the talent needs for organizations in sustainable development, and grounded in contextually relevant practices in the field.

To learn more about Impact Academy, visit