Zach Owens’ moment of clarity came in his Principles of Chemistry class. He entered the course with an interest in science and emerged knowing his passion.

“Learning about climate change was really the catalyst that motivated me to start doing something about sustainability and environmental issues,” he said.

“Doing something” took him from establishing a position within Regis’ student government focused on sustainability to his role today: managing multiple programs focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy for the Colorado Energy Office.

It also led Owens, a 2009 graduate, to Regis’ new Master of Development Practice program. The program equips individuals and organizations to grow lasting solutions to complex global issues like poverty, human capacity and climate change.

“For me, the vision was just so exciting and so awesome because I’ve had the Regis perspective, I’ve had the Colorado perspective and this was an opportunity to put that interdisciplinary lens onto issues that really are global,” he said.

The program, the only one of its kind among Jesuit universities, is unique on several fronts, said Dan Wessner, professor and program director. Based in Denver’s historic Curtis Park Neighborhood at the Posner Center for International Development, which brings together more than 60 development-oriented organizations, the program taps into the expertise of those working on real global challenges. While Owens attends class in person, the tech-friendly classroom enables anyone in the world to participate live and engage in a meaningful, collaborative learning experience, without having to step away from their critical service work.

Owens was among the first students to enroll in the related eight-month graduate certificate program and expanded his plans after the master’s program was approved in early 2016. He said he can see how his studies have enhanced his work for the state of Colorado by refining his analytical reading and writing skills. He’s hopeful it will launch him deeper into the academic side of this important field.

“Addressing complex development challenges requires collaboration between practitioners in the field and academic theorists – ’pracademics,’” Owens said. “Regis offering this program will allow students to explore how to be ’pracademic‘ men and women in service of others to pursue interdisciplinary and international solutions to challenges like climate change.”

Learn how you can improve the quality of life for others around the globe with Regis’ Master of Development Practice.