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Episode 299: How We All Benefit from PMI's Academic and Educational Programs (Free)

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Michael DePrisco and Cornelius Fichtner

This Interview with Michael DePrisco was recorded at the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Generally speaking, the Project Management Institute (PMI) focuses it's work on three markets: Practitioners, Organizations and Academic. Michael DePrisco is Vice President Academic and Educational Programs for PMI and so our discussion centers around the Academic Market.

In the course of this discussion we touch upon The PMI Education Foundation (, PMI's large academic research programs, the Global Accreditation Center, and PMI's involvement in academic outreach. Michael closes the interview by reviewing a number of the benefits that PMI creates through all of these programs.

My personal big takeaway from this discussion was that even though "Academic" doesn't sound like the "sexiest" of PMI's three markets it is the one that's at the cutting edge of project management. Through research programs, global accreditation and outreach PMI creates value for all practitioners in the world.

Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Welcome back everyone to the PMI Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Podcast Interview

Cornelius Fichtner: With me right now is Michael DePrisco who is the Vice President Academic and Educational Programs for PMI. Hello, Mike!

Michael DePrisco: Hello, it's good to be here.

Cornelius Fichtner: How are you doing today?

Michael DePrisco: I'm doing great, wonderful day in Phoenix, nice and warm.

Cornelius Fichtner: It's always sunny in Phoenix.

Michael DePrisco: That's right!

Cornelius Fichtner: It's always sunny in Phoenix. Tell us a little bit more about your role with PMI. What does the Vice President Academic and Educational Programs do?

Michael DePrisco: Sure! Great! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak to you. I joined PMI about 2 years ago as the Vice President, as you said, Academic and Educational Programs and in my role, I provide executive oversight to the academic and educational programs that PMI puts forth throughout the world. It includes our academic research function. We put on a variety of research and education events throughout the year to support the creation and distribution of new knowledge in the field of project management.

I'm also responsible for the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs. We refer to that as GAC, and GAC accredits academic degree programs in project management at the Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral levels and those programs in particular that demonstrate a certain level of rigor and excellence in the area of project management and who are really advancing the profession for teaching.

We also work with colleges and universities and help and support them in their efforts with project management education. And I also provide executive oversight to the PMI Education Foundation which is the philanthropic arm of PMI and our focus there, our emphasis there is helping younger students in middle and high school acquire those critical life skills that you find in project management and apply that to their education in middle and high schools.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! Let's a quick step back before we look at each of these four in detail because you are in charge of the academic market. But PMI has three markets defined. Can you tell us a little bit about the other two markets before we then come back to the academic side?

Michael DePrisco: Sure! We have within PMI a structure whereby we have emphasis and focus on 3 primary markets. The practitioner market of course being our members, our credential holders, those individuals that seek out PMI for knowledge and networking and those folks that are attending the conference and the congress here are very much those individuals who are seeking knowledge and networking and opportunities to learn more about the profession.

We also have the organizational market that focuses on developing relationships with organizations, those companies who are hiring our practitioners and we advocate for the value that project, program and portfolio management delivers to business results. The organization market also does a lot of activity in the government relations area around the world. They are making connections with agencies and governments and working with and they provide support and information and thought leadership on the area of project management. So governments and agencies can learn how they can use project management to better the operations in their respective countries.

So the third market is the academic market and that focus is really on advancing the profession, as I said earlier, knowledge creation, knowledge dissemination and the practical application of that knowledge to advance the profession. That's really what we focus on, as well as accelerating the teaching of project management. I think if we're really going to be able to demonstrate the true value of project management in the academic community, it has to be viewed as a true academic discipline and where you're able to do that, where you're able to leverage that is in the classroom. We're seeing more and more colleges and universities express interest in teaching project management because they see the value that project management delivers to the workplace.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! I think the most interesting thing from my perspective that you are in charge of is the Educational Foundation. What is the relationship between PMI and the PMI Educational Foundation? How do you play your part?

Michael DePrisco: Right! Great questions! So the PMI Education Foundation as I mentioned a few minutes ago is the philanthropic arm of PMI where it's set up as a 501(3)(c) supporting organizations. We are a separate entity from PMI. The PMI-EF has its own board, as well as staff who are really the staff including myself we're PMI employees who are signed to work for the PMI-EF and we work with the board to advance the mission and the goals of the educational foundation.

So my role with the Ed. Foundation is Chief Operating Officer and I work with the Executive Director and her team to help advance our goals and objectives, and service liaison to PMI CEO, Mark Langley as the main supporting organization.

Cornelius Fichtner: And what I find interesting is whenever I talk to potential students of mine who are having financial issues and they can't afford their education, the one thing they don’t know is that the Education Foundation actually exists and it is possible to get a scholarship in project management from PMI. All they have to do is qualify and apply.

Michael DePrisco: That's right! You're absolutely right! In some cases, the best kept secret right?

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah!

Michael DePrisco: We want to do is…

Cornelius Fichtner: There's free money and nobody's taking it.

Michael DePrisco: It's free money and no one's taking it. You know, our focus within the Ed. Foundation, we focus on creating work-ready individuals through our scholarship program, as well as professional development program. Professionals as well as students can apply for a variety of scholarships and I'm happy to say that over the course of the past few years, we have given away or awarded I should say over half a million dollars in scholarships and professional development funds to a variety of practitioners and students around the world. It's a great benefit that's not really well known to everyone. But certainly if you go to, our website, you would be able to search and look at all the variety of scholarships that we have available to practitioners around the world and students.

Cornelius Fichtner: And of course, as always, we will have a link to that also in our Show Notes on the website. Second item you mentioned is research. What kind of research? Obviously into project management but how does that then translate for us practitioners?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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