The following post was written by Dr. Martha Fanjoy, Researcher at the School of Global Access
This past fall, the School of Global Access and Research and Innovation collaborated to pilot the Social Innovation on the Ground project’s Social Innovation Resource for Beginners. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded pilot tests the research project’s social innovation resource while supporting student participation in research and community engagement.
During the Fall 2018 semester, our researchers designed and implemented a pilot with three main objectives:
- To work through the Bow Valley College (BVC) Social Innovation Resource for Beginners and pilot its framework.
- To providing current BVC students an opportunity to engage in research knowledge translation.
- To demonstrate how to include research and innovation skills in BVC programs.
As a School of Global Access researcher, I worked with our project team to recruited 24 student applicants to fill four student research assistant roles. Beginning in October four students, one from the School of Global Access and three School of Community Studies’ students, have been developing socially innovative responses to inclusive teaching and learning practice that are informed by BVC’s ongoing Diversity Advantage Action Plan work.
Our student research assistants have used the Social Innovation Resource for Beginners to create individual projects while providing feedback on each module as they go, piloting the research project resource from four unique perspectives:
- Creating safe spaces for LGBTQ students.
- Incorporating English for Academic Purposes learns’ professional and academic experiences in their classrooms.
- Supporting the transition to post-secondary learning for students with disabilities
- Ensuring faith-based facilities are appropriate and accessible – with a focus on space for Muslim students to perform cleansing practices before prayer.
The student projects clearly represent the team’s diverse backgrounds, capacities, and interests.
This knowledge translation activity asks our students to identify an issue related to inclusive teaching and learning (either at BVC or in their professional practice during a practicum placement) and then work to identify a solution using the Social Innovation Resource for Beginners.
Each week, I met with students and together we worked to create a project that embraces social innovation practices. After the students complete their research design, the team will produce a short report following the process and students will present their projects at an open house poster presentation hosted at the Intercultural Centre on January 29th from 11:30- 1pm.
All staff and students are welcome to attend. We hope to see you there as we celebrate social innovation and research here at Bow Valley College.
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