U-Links matching community-based research projects, developing new partnerships Oct 3, 2018 U-Links Centre for Community Based Research has been working to match Trent geography, environmental science, forensics and international development studies students with local community-based-research projects. While the total number of U-Links’ project proposals increased by 40 percent this year, under-enrolment of students in Community Based Research (CBR) courses has meant that U-Links will not be able to match all the projects.
Projects that are not time-sensitive can stay on the Trent and U-Links websites for matching over the 2019-20 academic year. U-Links is very thankful to all of the community organizations who participated in project development over the last few months.
The U-Links team has been busy working on its own internal projects relating to developing and accessing community-based research.
U-Links and Community First: Impact of Community Engagement (CFICE) have jointly published a guide, “Primer for Community Organizations with Research Questions.” The purpose of the guide is to help community organizations create research-oriented relationships with university faculty. It includes critical steps for organizations who wish to engage in CBR, from finding the right partner to designing the project, research agreement and sharing the results. The guide can be accessed via the Sept 13th update below.
To better facilitate the dissemination of research in the County, U-Links is now hosting a new database where individuals can search past research by keyword, subject tag and CBR area. The database includes a full screen map where users can view the locations of CBR projects in Haliburton County. The direct link to the database can be found at https://database.ulinks.ca/
U-Links is also developing a new partnership with Fleming College, whereby Fleming students can participate in environmentally-focused CBR and Community Service Learning opportunities in the County for course credit. This partnership will officially launch January 2019 but community service learning projects related to benthic sampling have already begun. U-Links is excited to be working with two of the Fleming’s Frost Campus Programs: Sustainable Waste Management and Environmental Technology. It is expected that the partnership will help facilitate the higher number of projects generated by community organizations this year.
The purpose of this document (Click here for the full CFICE - Campus Community Manual PDF) is to guide community organizations’ staff as they begin to create research-oriented relationships with university faculty. The goal of these relationships is to maximize the effectiveness of the non-profit organization through the creation of evidence-based decision making. Nonprofit community organizations often have service-related questions but few resources to answer these questions. For example, an organization might want to know whether a specific intervention or program is providing the desired outcome. The lack of unbiased answers to such questions makes it difficult for an organization to make the best, or perhaps most economical, decisions about the future direction of the organization. University faculty have a need to engage in research to meet the university’s promotion and tenure requirements. More and more often faculty members are seeking projects that will make meaningful contributions to the community in which they live and work. They are seeking opportunities to engage in what is known as Community-Based Research. Faculty are recognizing that the outcome of such projects is more likely to result in change when the question, or problem statement, arises from the community. As such they are seeking research partnerships initiated by community organizations. Other faculty, while themselves not Community-Based Research practitioners, may be able to support a research project undertaken by their students, whether as course-based projects or as graduate or undergraduate thesis projects. Some universities and colleges have well-developed departments that engage community organizations in this process and utilize the resulting projects to provide students with real-life experiences in the surrounding community. Others are just beginning to develop the process.
U-LINKS SCALING UP PROJECT PROPOSALS IN HALIBURTON COUNTY
July 5, 2018 U-Links Centre for Community Based Research is currently scaling up the development of research proposals in Haliburton County in order to better define and deliver research focussed on the specific social, economic, environmental or cultural issues that organizations are facing. U-Links is also now facilitating Community Service Learning, a form of experiential education that has more immediate impact in the community.
Through the Community-Based Education Program, Trent University and Fleming College students assess local community needs and opportunities and suggest practical solutions to these needs, while earning course credit and real-world experience in their field of study.
Community Service Learning projects are short-term structured volunteer projects (i.e. 1-3 days) designed by community organizations. They are practical in nature (i.e., students volunteer for an activity or event) and increase an organization’s human resources needed for a certain goal.
U-Links is currently seeking project proposals from community agencies for the 2018-19 academic year. U-Links welcomes ideas for research or community service projects that may address a particular need or issue that is of a social, economic, environmental or cultural nature. If organizations have research and/or short-term volunteering needs, they may contact U-Links at 705-286-2411 or email either Sonja Addison (email@example.com) or Amanda Duncombe-Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org). U-Links staff will set up a phone call or meeting to help develop an idea into a project proposal.