Advocacy and Leadership Program

Advocacy and Leadership Program

CANADA - EUROPEAN UNION PROGRAMME FOR CO-OPERATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION, TRAINING AND YOUTH
Transatlantic Exchange Partnerships - TEP

Advocacy and Leadership: Enhancing Educational and Employment Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
Overview Objectives & Activities Outcomes & Products Links & Contacts

Overview
This project will focus on two groups of students, those with disabilities and those who will be working in the human services field. The project will prepare these individuals for advocacy and leadership in their educational environments, communities, and beyond. As a minority group, persons with disabilities often have difficulty accessing services and opportunities. The central objective of this project is the development and teaching of an internationally focused student-centered program in disabilities advocacy and leadership. All students, while overseas, will receive 2 course credits within their existing program of study across the eight institutions. The first credit will be a compulsory credit course that is a requirement in their home institution. The second credit will be an internship credit course (ICC) developed and presented collaboratively by partner institutions. The internship credit course will be experientially based and focused on international rights and advocacy for persons with disabilities. The internship credit course will include on-site lectures, a speaker series, a mentoring program, and academic advising services, focused retreats, several intensive immersion experiences, and a practicum.

Dates of Exchanges:

Canadians to Europe, 2009:

  • 5 Brock Students (Bedford) May 18 - June 25, 2009
  • 4 NSCC Students (Bedford) May 18 - June 25, 2009
  • 5 College of the North Atlantic (Bedford) May 18 - June 25, 2009

Canadians to Europe, 2010:

  • 5 Brock Students (Ghent) Apr 26 - June 4, 2010
  • 6 NSCC Students (Finland) Apr 26 - June 4, 2010
  • 5 College of the North Atlantic (Ghent) May 1 - June 13, 2010
  • 5 PEI Students (Finland) April 26 - June 4, 2010
  • 5 PEI Students (Ghent) April 26 - June 4, 2010
  • 10 College of North Atlantic Students to (Bedford) May 3 - June 18, 2010

Supported Through the Government of Canada and the European Union

Objectives
The project will bring together 7 principal institutional partners and will involve the mobility of 40 Canadian students plus 5 faculty and 30 European students and 3 faculty. The collaboration will result in a certificated and sustainable professional development series to be offered at host institutions in the future. Specific project objectives are:

1. To demonstrate through reflective activities an understanding of multicultural learning and global awareness of critical issues in the field of disability,
2. To deliver course content that fulfills the program requirement for the home institution while in the partner institution,
3. To deliver a 100-hour internship credit course in advocacy and leadership for students with disabilities,
4. To demonstrate employment-related international knowledge, skills and expertise in advocacy and leadership in the field of disability,
5. To develop and deliver comprehensive cultural through an inter-cultural fully accessible web-based community,
6. To utilize e-learning and open distance education through an inter-cultural fully accessible web-based community,
7. To develop sustainable partnerships through the collaborative preparation and dissemination of outcomes through reports, academic papers and conference presentations.

Activities and Formats
Activities (For each objective listed above)

1. Students will be given a comprehensive cultural package which will indclude a series of on-line lessons that provide language instruction and an introduction to customs and cultural norms. The entire cultural package, while provideing the necessary general information, will also focus on inclusive language with regard to disability and have a particular focus on norms, preexisting cultural ideologies and beliefs as well as current information on disabilities. Students will be required to engage in an on-line preparatory phase that allows them to enter into an internationally-based community of learners. They will be required to keep an electronic journal prior to, during and following the exchange that tracks their evolving understandings and growth.
2. All students, while overseas, will receive a course credit within their existing program of study across the seven institutions. This credit will be a compusory credit course that is a requirement in their home institution. At the university level this credit will be an elective of independent study course that is part of an undergraduate or graduate program. At the college level, this course will be a necessary requirement of a community studies based program.
3. The second credit will be an internship credit course developed and presented collaboratively by partner institutions. this internship credit course will facilitate discussions of advocacy and student leadership. It will include a speaker series, a mentoring program, academic advising services, focused retreats, and several intensive immersion work experiences.
4. The internship credit course will include a program for students with disabilities in secondary, post-secondary and employment settings. Students will be provided with transitioning/orientation workshops for students with disabilities on effective self-advocacy facilitated by student leaders/professionals/. As well, they will be provided with guidelines for the development of support groups for studnets with disabilities to connect with others and increase functional independence. Each student participating in the internship will have an employment immersion experience as well as an educational one.
5. Students will be given a comprehensive cultural package which will include a series of on-line lessons that provide language instruction and an introduction to customs and cultural norms. The entire cultural package, while providing the necessary general information, will also focus on inclusive language with regard to disability and have a particular focus on norms, preexisting cultural ideologies and beliefs as well as current information on disabilities.
6. Throughout the process, students will be required to engage in an on-line participation into an internationally-based community of learners. They will be required to keep an electronic journal prior to, during the following the exchange that tracks their evolving understandings and growth. The internship credit course will begin at the home institution with a thirty-hour on-line component where instructors from the partner institutions teach and interact with the students prior to the visit. After the completion of the exchange, students will participate in a ten-hour follow up series of sessions that will encourage reflection and closure to the experience.
7. Each institution will have shared ownership of an internationally developed internship credit course that can be offered after the life of the project. Project participants will also produce a complete edited comprehensive final report, which includes the project evaluation which will be submited to the Canadian-European Union Programme for Cooperation in Higher Education and Vocational Training. In addition to this will be the preparation of conference paper(s) jointly with students, for dissemination at e.g. CSSE, AREA, EERA, BERA. Paticipants will also prepare and submit, jointly with students, journal articles for judicial review (e.g. Journal of Higher Education, International Jouranl of Disability.)

Formats:

1. Development and Dissemination of an International Curriculum
2. Strategies to Integrated the Curriculum into Programmes
3. Language and Cultural Development and Assessment
4. Organizational Frameworks and Student Mobility
5. Internships and Work Placements
6. Student Recruitment
7. Exemption of Tuition/Fees (at host institution)
8. Academic Credit (quality assurance and certification)
9. Student Services (home and abroad institutions)
10. Evaluation Plan
11. Faculty and Staff Exchanges
12. Web-based and Computer-based Technologie

Results and Final Outcomes
The project will result in a collaborative and internationally created exchange program that will include course completion and certification in the home institutions as well as an internship credit designed to foster the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed to become advocates and leaders in the field disability studies. The project participants - 40 Canadian and 30 EU students will, on successful completion of the series receive two credits towards programme completion within their respective disciplines. The participating students will also acquire employment-related international understanding, including linguistic and cultural awareness.

Dissemination of Products
This project will have two specific products. There are the cultural/language seminar package and the internship credit course. Within the internship credit course, partnerships will be with local community agencies. Students work and reflection will serve as a basis for the development of the project monograph as well as presentation and journal artifacts that will be disseminated at the local, national and international level.

Media & Publication

Brock International Newsletter Issue 10
Faculty News - Graduate Studies

Related Links

Canadian Consortium Institution:

EU Consortium Institutions, Organizations and Associated Organizations:

Contact Information
Sophia Papastavrou, Project Manager, Brock University, spapastavrou@brocku.ca
Dr. Sheila Bennett, Brock University, Sheila.bennett@brocku.ca
Dr. Tiffany Gallagher, Brock University, Tiffany.Gallagher@brocku.ca
Dr. Jamie Fillion, Nova Scotia Community College, Jamie.fillion@nscc.ca
Ms. Karen Antle, Coordinator of Disability Services, College of the North Atlantic, karen.antle@cna.nl.ca
Prof. Basil Favaro, University of Prince Edward Island, bfavaro@pei.eastlink.ca
Drs.Geert Van Hove and Dieter Windels, Gent University, Dieter.Windels@UGent.be
Ms.Annikki Pulkkinen, Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences, annikki.pulkkinen@tokem.fi
Ms.Christine Inglis, Bedford College of Further Education, clinglis@bedford.ac.uk