JSGS student presents paper on community-university partnerships
Jul 17, 2013
Victoria, B.C. – Held this year at the University of Victoria from June 4-6 in conjunction with Congress 2013, the Canadian Political Science Association’s annual conference included a panel discussion on teaching and learning politics, featuring JSGS PhD student Cody Sharpe.
Having co-authored a paper with JSGS colleagues Sara McPhee-Knowles, Travis Reynolds and Canada Research Chair Ken Coates, Sharpe provided his thoughts on the Policy Shop, a student-organized initiative that provides pro bono policy work to non-profit organizations.
Their paper, Theory & Practice: A Student Led Community Service Learning Approach to Research, compares the academic expectations held regarding how community-university partnerships ought to operate with the group's actual experience running five different partnerships though the Policy Shop. Cody and his co-authors found that the ideals of the literature are tremendously challenging to achieve in practice, primarily because of the significantly different institutional environments in which community and university actors work. However, they also learned that the experiences enjoyed by student researchers who participate in community service-learning projects are significant enough to warrant further efforts at incorporating partnerships into course curriculum.
"Attending CPSA gave me an opportunity to share our unique experiential learning initiative with faculty and graduate students from across Canada. The positive reception and useful feedback our work received in Victoria will help us improve the Policy Shop directly and contribute to preparing our paper for publication,” said Sharpe. “Thanks to the exposure we gained through the CPSA, we have started a new collaboration with two external faculty members on a follow-up research project which involves evaluating the learning outcomes of community service-learning projects. I am excited about continuing this initiative because it allows me to contribute to my community, generate publications and develop a philosophy of teaching all at the same time."
Support for Cody's trip was provided by the JSGS, the College of Graduate Studies and Research, and the CPSA.