What can the TCCBE do for you?
A. The Community-Based Education (CBE) Program is an innovative approach to experiential learning. It offers students the opportunity to work with community organizations in Peterborough and Haliburton Counties by completing community-inspired projects for course credit. Projects are usually 50 to 220 per-person hours in length.
The CBE program is designed to:
• Assist community organizations with community-based research and other services that otherwise might not be completed.
• Provide students with experience in their fields of study and enhance future employment prospects.
• Increase co-operation and partnership between Trent University and the broader communities it serves.
Interested organizations submit project proposals requesting assistance to the TCCBE or U-Links Centre for Community-Based Research (U-Links). These requests are reviewed by a committee of representatives from the community and the University. Once approved, these project opportunities are posted on the websites listed above for students and instructors to consider. The time commitment needed for project completion can vary greatly (e.g. 50 or 200 hours).
Community-Based Education projects can be carried out as a thesis, a full or half credit course or as an assignment within a course commencing at the beginning of any Fall, Winter or Summer session. Check out the academic calender or contact TCCBE staff for more details. Check out our list of CBE projects currently underway to get a sense of what CBE projects look like.
B. The Community Service-Learning (CSL) Program allows students to get a small taste of volunteering and civic engagement by matching them with short-term projects proposed by local organizations. Students must complete a reflection assignment as part of the learning process. Projects are usually 10 to 20 hours per-student in length.
The program compliments established curriculum across all Trent University departments and courses. Projects take place in the context of academic courses. While students are completing these projects they are also meeting course requirements. Projects are completed as an assignment within a regular course.
Faculty members are encouraged to contact TCCBE staff if they want to integrate CSL projects into their course curriculum. See our list of CSL projects currently underway to get a sense of what a CSL project looks like.
C. The Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) supports research initiatives between community organizations or topical research groups and university and college faculty. The SRI also provides research project logistics support. The SRI is about addressing strategic, long-term community research needs related to issues like poverty reduction, climate change or how to benefit from an aging workforce. Research projects may occur over a number of years; and once research is complete, both academic and community partners can use it.
What tangible services does the SRI offer? Possible staff roles include:
- Help define research questions or project ideas
- Convene stakeholders and post-secondary faculty to discuss project ideas
- Support proposal-writing and grant applications
- Project management & coordination including:*
- Creating a research project agreement
- Ensuring project is on track and meeting deliverables (research ethics and logistics)
- Promote projects to students (through CBE program)
- Encourage and support positive relationships between project stakeholders
- Enhance projects by linking with our broad community network
- Suggesting community-based research tools & methodologies
- Support research completion activities like making presentations, writing publications or strategic planning*
*Usually subject to additional funding
Similarly, faculty members are encouraged to contact TCCBE staff with their research interests or if they want to talk about integrating their research program into course curriculum through the CBE or CSL programs.
See our list of SRI projects currently underway to get a sense of what an SRI project looks like.
Full or half credit ‘independent’ courses
If a student has asked you to supervise their Community-Based Education/Research Project for an independent credit, check out the academic calender or contact TCCBE staff for more details.
Many professors teach upper year courses strive to develop content that allows students to actively use the research skills they have developed, and to gain experience relevant to future academic or career aspirations. By incorporating community-based research into a course, professors give students this opportunity while also providing valuable assistance to local organizations. Our approach to Community-Based Education is an innovative blend of two concepts: the Science Shop movement in Europe and Service Learning common in the United States.
TCCBE staff has experience helping to integrate community-based projects into courses. We take care of logistical details, leaving professors free to concentrate on theory, research skills and methods, and reflection. Normally, this begins with a brief presentation on the Community-Based Education Program and projects that may be of interest within the course.
Supervising a Project
If you have already agreed to supervise a project and want to know what this entails, click here.
If you are considering supervising a student project, continue reading this section.
How the Program works
Before a student reaches you, they have already applied to the Community-Based Education Program and selected a project in which they are interested.
To be eligible for a CBE Project, a student must have 10 full course equivalent university credits and a cumulative average of 75%. There is an appeal process if students do not meet this requirement, which involves the student securing support from both their host organization and a professor who agrees to supervise them.
We encourage students to meet with their host organization before asking a professor to supervise the project. This allows student and host to ensure that there is a compatible match. Host organizations are warned that there is no guarantee a project will go ahead until a professor has agreed to supervise the project and the students submits their signed Project Agreement.
The truth about being asked to supervise a project…
We do not tell students that it is their right to have a professor supervise their project. We suggest to students that they give a professor time to consider their request and that they do some preparation before approaching a professor. This includes:
- Presenting the host organization’s proposal so that you know what the organization expects
- Offering samples of the student’s past research and other related activities, to demonstrate their ability to undertake the project
- Sharing ideas on how they will approach the project so that you are able to gauge their ability to manage the project
- Giving a professor adequate time to consider the request
What is expected when supervising projects
Faculty are expected to guide students in doing the research or other service. In research projects, the student remains the primary researcher in a given project and maintains ownership of the information written within a project.
Supervising a community-based education project is similar to supervising a reading course, the difference is that the community organization has determined a question they need answered.
In some cases, the community group may have a good sense of research methodology and may guide the student. In other cases, the community group may offer the student little guidance on research methodology or may even make suggestions that are neither rigorous nor ethical. In this case it is recommended that you help the student find other approaches to the research.
It is expected that you will help the student decide if they need to go through the department ethical review process if they are working with human or animal subjects.
The professor ultimately grades the students work and submits the grade to their department. Many professors consult with the organization before assigning a grade.
There is no set amount of time you are expected to spend meeting with the student. Some students prefer to remain in regular touch with the professor supervising their project via email. Others include a plan for staying in touch with their host organization and their professor in their Project Agreement.
What happens after you have agreed to supervise the project
The student will develop a draft Project Agreement. The draft Agreement is to be circulated early in the process to the host organizations, the professor and TCCBE or U-Links (depending on which organization the project was proposed for). After incorporating relevant feedback into the Agreement, it is expected that the student will circulate the final version and get it signed by all parties involved. The Agreement is important for several reasons:
- It documents the terms of reference that all parties agreed upon
- It outlines what work will be done by the student for the host organization
- It outlines what products will be submitted for marking, thus acting like a syllabus. In general the products submitted to the host organization and for marking should be the same
- It can be used to determine important dates in the project cycle and schedule regular meetings with the host organization and the professor
Anyone supervising a student’s activities bears some responsibility to consider safety when giving them direction. Host organizations, students and faculty supervisors who participate in community-based projects must all sign a Work/Education Placement Agreement. This form is an agreement on behalf of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to purchase insurance coverage for students while they are working on placements off of campus. The student will be provided with the form and is responsible for acquiring signatures.