What can the TCCBE do for you?
**NOTE: We accept project proposals anytime, but if you would like your Community-Based Education (CBE) project to be considered for the 2013-14 academic year, please submit your CBE project proposal by Monday June 3, 2013. This will ensure there is enough time to finalize your proposal with CBE staff and get the project approved and posted for students to consider in late August/early September.
A. The Community-Based Education (CBE) Program is an innovative approach to learning and community development. It offers students the opportunity to work with community organizations in Peterborough City and County on projects ranging from 50 to 220 per person hours.
Community organizations are invited to submit a CBE project proposal outlining the research or other service they wish to have done. A committee reviews the proposal to ensure they meet program criteria (listed in project proposal form), and are suitable to be undertaken by students for course credit. TCCBE then sends short descriptions of the projects to academic departments. Please contact TCCBE to receive our proposal template. Click here to see a list of CBE projects currently underway.
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.
Like the CBE program, community organizations are invited to submit project proposals outlining the short-term service they wish to have done. A committee reviews the proposal to ensure they meet program criteria (listed in project proposal form), and are suitable to be undertaken by students for course credit.
Community hosts are encouraged to contact TCCBE staff if they have a project idea in mind. Potential hosts can also 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
What makes the SRI unique?
- The SRI is about strategic/phased/faculty-involved projects; the CBE Program is about student-involved projects (short and medium-term, usually with one host and one faculty supervisor).
- The SRI is a direct resource catalyst (e.g. co-authoring a funding proposal for further research); the CBE Program is an indirect resource catalyst (e.g. project results used in funding proposal for further research).
- The SRI is a new way for students, faculty and non-academic stakeholders to get involved, this may lead to participation in CBE Program or vice versa; the CBE Program is an established way for participants to get involved.
Check out our list of SRI projects currently underway to get a better sense of what we’re up to.
With the help of the department, TCCBE seeks students who might be interested in undertaking the project for academic credit. This can be done as an assignment within a course, as a separate course or as a thesis, depending on the type and scope of the project.
Interested students contact TCCBE to confirm their eligibility and learn further details about the projects. Following this preliminary screening, TCCBE passes along the student’s contact information to the appropriate organization. Student and host set up a meeting to see if they are a good match.
Organizations usually treat students as they would someone they are considering hiring; asking about students undertaking research or other services projects are encouraged to remain in close contact with TCCBE throughout the project, for support and troubleshooting, and to ensure a successful experience for all participants.
Submitting a CBE Proposal
If you are interested in writing a project proposal, please consult our host manual for designing and proposing research projects or contact the TCCBE office.
Once We have Received Your CBE Proposal
- When a proposal is received by TCCBE, it is put through a review process to determine if it meets the criteria of the Community-Based Education Program.
- Approved projects are promoted to students and faculty at the University. Organization names are not attached to the project at this stage of promotion to avoid confusion related to several students contacting an organization at one time. We also find that not attaching the host’s name encourages students to consider the project and not the organization they are working for, as some organizations are better known to students than others. Please look at our Current CBE Projects page for a list of available projects.
- When a student shows an active interest in a given project, they contact our office and we contact you.
- The student and you meet to determine if they are a suitable match. This is a bit like a job interview; you will probably want to ask the student about their interest in the project and experience they will bring to the project. After this first meeting you need to decide whether you are comfortable working with this student. Host organizations have the right to refuse a student if they fell the student is not suitable. After the initial interview, please contact our office to let us know whether you have decided to go ahead with the student or not.
- If the project is going ahead the student must find a faculty member to supervise the project. We assist the student with this.
- Once the three players (host, student, professor) are in place, the student develops a draft Project Agreement. The draft should be circulated to you, the professor and our office for feedback. Please don’t be afraid to be critical if the draft doesn’t seem to meet the needs outlined in your proposal. If you are worried about how to say what you are thinking about the project agreement, please feel free to contact our office and we can help you work through your thoughts.
- Once everyone agrees on the draft Project Agreement, you will be asked to commit to the project by signing it. The student should also ask you to sign the Work/Education Placement Agreement form at this time. This form is the Ministry of Education’s commitment to purchase health and safety insurance for the student while they are in a project with you.
Click here for our project agreement template.
The CBE Project Agreement becomes the student’s work plan and a guideline for you, the host organization. Your participation in an early meeting with the student(s) and faculty is ideal so that all parties involved begin to work on the project with a clear understanding of each other’s commitment. Your participation in developing the Project Agreement also helps ensure that your needs will be met.
Host Manual for Designing and Proposing Research Projects
This section is designed to help community organizations create practical and meaningful research proposals. It answers some of the questions frequently asked about project development and anticipates some of the challenges you may encounter.
How Does Community-Based Research Apply to Your Organization?
Community-Based Research is:
- Research that is conducted by, with or for communities (Sclove et al, 1998)
- Research with a substantial level of community participation for the purpose of community improvement and social change (Loka Institute, 2002)
- Puts the issues and questions of community organizations and the communities they serve at the centre of research (Marchand, R., 2001)
- CBR is not a research method but it is an approach to doing research (Narciso, L., 2003).
Past projects have investigated research questions that were historical, scientific, social, economic and environmental in nature. Click here to view a collection of past projects.
It is important to recognize that community-based research is not the same as a co-op or other work-placement training initiatives. Students doing projects are responsible for fulfilling their research obligations in a self-directed fashion. Community-Based Education Program (CBEP) student-involved projects are not intended to fulfill or augment the staffing needs of the host organization. Students are asked to complete a Project Agreement in which they outline how they will go about answering your research question in a way that will also meet the requirements for course credit. Please contact TCCBE to receive our project agreement template.
It is important to note:
- It is unlikely the student will work from your office. This is not a work-placement, the student will not come into your office one day a week. The student may come in to access resources such as files and information or tools such as fax machines or internet access.
- Some organizations like students to come to staff meetings or board meetings to discuss the progress of the project. If this is of interest, write it into your proposal. Remember that time coming to meetings will be included by the student in the hours they devote to the project, so while it makes sense to come to some meetings, probably coming to weekly meetings will leave them with little research time.
- While the student is to work in a self-directed fashion, we have found that it is good for the host organization to check in with the student on a regular basis. We encourage students to write dates to consult with their host organization in the Project Agreement.
Designing a Research Project
We always ask that a host organization attempt to develop their request for research. If however, you have any difficulties, we are here to help answer your questions and assist you. Given the regular use of electronic communication such as email, we ask that you submit your request for research electronically, as an attachment to an email message and as a hardcopy. If this poses any challenges please let us know, as we would never want technology to stand in the way of a proposal getting done.
All projects should establish:
- Clear research question/s or statement/s of what you want to find out
- Detailed research objectives and outcomes. The objectives and outcomes should state what product/s are expected, as well as what skills and knowledge the student/s will gain during their project.
Some organizations require research whose scope and complexity may exceed the limits of one student’s ability and available time. In this case, more than one student may complete a project. A project may also span more than one term or academic year, or it may comprise a small part of a larger body of work taking place at the host organization.
Key Research Question(s)
Establishing the key research question(s) at the very beginning and continually referring to them throughout the project provides you with a method of ensuring that each step of the project stays on track.
- What do you want to find out?
- Why do you want to find out this information?
- What do you already know about the issue?
- What assumptions do you make about the issue(s) you intend to research?
- What types of information are needed?
Time Required for Completing the Project
To determine the total amount of time a student needs to complete a given project, you should presume that one full credit equals 180 to 220 hours. In turn, a half credit is 80 to 90 hours. Expecting more of a time commitment than this from the student is not realistic.
Project Design Phases
Projects should be broken down into the discrete tasks that are needed to complete the project with the time requirement for the completion of each task. It is a good idea to develop a task structure that is comprised of a beginning, middle and end.
- The beginning of the project will include an orientation to the project and the host organization, as well as the time required to complete this task.
- The student may then need to engage in library research to ascertain what types of literature/secondary resources already exist regarding the topic being researched.
- You may also require that the student familiarize herself/himself with the appropriate techniques employed in their academic discipline for collecting information or data on the subject area being researched. This again may include library/literature research.
- The student is now ready to design the tools i.e. surveys, interview questions needed for collecting the desired data or information.
Schedule check-in times with the student/s to keep abreast of his/her research as well as to provide feedback.
The implementation of a project is the data collection phase and may include conducting surveys, creating inventories of information and resources, needs assessment studies, strategic plan development or feasibility studies (see Statistical Research Primer). The amount of time and work required for your research will vary based on the scope and methods you select.
Please remember that primary/first-hand research is enormously time-consuming and can often be more than you bargain for. A conservative approach is always advisable so that the student does not sacrifice the opportunity to do some analytical thinking because the gathering of data took up all of their time.
This is the outcomes stage where students will analyse data, draft recommendations and make reports. Tied to this set of outcomes will be a clear means of evaluation on the part of the supervisory professor. Students will be marked on the academic merit of their work as well as the usefulness of their results.
The most successful projects are clear and distinct and will be completed in the span of the project.
As a follow-up on research projects, host organizations may be asked by supervising professors to assist in the evaluation of the project and the assignment of a mark. Even if this is not the case, some communication with the professor regarding the quality of the resulting work is essential to guide their participation in future community-based research projects.
The most important question at the end of the project is whether or not the stated objectives were met. This will often be judged by the resulting report or end product. Feedback in this regard is essential for us to continue to develop and improve our program. We will often ask for the completion of a more formal evaluation form.