Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Queen Elizabeth Scholars program funding will allow StFX to build, expand on Immersion Service Learning to Ghana

February 22nd, 2018
Participants in a prior StFX Immersion Service Learning and credit course experience in Ghana

It’s a great day for StFX students. The StFX Service Learning program is excited to announce it is the successful recipient of $280,000 over four years through the most recent round of the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program. The funding will allow StFX to expand and build on its Immersion Service Learning program and existing partnership in Ghana. 

Specifically, the funding will allow StFX’s Immersion Service Learning program to annually send 10 StFX students to Ghana as QE Scholars over the next four years. Students will travel to Ghana for 12 weeks to undertake a six-credit inter-disciplinary studies course, “Contemporary Issues and Service Learning in Ghana” and to complete six weeks of individual service placements.

Students accepted into the program, offered this year May-July 2018, pay only the cost of tuition for this amazing opportunity, says Service Learning program manager Megan Turner.

StFX was the first university in Canada to develop and offer service learning as an academic-based, experiential learning program for undergraduate students.

“This is going to be a great initiative for StFX, and a great opportunity for students to experience an incredible service learning experience,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies.

“StFX students selected as QE Scholars under this initiative will be the beneficiaries of a prestigious national scholarship. The Queen Elizabeth Scholars program is strongly aligned with the StFX tradition of service in support of community-based development, so we are delighted to be joining other Canadian universities that are involved in this initiative,” he says.

Students will receive six credits towards their degree and gain enormously from the experience, which will include pre-departure and post-experience debriefs led by StFX’s Coady International Institute.

DEEP, RICH LEARNING

StFX development studies faculty member and Canada Research Chair, Sustainability and Social Change Leadership Dr. Jonathan Langdon and development consultant Coleman Agyeyomah will teach the inter-disciplinary studies course. Students will learn about Ghana’s contemporary context in relation to history, politics and the social and economic fabric, developing an understanding of global inequalities and social justice.

Students will then complete six weeks of individualized service placements, where they will enhance their knowledge in multiple disciplines in partnership with community development or social change organizations.

This experiential learning course is based on a long term partnership, which means StFX can offer students an opportunity to engage with Ghanaian development experts, as well as communities to explore the complexities of social change from their perspective on a very deep level, Dr. Langdon says.

“Even though three months is a short time frame, the wonderful connections Mr. Coleman Agyeyomah brings to leading this experience allow our students a level of access and depth that is rare,” he says.

“Students should expect to be challenged, to confront some of the differences that exist in our contemporary world, and the history of inequity that helped produce these differences. They should also expect to meet inspirational people who get up every day and take on some of these differences to ensure the lives of average Ghanaians have as much potential as possible. They should also expect that this experience leaves them asking questions about what they can do better enable global equity.”

NEXT GENERATION OF GLOBAL LEADERSHIP

StFX was successful in the most recent round of the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program, often referred to as the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program (QES), which will see $5.8 million of funding to support 650 students in 20 Canadian university-led projects.

Undergraduate and graduate students will enrich their academic, professional and cross-cultural skills while contributing to global projects led by participating Canadian universities.



Now in its fourth year, the QES program is a collaborative initiative led by the Rideau Hall Foundation, Universities Canada and the Community Foundations of Canada, made possible thanks to contributions from the Government of Canada, provincial governments, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), universities, and a wide range of private sector donors.

The impact of having an educational experience overseas is life-changing; students who have studied or worked abroad often return with a new sense of self and purpose.  Moreover, it’s becoming clear that the benefits of a global experience for Canadian students stand to impact our country’s prosperity and growth. “As Canada looks to advance economic and political relations internationally, we need our next generation of leaders and innovators to have global core competencies, including knowledge of business culture, language skills and intercultural competence,” said Paul Davidson, President of Universities Canada. 

“The QES program is proud to serve as a uniquely Canadian vehicle and platform for public and private funders as well as the university community to come together and offer students the opportunity for global learning, service and impact,” said Scott Haldane, President and CEO of the Rideau Hall Foundation.

Scholars participating in the QES program become part of a global network of leaders who continue to engage with their communities locally and around the world. “The QES program has truly created a dynamic group of young people who are changing our world and are instrumental in enhancing the work of community foundations at home and abroad,” said Andrew Chunilall, CEO of Community Foundations of Canada.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO APPLY

For StFX students interested in more information on the Immersion Service Learning experience to Ghana and for applications, please see https://sites.stfx.ca/service_learning/node/130.html

 

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