Big Bold Beautiful Breakfast 2017 – What We Heard
Thanks to those who attended the 2017 Big Bold Beautiful Breakfast. Student Engagement and Success wanted to highlight and celebrate some of the experiential education opportunities available at the University of Manitoba. We were fortunate to have three remarkable student alumni, Taylor Morriseau [BSc(Hons)/17], Jaysa Toet [BComm(Hons)/14 and Spencer Yasui [BA(Adv)/16] illustrate how these programs and initiatives have impacted their lives, shaped their careers and strengthened their commitments to community.
We also integrated a new element at the 2017 Big Bold Beautiful Breakfast – the Café Conversation. We started these meaningful conversations to help us explore partnerships and shape the future of experiential education at the University of Manitoba. This conversation yielded some great discussion and ideas. Four broad themes emerged from these conversations:
Intercultural Competence & Skill Development
The conversation revealed a recommendation to help students develop essential skills, such as conflict resolution, leadership, teamwork, communication, empathy and self-management. In particular, we heard strong support for providing greater opportunities to develop intercultural awareness and competence, which lead to cultural sensitivity and safety when working with communities. We also heard about the importance of meaningful reflection, which allows students to better understand how the knowledge and skills they gain in the classroom can be integrated and applied in a variety of real world contexts. Awareness and development of intercultural competence and essential skills will build healthier and more resilient communities, and lead to more successful transitions into the workplace.
We heard about the need for a broader approach to career development. This includes starting career conversations and mentorship early, increasing understanding of one’s self as it relates to the world of work, providing increased opportunity for exposure to a variety of career paths and engaging employers in lifelong career development. The evolving landscape of work requires lifelong learning and ongoing career decision-making. The university should capitalize on the opportunity to help students develop career management skills they can use throughout their life.
Community Engagement and Service-Learning
Community engagement and service-learning were identified as critical components of experiential learning that allow students to develop their intercultural awareness and competence, build their capacity for ethical interaction and increase their socio-political awareness and participation. We heard about the importance of bringing students into the community for hands-on learning, being responsive to community needs and developing respectful and holistic relationships with community organizations and community members. Concrete recommendations included: working collaboratively with community partners to develop projects and define outcomes; sharing university resources and campus spaces; communicating regularly and deepening relationships throughout the year; and providing resources for student supervision, project development and capacity-building.
Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning
Another key takeaway was the recommendation to expand co-operative education and work-integrated learning to support a broader range of programs at the U of M, especially in certain faculties. We heard about the importance of establishing mutually beneficial relationships and continued engagement with the employer community to expand the current suite of opportunities. We also heard the need for increased and coordinated institutional communication and marketing so that both employers and students understand the value of co-operative and work-integrated education.
Overall we heard about the importance of collaboration and consultation with all of the partners and participants in our programs – students, faculty, community and industry – and we heard the strong need to better communicate and promote existing opportunities. It is our hope that by working together, we can develop stronger citizens, healthier communities and a skilled workforce.