Mount Allison receives national funding to establish accessible field schools around the world
Mount Allison University is developing a triad of new accessible international field school opportunities with partner universities in the Netherlands (Dr. Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Psychology), Ecuador (Dr. Andrea Morash, Biology), and South Korea (Dr. Susie Andrews, Religious Studies). These field schools are funded by a $500,000 grant through a $95-million national mobility program called the Global Skills Opportunity Program, recently announced by Employment and Social Development Canada.
Global Skills Opportunity is a national outbound student mobility program that is funding 124 projects at 56 universities and 54 colleges across the country. The funded projects are being run in collaboration with international partners in more than 100 countries over the next three and half years. The Program is expected to enable more than 16,000 Canadian college and undergraduate-level university students from across the country to acquire the global skills employers want and the Canadian economy needs.
Applying the principles and practices of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at every stage of design and implementation, the Mount Allison programs will eliminate many barriers preventing students with documented disabilities and those who identify as low-income from participating in impactful outward mobility experiences.
“These new field schools are an incredible opportunity for our students to gain a valuable global experience during their degree,” says Vice-President, International and Student Affairs Anne Comfort. “The focus on creating accessible, universally-designed experiences makes these global opportunities possible for even more Mount Allison students. We are thrilled to receive this funding as part of the Global Skills Opportunity program, enabling us to create these field school experiences for both our students and our faculty.”
Dr. Lisa Dawn Hamilton’s field school will launch first in the Netherlands in Spring 2022. It is a collaboration with Utrecht University and will focus on sex education from a cross-cultural lens.
“The Netherlands is known for their high-quality sex education, progressive views about sexuality, and high rates of safer sex practices,” says Hamilton. “Students will get to learn from experts in sex education and sex research, talk to Dutch students about their experiences, and go to sex-related museums and exhibitions. Students will also read the sex education research and create their own sex education modules.”
Designing for equity, Mount Allison is working to significantly grow opportunities for all students to hone global skills and competencies through participation in culturally-rich study abroad experiences.
“Experiencing different cultures helps students expand their world view and increases understanding of diversity,” says Hamilton. “I am excited to be part of a program that is increasing accessibility of international travel and learning opportunities for students from groups that traditionally have less access to resources.”
The field school project is made possible through the interdepartmental collaboration between the International Centre, the Meighen Centre, and the faculty members, along with partner universities and organizations abroad. The University plans to offer two faculty-led programs per year with full funding for students to participate in Spring 2022, Spring 2023, and Spring 2024.
“It’s a dynamic project that we are working on together to decolonize the study abroad experience and really make these programs accessible for our students,” says International Affairs Co-ordinator Robin Walker.
More information about the Global Skills Opportunity program and the funded projects is available at www.GlobalSkillsOpportunity.ca.
Mount Allison students can learn more about the field school opportunities and how to apply.
Photo caption: (L-R): VP International & Student Affairs Anne Comfort, Dr. Andrea Morash (Biology), Dr. Lisa Dawn Hamilton (Psychology), Dr. Susie Andrews (Religious Studies), and International Affairs Co-ordinator Robin Walker.