Royal Roads University’s applied research mirrors its interdisciplinary curriculum and is based on being solution-oriented and real-world focused. The research featured here aims to inspire and celebrate the relevant work students perform in their programs and in their fields. The following students have been nominated as examples of research in action and student research excellence.
Gary W. Hayes
Title: International Development: Collaboration & Partnerships to improve Quality Education in Remote Nepal
Open access technology and educational software has the potential to help close education and disparity gaps for developing nations. Under the supervision of Dr. Wendy Rowe, Gary W. Hayes investigated the process by which stakeholders (from public, to private, to social and NGOs) come together to introduce educational technology. In this case, he studied the introduction of the software at two remote villages in the Himalayan country of Nepal.
Working with a multinational non-profit, a local social benefit organization, a trekking company, and schools in the communities of Chalish Goan and Khading, Gary spent three months studying on site in Nepal. He focused on understanding the importance of local culture, capacity building, developing local ownership, and facilitating iterative cycles designed to adapt emergent learning into project management strategies. His goal was to help improve the likelihood of sustainable access to the software.
Gary’s work has assisted a Canadian non-profit organization in developing a life cycle plan that is receptive to local needs and mindful of responsible “voluntourism” practices. He contributed his findings to the MA in Global Leadership program’s Building Strategic Partnership in and Collaborations in Global context presentation to RRU’s Ecuadorian Military partners in Quito, Ecuador. Alongside RRU’s Dr. Wendy Rowe, and Wanda Krause, Gary also presented his finding during a panel discussion at the IDEAS conference, which focused on Evaluation for the Sustainable Development Goals, and took place in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2017.
Dianne Whiten MacDonald
Title: Facilitating the Development of International Student Engagement and Integration Plan
This capstone paper was an action research initiative which was conducted with international students at Mount Royal University (MRU) in Calgary, Alberta. The objective of this project was to develop an International student engagement and integration plan. Dianne MacDonald divided the project into seven sections: an executive summary, focus and framing, literature review, project implementation, finding, discussion, future programming and recommendations, and a conclusion.
Diane wanted to draw findings from the perspective of international students themselves. She used this paper to help her identify both the internal and external barriers that impede engagement and integration for international students studying at MRU. She took a look at issues confronting international students in acculturating to their new learning and cultural environments, and she considered what it takes to overcome academic and culture shock, as well as exposure to different teaching and learning styles, mismatched academic expectations, and socio-cultural pressures. By focusing on three themes (academic, social and cultural) she demonstrated the value of developing a culturally inclusive learning environment, and the importance of ensuring that student support services were able to meet the specific needs of individual international students and to facilitate their integration as global learners.
Dianne took the results of this research back to Mount Royal University where, as Director of International Education, she can help implement a framework for international student success in the International Student Engagement Centre within the Office of International Education.