Watson, alberta rural development network

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Watson, alberta rural development network

  1. 1. Rural Development in Alberta: A New Approach and Evaluation Method Critical Junctures – Guelph November 4th, 2010 Paul Watson, Dee Ann Benard, Judy Ferguson, Leslie Ayre-Jaschke
  2. 2. Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN): Background • Stand-alone, not-for-profit that is a partnership of Alberta’s 21 public post-secondary institutions (PSIs) • Mandate – The ARDN will use the combined expertise of Alberta’s post- secondary institutions to support rural development in Alberta and help rural communities grow. • Vision – ARDN is a network of committed universities, technical institutes and colleges from across Alberta, working together in rural Alberta to support and enhance the well-being of individuals and the vibrancy of communities through learning.
  3. 3. ARDN Background • Primary Objective: to facilitate collaboration – Get PSIs to work with each other and with communities to develop research that provides tangible benefits to communities • Get universities to work with colleges and other universities • Have communities involved from project inception through project dissemination • Represents a significant commitment to Community- Engaged Scholarship (CES) in rural communities by Alberta’s PSIs
  4. 4. ARDN Background • Research Objective – Facilitate strategic research on economic, cultural, environmental and social issues affecting rural communities through collaboration among institutions and with communities and other partners
  5. 5. ARDN Background • Community Objectives – Provide a resource to rural communities • Work with communities to identify their needs & help communities partner with PSIs to address those needs – Become a proactive source for up-to-date information, knowledge and models of beneficial practices in rural development • Allow communities to learn from experiences in other locations • Access not only information but also people, expertise and ideas – Identify and address gaps in training and education in rural communities
  6. 6. ARDN PSI Members Board of Directors Executive Director Community & Member Engagement Director PSI Key Contacts Executive Assistant Accountability & Reporting Communications & Website Research Director Research Advisory Contractors Organizational Chart Committees
  7. 7. Three Key Themes • Research & Community Networking – Help develop partnerships for collaborative research, knowledge exchange, transfer, & mobilization with PSIs and communities – Work with rural communities to identify needs and facilitate research and knowledge transfer to enhance their future growth and vibrancy • Knowledge Translation, Exchange, and Mobilization – Collect, collate, translate and enhance access to information and knowledge - fairly standard types of KTE&M • Education & Training – Identify opportunities to improve rural access to education and skills training and transfer that information to the PSIs
  8. 8. Three Key Themes • All 3 relate to CES by bringing parties together, sharing learning using a common language
  9. 9. Community Networking • Predominantly job of Director of Community & Member Engagement • Seek out community-driven research needs – Partner researchers with rural communities with researchers and PSIs and ensure two-way communication • Create opportunities for community leaders to get together with each other and with researchers • Inform communities about options, opportunities and beneficial practices – Website
  10. 10. Research (Project) Networking • Develop an understanding of the rural development expertise and capacity of each institution – Partner communities with researchers when requests arise from communities • Seek out and facilitate opportunities for research collaboration with Communities • Populate website (www.ardn.ca) with rural research and information
  11. 11. Networking – Mechanisms • ARDN provides financial contributions for projects meetings, conferences, networking events TO ITS MEMBERS – New partnerships required (Community &/or PSI) – Ideally multi-institutional, broad geographic base – ARDN will assist in finding partners and does assist in developing funding sources & writing grant proposals (if capacity is limited) • Networking Events – http://www.ardn.ca/pages.php?pid=7&sid=2 • ARDN Projects – http://www.ardn.ca/pages.php?pid=7&sid=4
  12. 12. Evaluation • Novel Approach to Evaluation possibly unique to ARDN as NFP in Canada • Outcome Mapping methodology • Based on CIDA approach • Do not measure only “usual” types of deliverables • Instead measure our influence on people and organizations (our “Boundary Partners”) – Claim “contribution”, not “attribution” • E.g. Water Purification – Quality of water (standard evaluation parameter) – Do people have the skills to maintain the system (outcome mapping )
  13. 13. Evaluation Expect to see Like to see Hope to see PSI Researcher Community CBO NGO LGO
  14. 14. Researcher Outcome Challenge (ROC) • Expect to see. Applied researchers connect with rural communities and other applied researchers to develop relationships with individuals, groups and organizations in order to move research into action and to develop new research projects. • Like to see. Researchers and rural communities exchange information and knowledge and together identify topics/priorities for new research. • Hope to see. Each gains an appreciation of the extent of knowledge and information that is available from each other and finds ways to use this knowledge and information to help improve health, quality of life, and sustainability in rural communities.
  15. 15. Evaluating ROC • Expect to see. Develop and submit research proposals that include rural partners • Like to See. Researchers develop relationships with rural communities or practitioners and respond to questions or resource requests • Hope to see. Change in attitude where researchers value knowledge and contribution of communities to project development.
  16. 16. What Success Looks Like • New relationships forged among and between PSIs • Especially universities – colleges • PSIs value CES • Already true, since ARDN exists • Rural community leaders can and do make direct contact with PSI researchers about research • Rural communities understand and value the research process • Rural communities feel part of the research process • Communities are actively involved in needs assessment and direction setting of research agendas
  17. 17. QUESTIONS? • Contact information – 780-449-1006 – Paul Watson – Research@ardn.ca – Dee Ann Benard – Exec.Dir@ardn.ca – Judy Ferguson – Engage@ardn.ca www.ardn.ca

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