worlds, changing lives
Goddard is Director of the Go Global program at Curtin University
in Western Australia. Go Global is a service initiative supporting community based
health care providers in India, China, Ukraine and South Africa. Curtin staff
and students work in partnership with host sites building capacity for local staff
and enhancing the global citizenry of allied health students. Trevor received
a 2006 Australian National Carrick Institute citation for outstanding contributions
to student learning...'For enabling an international multi disciplinary health
and development learning experience that enhances personal, professional and clinical
skills and cultural awareness of health science students'. He believes through
programs such as Go Global, universities can connect with international communities
and stimulate the citizenship capacity of graduates.
The Go Global program at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia enables inter professional student health care teams to deliver services across host sites at;
Shanghai BoAi Children's Rehabilitation Centre
in Shanghai, China
The vision of Go Global is to " provide quality international opportunities for students to contribute to humanitarian based health services that can be sustained by those who follow". Across nine placements in 2009 staff and students from physiotherapy, speech pathology, occupational therapy and pharmacy will work at partner sites delivering clinical services and completing project work that continues the work of previous groups addressing priorities identified by the partner organizations. The program is a passionate initiative in global citizenship by the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work at Curtin. I wanted to design a program that moved final year students beyond the charitable facets of international development work and expose them to the social partnerships model as a means to contribute to community development by building capacity. The curriculum also challenges students to learn by moving outside their comfort zone and take their first steps as independent allied health professionals. A comprehensive language and cultural orientation and formal debriefing and handover process supports students throughout the placement and an integral component of this is students taking on the role of practitioner by delivering a handover to the next team to work at the host site.
My Masters in International studies focused on inter sector partnerships and corporate citizenship and led to a personal and professional challenge to revamp the way programs provided opportunities for students to learn through international experience. So since 2001, the Go Global team has coordinated multi-sector partnerships to provide international and inter professional student fieldwork opportunities to change worlds and change lives. Go Global has enabled more than 220 Curtin University of Technology students to deliver in excess of 36 000 hours of health related service to adults and children in partner organizations in India, South Africa, China and Ukraine. Growth in this opportunity and the cultivation of local, national and international partnerships has created a paradigm shift in the approach to clinical education within the Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin that focuses on the critical thinking and reflective practice skills that are enhanced by placing students in this learning environment. Go Global is driven by the Curtin triple I model (http://c2010.curtin.edu.au/) that identifies three aspects of curriculum; Industry, International and Interdisciplinary.
Intercultural and international
When I started at Curtin University, the Go Global program (previously called Occupational Therapy Abroad) was run on a rather ad hoc basis. Students directed where groups travelled so the site changed annually; with limited potential for follow up or relationship pursued. This seemed a fairly student centric approach that did not sit well with me personally, nor did it seem to reflect the professional roots of my Occupational Therapy background which are steeped in service and social justice. I made a personal commitment to develop the program into an experience where the whole was greater than the sum of the parts and could be sustained beyond any one individual staff member by making it a series of organizational relationships that benefited from personal relationships but did not rely on them solely. So Occupational Therapy Abroad grew into the Go Global program and I am passionate about two particular aspects of what we do; (i) the sustainability of what we deliver and (ii) the inspiring students that take up the challenge and develop their leadership potential.
is an overused and often aspirational phrase, but we have adopted this as a philosophy
that drives every decision making process. I truly believe that the partnerships
we have today would not afford such wonderfully rich learning opportunities for
our students if we had not stuck by our partners through thick and thin (we have
survived economic crises, SARS, the events of September 11th and political instability
across our host countries) and the support has been mutual. We do this by delivering
benefits to Curtin students and the wider community through a strict adherence
to the Curtin values of;
These Curtin values (http://about.curtin.edu.au/who/vision.cfm) guide Go Global interactions with our community partners, locally, nationally and internationally and when articulated clearly enable students and staff to be effective ambassadors for our professions, the University and Australia. If we can not uphold these values in a relationship then we will not pursue the relationship.
I believe clinical education placements should expose students to complex population issues, human service and leadership experiences and the many global competing issues of social justice. Service learning can inject these issues into curricula development and supports the OECD statement on internationalizing a curricula; educating students as responsible global citizens. Creating leadership, Boyer says "not only promotes the scholarship of discovering knowledge, but also celebrates the scholarship of integrating knowledge, of communicating knowledge, and of applying knowledge through professional service" (1). This is evident in our pursuit of opportunities that enable students to work towards Curtin graduate attributes. The personal and professional gains from this fieldwork placement are designed around the attributes listed below (http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/teaching_learning/attributes.cfm). Go Global has also provided opportunities for Curtin Film and Television students to travel with Go Global and also worked alongside Occupational Therapist from Brunel University in London. The program has also been the topic for public relations students to offer a 'real' promotional experience. I would like to make this an opportunity for all students so that the university and its students become a microcosmic representation of the broader community.
Curtin graduates demonstrate evidence, as appropriate to their disciplines that they can:
Keeping our work on the University agenda is my biggest challenge but also delivers the greatest opportunities. We recently featured on a Shanghai Oriental Television documentary screened over 100 million Chinese, which was wonderful exposure not only for the University but for our host partner in China. Community based work requires a long term investment where the return is not always measured financially. The biggest challenge we face is continuing to ensure that the functions of service and leadership find their way onto the University agenda and that we can support them through sound teaching pedagogy and a rigorous research and evaluation program that continues to develop. We respond to this challenge by continuing to move the program outside our comfort zone as well and 'promote' what we do. Go Global was featured in the Curtin University Performance Portfolio for the AUQA (Australian Universities Quality Assurance) Audit Cycle as a 'case study in innovation' highlighting the international partnerships that underpin the program's success and graduates have been profiled on an Australian government portal to promote international student mobility.
I see universities as incubators for ideas that create action leading to community development. This is why we have created the opportunities for students to take a risk in their learning through supported service learning, so they come out stronger on the other side. The university sector is not an end in itself, as the rationalist model appears to view it, but a means to achieving aspirational ends. I believe we must create programs that allow students to develop a sense of commitment and civic duty that then causes them to devote themselves to addressing critical and complex social issues. The Go Global team is highly motivated because our program has a history of personal passion and commitment from our country coordinators, fieldwork supervisors and steering committee. While the program is now embedded into the strategic plan of the Faculty and University and held up as an example of internationalization and inter professional education it has not always been this way. The program required small but significant wins along the way including bringing our China and India host partner Directors to Perth, a presentation to our host partner by the Australian Consul General to Shanghai and countless speaking engagements from our staff to spread the passion for what we do. We now how students enquiring about our program on University open days and these students become our best marketing tool.
What keeps me motivated is the positive change bought about in our
two biggest stakeholders; program participants and the clients at our host sites.
Program participants (students and graduates) continue to respond to this opportunity
with vigor. The formation of a Go Global student society and a Go Global Alumni
are testament to this and the passion for our work that is supported by these
groups is endless. It is a joy, both personally and professionally to see the
change in the clients we work with, not only because of the international friendships
that grow but to realize that we have bought about permanent and enduring change
that will benefit individuals, communities and the capacity of service providers
to continue delivering.
My gut instinct is that somewhere in university development, service and leadership have been overshadowed by the pragmatic and reductionist approach to teaching and research. I feel, perhaps ironically, these should co-exist. This culture of inward directed self interest has little regard for the broader community. So in light of Morin's lessons for the education sector it appears that service learning, when conducted in an international context is a holistic tool with which we might increase the citizenship capacity of graduates and perhaps even the institutions themselves. Wittman and Velde (2) ask;
" how can we, as educators, within the short amount of time occupational therapy students spend in the classroom successfully facilitate the promotion of critical thinking skills that will prepare our students to practice effectively in a multicultural, global world?"
I see us doing this by encouraging students to reflect and contribute as members of civil society; centering professional practice in the context of global citizenship. The Go Global program allows students in their final year to work cross-culturally, preparing them for the leadership the community hopes they will one day assume in addressing local and international problems.
In fact Curtin expects this; explicitly naming as two of its graduate attributes (i) international awareness, and (ii) cross cultural awareness. This cultural competence developed is a process that can not be bypassed. We decided that it does not happen as the result of attending seminars, nor that students could be transformed overnight, it is a product of experience that can only be obtained by students travelling in country, and sharing life with others as a means of understanding what it is to be a citizen.
Global international service learning is graduate focused rather than student
focused. Students undertaking service learning travel internationally and apply
their professional clinical skills; energy, imagination and knowledge for the
benefit of others, becoming ambassadors for their profession, faculty and country.
This commences their journey towards global citizenry. Unless universities undertake
international service, they will continue to loose connection with the very society
which provides them with a license to operate.
My future vision for Go Global is to unlock the resources of the university sector for betterment of the community and to bring the community into the classroom by addressing complex social problems through work integrated learning experiences. I believe students only learn when they take the community on a learning journey with them. After all what use is the knowledge of health care if it can not be applied or given to a community?
My 'dream' for Go Global is centered around that famous dreamer Martin Luther King Jnr who wrote "philanthropy is commendable but must not cause the philanthropist to over look the circumstances of economic injustice that made philanthropy necessary in the first place" (Strength to Love, 1963). Go Global is challenging the university and community to develop new responses to the challenges faced by the clients we work with in India, China, South Africa and Ukraine, not simply through arms length financial support but by uncovering the cause for social injustice and redressing it. It is not professionally responsible for us to continue to treat or deal with the result of injustice, health care must treat the societal cause of these injustices.
Go Global community campus partnerships are reflected in our understanding of ethics for the human genre, in an environment that enables students to see "through awareness that a human being is at one and the same time an individual, a member of a society, a member of a species joint development of individual autonomy, community participation, and awareness of belonging to the human species" (Morin, 1999;3). Nothing embodies this principle more than the Go Global entrepreneurship project scholarships managed by our Go Global unit coordinator. Students apply for the project scholarship in an interdisciplinary team and present a proposal to meet objectives set by the host partner. This application of work integrated learning into the service component strengthens the partnership outcomes as the power is given to the community partners to drive the student learning process alongside the university. Health is not simply an end point, it is an important means. Health allows us to be economically and socially active in our communities, communities of which universities must be a part. Colin Bundy (Warden of Green College, Oxford), then Vice Chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, advocated the importance of 'service' in higher education and so exquisitely stated;
"No university is an ivory tower -even if it wishes to be.
Universities are deeply implicated in the modern state and are key agents of modern
society. This means that they should be conscious of, and make choices about,
the terms of that involvement. Higher education must be critically engaged in
the needs of communities, nation and the world" (3)
Imagine if every university faculty / department / professional course partnered with a community around the globe, be it near or far; imagine the immediate increased connection of humanity and shared understanding? This would very quickly assist us to strip back the very social and cultural characteristics that are the root of so many of our global problems.
As globalization draws communities together, curricula experiences
should foster global citizenry through increased awareness of global initiatives
such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: this requires 'action
across sectors at multiple levels; individual, community, national and global'.
So Go Global has fostered strong, sustainable service learning relationships with
international collaborative partners in health services that respond to the challenge
of Professor Rachel Thibeault's 2006 World Occupational Therapy Congress keynote
address that "
students in the current education system can go through
their whole university training without ever being exposed to the global issues
that will shape their future. We train today tomorrow's decision makers with yesterday's
obsolete paradigms". Funding and infrastructure must bring universities into
the community allowing students to work alongside communities. There is no substitute
to do this but to be in, live in, work in and play in the community, to try and
at least begin to understand the populations we work with. I believe this is what
Morin may have been referring to when claiming "understanding is both a means
and an end of human communication. Teaching mutual understanding among human beings,
whether near or far, is henceforth a vital necessity to carry human relations
past the barbarian stage of misunderstanding" (4).
I joined Go Global to CCPH based on the criteria of common mission and values that it uses to evaluate other partnerships which revealed a joint connection in the value of partnerships that rebalance power in communities to address health related issues.
I value the social model that we take in viewing disability. In contrast to the medical view of disability the social model sees disability as a socially created problem, and basically as a matter of the full integration of individuals into society. Disability is not an attribute of an individual, but rather a complex collection of conditions, many of which are created by the social environment. So our management of disability requires increased social action, and Go Global work on a collective responsibility model for society in encouraging environmental modifications necessary for the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of social life. The issue for me is therefore an attitudinal or ideological one requiring social change, which at a political level must by necessity become a question of human rights.
The value in joining CCPH is infinite and only limited
by our creativity (not our geography). I am currently impressed with the resources
devoted to advocating for tenured positions and the support provided by academic
staff to promote the value of service learning within universities. I would describe
CCPH as an organization that practices what it preaches. It is a space that allows
for communities of faculty, health care providers, individuals, representatives,
lobbyists, corporations, non government organizations to come together and share
what works and what doesn't work. The space allows for the development of rigorous
teaching pedagogy, sound exchange of practice ideas and discussion of service
and partnership principles.
I bring with the Go Global team our individual and collective experiences and evidence of the long term value of creative relationships. What we offer is an honest and reflective account of our experiences for all to share in and hope that we can both be teachers and learners with other CCPH members. Our strength is the ability to realize that we continue to grow and change and that we have made mistakes from which we have learnt. Each year throws unexpected challenges at us, but we continue to respond. We now have a large databank of experience both in years and personnel that we can call on to develop a response to any situation. We are willing to share and look forward to collaboration with many northern hemisphere colleagues.
I continue to be inspired by the commitment of CCPH in supporting Community Campus Partnerships. Being politically aware and active is an important skill in community based rehabilitation and development. Allied health services should be more than the provision of hands on services; it is living with, working with and understanding a communities approach to health and well being. This necessitates a model beyond charity, where we do not act out of sympathy but out of a mutual concern for the development of common humanity. For me this is summed up succinctly and with purpose by Woodard;
is good, but supporting and creating social change are about power.
This reflects the passion and commitment
of our staff and students who serve and perform in each role, from advocate to
hands on health practitioner. This is not a compulsory curriculum program (perhaps
it should be?) but for those who chose to take its path, they report a life changing
experience both personally and professionally. We have graduates selected on AusAID
(Australian Government Aid arm) projects to Brazil, as an Australian Youth Ambassador
for Development to Fiji (writing the special education curriculum for the Fijian
government) and therapists returning as volunteers to the host site they attended
as undergraduates. In ten years I hope CCPH has continued to enhance its advocacy
position by promoting international service learning as a means to bring universities
into the worlds of the communities they are a part of.
(1) Boyer, E. L. (1994). Creating the new American college. Chronicle of Higher
Education, March 9, A48.
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