The PhD-Community Initiative
What is it?
The PhD-Community Initiative is a pilot program that launches in Fall 2016 as part of a new theme, Setting Ideas in Motion, introduced under the School of Graduate Studies Expanding Horizons banner. This initiative brings together PhD students from all disciplines into interdisciplinary teams of 3 to 6 members to assist local community organizations. Five organizations have identified specific issues and challenges that could benefit from a fresh, interdisciplinary, analytical approach that could help them move forward in a positive way.
This initiative provides PhD students with an interdisciplinary, experiential learning opportunity that requires the application and translation of skills and knowledge gained in graduate training to addressing a problem outside of their particular research field.
- Gain experience working as part of an interdisciplinary team
- Gain experience in developing a clear path forward from ambiguous beginnings
- Learn to apply their skills and knowledge outside of the academic arena
- Build and enhance professional skills (e.g. project management, leadership, design thinking, interpersonal and inter-professional networking)
For this pilot, five organizations have identified challenges and opportunities of relevance to them and that are multi-dimensional in terms of the factors that may need to be considered. PhD students bring advanced research training and critical and creative thinking skills from distinct disciplinary perspectives that contribute in a unique way to an interdisciplinary team approach. Working in partnership with the organization and with a team mentor, teams of students will define (or scope) the ‘project’, plan an approach, and identify the outputs to be achieved by the completion date.