Semester in Dialogue 2016 brochure

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Upcoming Course(s)

Applications for Spring 2018 are now open.

Spring 2018—Apply by October 18

Health and Wellness: Complex, Not Just Complicated

Full-time, 15 credits (DIAL 390W, 391W, 392W)

Canadians take healthcare seriously and see our universal system as a key component of our national identity.  Although perceived as universal, the connected beliefs that the system covers everyone equally and provides excellent health care are misplaced.  Commonwealth Fund rankings put Canada at 10th out of 11 countries surveyed, including Australia, New Zealand, France, Sweden and the UK.  Only our neighbor to the south has poorer performance.   

Why don’t Canadians perceptions match the reality? What implication does this have for transforming our health and wellness systems?  What can and should be done to address quality, sustainability, universality?

Healthcare uses the largest portion of our provincial tax dollars and like most large systems, transformation is fiendishly complex.  The economics of healthcare demand some form of rationing, human biology and behavior are intricate, and the organizing principles on which healthcare is based were developed in a different era.

The Spring 2018 Semester in Dialogue will explore solutions to health and social care challenges through dialogue, as well as a framework focused on complex adaptive systems. We’ll use dialogue and systems thinking as a substrate to examine the nature of health, inequalities, delivery of health care, and the boundary between health and other societal issues. The course will probe the complexities of health and wellness systems that correspond with our values and ethics while being effective and financially stable.

Specific themes that may be explored with thought leaders and through assignments and projects include:

  • Mental health and addiction
  • Aboriginal health and wellness
  • Aging, dementia and home and community care
  • Precision health and personalized medicine
  • Disability and Diversability in the community
  • Obesity and chronic disease prevention

Students will develop solutions appropriate for complex problems, and present them to appropriate stakeholders as well as publicly through a dialogue event they will develop and facilitate.

Course runs Monday through Friday 9:30-3:30

About the course instructors

Dr. Diane T. Finegood is an experienced research leader and strategic thinker with an excellent track record of heading national and provincial health research organizations.  She served as President & CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2012-2016) and inaugural scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (2000-2008).  Diane is currently a Professor in the Centre for Dialogue and Semester in Dialogue at Simon Fraser University.

As a bridge-builder and systems thinker, she has successfully facilitated the needs of disparate stakeholders to carve out common ground for effective dialogue, collaboration and outcomes.  Diane is also an internationally recognized researcher whose work and expertise range from cell biology, physiology, and mathematical modeling, to population and public health, health policy and knowledge translation.  She has received a range of awards, which reflect her impact as a leader, scientist, partner and mentor.

Mark L. Winston is Professor and Senior Fellow at SFU's Centre for Dialogue. He has had a distinguished career researching, teaching, writing and commenting on bees and agriculture, environmental issues, and science policy. More recently, he has utilized dialogue in classrooms, corporations, non-profit organizations, government, and community settings to develop leadership and communication skills, conduct strategic planning, inspire organizational change, and thoughtfully engage public audiences with controversial issues. Winston's work has appeared in numerous books, commentary columns for the Vancouver Sun, The New York Times, The Sciences, Orion magazine, and frequently on CBC radio and television and National Public Radio. His research, communication, and dialogue achievements have been recognized by many awards, including the Manning Award for Innovation, Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy, British Columbia Gold Medal in Science and Engineering, Academic of the Year, Eve Savory Award for Science Communication, Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion, a prestigious Killam Fellowship from the Canada Council, election as a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada, and the 2015 Governor-General's Literary Award for Nonfiction, for his book Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive. Dr. Winston is a Professor of Biological Sciences and was the Founding Director of the Semester in Dialogue (2002–2014) and the Centre for Dialogue (2006–2014).

Robert A. Daum is Fellow and Lead in Diversity and Innovation at SFU’s Centre for Dialogue. He is a senior consultant for universities and government on institutional strategic change, public engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion, innovation in teaching and curriculum, leadership development, and conflict management. A researcher-practitioner in complexities of ideas, institutions, and cultures, he regularly moderates public programs on social issues. Dr. Daum is a Collaborator-Facilitator in, an applied research project funded by BCIT’s first-ever SSHRC award, which supports BCIT’s faculty and staff in effectively engaging with increasingly diverse students through an Indigenous framework, beginning with the School of Public Health and the School of Business. He is Chair of The Laurier Institution and a founding Director of Reconciliation Canada. Dr. Daum is a member of the UBC Strategic Plan Steering Committee and the editorial board of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation’s refereed journal, Directions. He co-convened the Intercultural and Civic Engagement Strategy Group for the Vancouver Immigration Partnership. A Collaborator on two UBC-led, SSHRC-funded humanities research projects, Dr. Daum co-leads an international, interdisciplinary research consortium. His work has appeared in leading academic journals, and he has presented his research at international conferences in Canada, China, France, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

Fall 2017—Applications for this semester are now closed.

SFU Semester at CityStudio

Full-time, 15 credits (DIAL 390W, 391W, 392W)

Semester at CityStudio brings together bright, innovative students from diverse backgrounds, disciplines and universities to collaborate with The City of Vancouver on demonstration projects. CityStudio is an immersive, team learning environment combining interdisciplinary skills with the complexity of collaborating within a group setting. The course combines dialogue and design elements, and requires students to engage with communities, research existing urban interventions and design projects to improve the world around them. Students will co-create projects based on needs of City of Vancouver and the community and are encouraged to bring an open mind about project scope to the program. 

By focusing on current issues that matter in Vancouver, students have an opportunity to develop innovative solutions that assist The City of Vancouver in reaching its goals. Students cultivate the skills necessary to conduct student led dialogues, public presentations, and to engage in multi-stakeholder processes with policy makers and City of Vancouver staff. The course offers field experiences, on-the-ground training, leadership development, group process, and urban sustainability project management skills.

Course runs Monday thru Friday, 9:30-3:30.
Students register through SFU. Course open to students from all participating universities.

Instructors:  Janet Moore, Lisa Novak, Adrian Sinclair

Lisa Novak is an multidisciplinary designer and educator based in Vancouver, Canada. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts from Leeds Metropolitan University, England, and a Master of Design from Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Novak's practice and research heavily focuses on pedagogy, youth engagement, social practice, creative dissent and artistic activism. Formerly of design studio LCND in London, England, she currently teaches at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, where she hosted the Winter School of Disobedience alongside political philosopher Cissie Fu in February 2017.

She is the founder of the School of Collaboration and Invention—a youth-led program focusing on artistic activism, design and social impact—and the Library of Resistance—a multifaceted research project investigating the roles and responsibilities of art and design in social and political movements.

She has previously received the BC Youth Engagement Grant for her project Exchange, which she facilitated and developed in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver in July 2015.

Adrian Sinclair is the Co-Founder of the event-design company: Transformation Projects. His specialty: finding ways to get audacious ideas off the ground that encourage folks to connect in public spaces. Adrian is a co-founder of the Vancouver Mural Festival, the BC Mobile Sauna Society, and the Freestyle Focus Group. During his tenure at Transformation Projects, he has had the chance to co-develop what he calls a “stakeholder-first approach” in order to design events with clients like the Museum of Vancouver, Simon Fraser University, the Dragon Boat Festival, Hootsuite Media, BC Civil Liberties Union, The City of Vancouver and Bass Coast Festival. He teaches Gong Fu Cha (Chinese Tea Ceremony) classes at Sun Yat Sen Chinese Traditional Garden, and has led a weekly Freestyle Rap Drop-in for 7 years. Adrian completed his MA in Philosophy at The University of Western.