Evaluation of Training Strategy Employed During Cascadia Medical Anthropology Workshop Symposium

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Susan Erikson, Faculty of Health Sciences

Project team: Naima Osman, research assistant, Janelle Taylor, Jenna Grant, Marieke van Eijk, University of Washington-Seattle (UW) Dept of Anthropology collaborators

Timeframe: January 2019 to May 2019

Funding: $6000

Description: This evaluation project is in support of a 3-day training workshop symposium that is part of a larger multi-faceted institutional relationship initiated in 2011 between SFU and the University of Washington (the workshop symposium primaries) and other universities in the Cascadia region (e.g., University of British Columbia; University of Victoria; University of Manitoba; University of Western Washington; Seattle University; University of Oregon and others). This phase adds workshop training to our established biennial colloquium series (the Cascadia Seminar for Medical Anthropology).

The short-term goal of the workshop is graduate student training. The longer-term goal of the workshop symposium is to support and further strengthen emergent international scholarly networks inclusive of graduate students. We aim to support the training of the next generation of medical anthropologists in the Cascadia region and with European counterparts.

In this grant we invite faculty experts and their students, and explore the role of students as learning partners. Invited faculty and students attend all sessions over the three days. Mentoring is both intentional and opportunistic.

Questions addressed:

  • Did student participants learn what they need to learn at their respective stages (MSc = content breadth + methodology; Year of PhD = 1st year = content breadth + methodology; 3rd year = content depth + methodology; 5th year = tools and networking for dissertation)?
  • How did students experience cross-institutional mentoring?
  • How did students experience their own research presentations and feedback?
  • What gaps remain in graduate student training in medical anthropology?
  • What gaps remain in graduate student mentoring?

Knowledge sharing: Results of evaluation survey will be used at SFU and at the University of Washington-Seattle to assess the value of the workshop symposium for the training of graduate students in medical anthropology as well as their mentorship. We are also expecting lessons-learned essays to be written by UW-Seattle faculty.

The project enables us to explore and begin to collectively produce joint research work; publications and other knowledge products; joint-curriculum; dialogues/public events; and faculty and student exchanges; shared student mentorship, including serving on student committees.

In the near-term, we expect to produce commentaries on medical anthropology and essays on lessons learned about shared, multi-institutional training experiences.

SFU’s Vision and SFU’s Strategic Research Plan emphasizes engaged students, research, and communities. Anthropology – as a discipline – is about research with communities. Anthropologists do research by speaking local languages, living in local housing, eating local foods, and taking local transportation, conducting research for months and years at a time. Participatory research is what anthropologists do as method. The workshop symposium focuses on the deep theoretical and methodological training of students such that they will be able to conduct medical anthropology research of the world’s most challenging problems. The proposed project aligns with SFU strategies not only as a one-time project, but also because it employs a discipline – anthropology – that is fundamentally engaged with communities.