By Amy Robertson
A certificate program that was once available only to select audiences is now available to any community group that wishes to partner with SFU Continuing Studies.
The Certificate in Community Capacity Building is a customizable program that helps community members develop the skills they need to create the kinds of communities in which they want to live. It is designed to accredit and recognize the learning that occurs in community project work.
The program is available in several different formats, with a focus on any number of unique community issues. Learners choose, plan, implement, and evaluate real community projects.
Pilot programs: Literacy Lives and Stepping Stones
SFU Continuing Studies has already customized the certificate program for two distinct audiences.
The pilot offering of the certificate program, called Literacy Lives, is for adult learners in Vancouver who wish to create positive community change in the areas of HIV and community health. The program began September 12, 2011, at SFU Vancouver, and will conclude March 16, 2012.
The certificate program has also been customized for remote Aboriginal community members. Called Stepping Stones, the curriculum addresses a number of issues, including the following:
- Aboriginal health and wellness
- Creating positive programs and activities for all generations
- Sharing community traditions and culture, including land-based knowledge
The first offering of Stepping Stones, which will feature a combination of online and face-to-face learning, has been in development for three years. It will begin in 2012.
Addressing critical community needs
SFU Continuing Studies' Leadership and Community Building Programs staff first developed the certificate in 2005 to build on the community work they were already doing and recognize participants’ learning.
“There was no vehicle to recognize or accredit the rich learning that was happening,” said Shanthi Besso, who is involved in administering the program.
“We’re excited to develop new offerings of the certificate that could address needs of critical importance that communities identify,” she continued.
“We feel like we have a really promising framework that could be applied in any number of diverse contexts.”