Innovation in Case Teaching Competition 2014

Nicole HaggertyNicole Haggerty describes some of the many challenges and the sheer hard work involved in creating her highly successful Service Learning in Africa initiative.

The principal challenge in this work is time and money, naturally! I want more of both and have big visions of extending this beyond a simple course to involve more institutions, involving graduate MBA programmes, more one-on-one African faculty mentoring, an annual Africa Case Teaching Conference and many more activities that build capability and sustain momentum.

Extensive planning and organisation

Just this course has required extensive planning, coordination and travel on my part though it represents only 15% of my formal workload. Since November 2011, when I began planning for the first course in April 2012, I’ve met with about 40 individuals (at Ivey, Western University and the Africa Institute here and in various countries) who have offered advice and assistance; spent about 18 weeks on six trips to seven African countries; and travelled close to 150,000kms. All funding for the travel has come from various Ivey Research Institutes, in particular the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership and the Bill Troost Curriculum Development Fund, the Engaging Emerging Markets Center and some travel budget from the Undergraduate Program Office (in other words, no new net funding).

Overall management

I manage the Ivey student application process; hold approximately six events each year to educate interested students and prepare them for enrolment (and many more one-on-one meetings); and create all the documentation to help Ivey students prepare for the trip. I manage all email communications and documentation with partner institutions, including finding new Ivey class in Mombasapartners, organising the field work, following up on Ivey student performance, and all post-course activity including grading, editing and processing indigenous cases for publication. Each year, I adjust the pre-departure course design as we continue to learn about what works and re-design the African Business Decision Making course based on the new indigenous case material developed. I conduct about 150% more class time than is standard for a half-credit course.

Extending the project

Where possible, I’ve extended the initiative to include graduating HBA and MBA students and am exploring Ivey alumni involvement. I’ve fundraised for the African student travel bursaries to enable African undergraduate students to come to Ivey for a term and managed the application, evaluation and selection process along with managing the hosting of these students. Finally, I’ve personally volunteered and conducted ten case teaching and writing workshops involving 21 institutions in Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda in which180 African faculty participated.

As with all innovations, in the beginning I think it consumes much more time and energy than is formally accounted for, but I believe that the accomplishments and benefits that we all experience justify this level of commitment. I have faith that we are making a difference and I have hope that in the longer term, the bridges we are building will lead these young student participants to ways of collaborating with each other that I can’t even begin to imagine now.

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