In January, Durham College completed its seventh mission in Vietnam as part of a five-year partnership focused on supporting Hau Giang Community College (HGCC) to develop a technical vocational program in post-harvest production.
Sue Hawkins, student services specialist, School of Intersciplinary Studies (IS), and Jacqueline Towell, manager, Curriculum Development, Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment (CAFE), travelled to Vietnam to provide training, best practices and strategies focused on teaching HGCC faculty and staff how to plan and lead student-centered focus groups and use subsequent information to plan and design student services and activities that support recruitment and retention.
While there, Hawkins and Towell also shared a variety of resources and tools to help identify barriers to success, develop student-centered coaching and advising models, increase student leadership and engagement, organize orientation activities and deliver career development services.
Funded by the Government of Canada, the partnership is being facilitated by Agriteam Consulting Ltd, an organization that provides management and technical expertise to developing and transitional country partners on projects that promote sustainable growth and meaningful opportunities for people to improve their lives.
Over the course of the project, DC faculty and staff are working with their counterparts at HGCC to share their expertise with developing programs in the areas of food and pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food sciences.
The project is proving to be quite successful. For the 2017-2018 academic year, HGCC’s post-harvest production program saw 31 students enrol for the fall semester, and 24 students enrol for the winter semester.
The project’s next milestone will see DC host 13 HGCC delegates for a conference being held Monday, April 2 to Friday, April 13. The objectives of the visit include building HGCC faculty’s capacity to teach the new curriculum in an applied, student-centred approach; explore a variety of teaching and learning resources and assessment methods to support HGCC food and pharmaceutical science programs; develop lesson plans that demonstrate student-centred teaching; and reflect on teaching and learning skills to help plan future training activities at HGCC.