Earlier this week, the DMU Square Mile office received raw data showing the impact of the work of De Montfort University’s paired-reading mentors at New College, Leicester. It’s a spreadsheet of numbers showing reading ages in August 2014 and reading ages in June 2015 for around sixty 11-12 year-olds (year 7/8). Each child has attempted to improve his or her reading by working with a DMU undergraduate or community volunteer by meeting on a weekly basis and reading together. Move pupils have improved. It almost sounds too easy… But this requires the will of the pupil to attend and the volunteer to give up his or her spare time to attend. This is a big, yet rewarding, commitment for the student. Read some of the DMU Square Mile volunteering experiences by students Janvi Pala, Sarah Clark and Jonathan Boreland. Some of the colour-coded data on the spread sheet is black – where the child did not engage in the project, others are red, where insufficient progress was made, but thankfully this data shows that in many cases the spreadsheet glows green – indicating good progress.
There’s nothing like a couple of beers to get the conversation going. Unfortunately I mixed a couple of bottles of Berliner Kindl with research and started searching twitter for Citizen Science references. I ended up “chatting”, tweeting or whatever, to @johnagallo about Citizen Science. During the conversation I foolishly agreed to add my Opinions and Perspectives to his wiki-page for the concept of Place-based Citizen Science. So here goes. All I can do at this stage is accept the opportunity and underline that my research into this area is in its early stages. I discovered Citizen Science searching for something else. I was actually looking for studies of communities as co-creators of knowledge. Citizen Science fits that idea effectively. I was also looking at ideas where communities engaged in research are not taken for granted. (more…)
Like the recently discovered mastertapes of Bob Dylan playing live in abasement or rerecorded versions of discarded Beatles tracks that became top ten hits or John Lewis adverts here is a completely useless bit of academic writing which will probably serve no purpose other than to compare whether it actually improves in coming years. It’s called Community and Participation for no other reason than that is what it is supposed to be about. (more…)
This was my talk to the Network of Directors of Faculty Operations/College Secretaries, hosted by the University of Leicester on 19/11/2014. “In this presentation I’ll try to introduce the idea of The University role in Civic Actions and Social Responsibility which will be a combination of my learned experiences of managing DMU Square Mile and as a student researching this area for my PhD. DMU Square Mile aims to connect the university with the community to deliver Civic Actions and Social Responsibility and is a great case study of how we demonstrate the public benefit, or public good as it is more commonly referred to, of a university.
Communities across the United Kingdom have different social challenges and those working in Higher Education have the opportunity to share knowledge by working in partnership with them. According to a HEFCE report in 2010 it is one of the services universities offer society. The report notes five key areas Higher Education can deliver public benefit. (more…)