Project based service learning is an experiential learning program within the Sprott School of Business where students work with real clients, on real problems, to make a real impact in the community.
With a focus on social enterprise and local companies, the program simultaneously many advantages. Students can strengthen their resumes while learning how to operate in a business environment and deliver consultant quality research. Businesses benefit from the program by gaining access to top students and receiving high value research free of charge.
The program fills gaps in education through meaningful experiences helping the Carleton community and beyond.
The inspiration for project-based learning stemmed from the fact that students stand to benefit from having more relevant real-world experience. The initiative is being spearheaded by Dr. Andrew Webb.
The program is currently in its 3rd round of pilot projects and is steadily growing with 9 projects this semester with a target of 13 for next semester. Projects include a wide variety of clients ranging from startup financial services, local manufacturers, non-profit organizations, and socially minded businesses.
Carleton students have provided hundreds of hours of consulting services and made significant impacts on the clients’ businesses. Not only has the program provided value for the clients but students have been able to access employment and references directly from the projects they completed.
Notable clients include Lee Valley, Old Ottawa South Community Association, Connected Canadians, and Carleton’s Birdgang.
The program aims to get students out of the classroom and working with partner organizations. Through this initiative, students work in interdisciplinary teams to solve real problems. Project based service learning is an excellent way for students to acquire practical experience, expand their networks, and enhance their management and leadership skills.
Funds raised through Future Funder will be used in 3 different ways. First, they will be used to provide improved student experienced for instance by provided greater resources to project teams such as external data sources and professional graphics services. Funds will also be used to establish continuity in the corporate office through the establishment of archiving, teaching, project management and grant writing resources. Lastly, the funds generated will be used to promote the program in form of community-based advertising aimed at sourcing high impact projects.
The number of student participants and client projects, as well as the magnitude of impact are increasing with every semester the program is running. The program is set for an official launch in fall 2020. The goal is to give every high performing student the opportunity to participate in the program and to have a formal organization supporting the project teams with their work.
With our pilot projects, we have mobilized 93 students, 40 volunteers, to provide over 11,000 hours of student consulting work in the community. In January 2020, we will be conducting 13 external consulting projects. That’s a lot of giving back to our community!