Haggerty: Achieving Global Goals at Western

JOIN THE CELEBRATION: The university community celebrates “all things international” at the annual Western International Week, Nov. 16-20. Visit internationalweek.uwo.ca/ for details.

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The world’s agenda has been set. In September, the United Nations, in concert with global and business leaders, launched a call to citizens of the world to commit to 17 new Global Goals. These goals affirm our collective commitment to ending extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change. Over the next 15 years, our collective call to action is clear.

But the scale of action is massive, and with so much need in so many areas, where can one person start?

There is no quick or easy answer to that question, but what I have learned over the course of a four-year journey is at least three key ingredients are:

  1. A good idea;
  2. A strong network of support; and
  3. A lot of hard work.

In that time, I’ve been able, with much assistance, to launch and sustain an international development effort in which the Ivey Business School community has undertaken to build capacity for case-based education in Africa with partner business schools. While the prior Millennium Development Goals emphasized support for primary education, the new Global Goal 4 affirms commitment to inclusive and equitable, quality education and promotion of lifelong learning at all levels, including youth and adults, and directed at relevant skills for employment and entrepreneurship.

For me, it all began in October 2011 when I sent an email to members of the Africa Institute seeking their advice and assistance about an ill-formed idea I had. My call was answered by doctors, engineers, educators, political scientists and other international development efforts like Western Heads East.

With their help and inspiration, I created Ivey’s first International Service Learning course, situated in Africa and focused on case-based business education. Our effort is designed in partnership with seven university business schools in Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda to advance university education in locales that face challenges due to a shortage of high-quality teaching materials and entrenched lecture-based techniques they wish to eschew.

Since 2011, we have worked with enthusiastic Ivey undergraduate students to build capacity for case-based education at our partner institutions. Ivey students offer a free introductory course, Business Decision Making with Cases, which they teach to African undergraduates in a peer-to-peer setting, which so far has involved 84 Ivey students and more than 1,400 African students earning Certificates of Completion. We have written and published (with African faculty) 15 new, indigenous African teaching cases and have 15 more to be published in a new textbook. And I’ve personally reached about 240 faculty members from about 25 institutions though delivery of case teaching and writing workshops in five countries.

More recently, our partners’ interest in case-based education has expanded beyond business departments to include medicine, nursing, public health, media and journalism studies, engineering and others. None of this would have been possible without the multi-disciplinary inspiration and support of African Institute members across campus.

As part of International Week, the Western community will celebrate our successes in an Africa Western Collaboration Day event from 4-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 in the Atrium of the International and Graduate Affairs Building.

Since my adventure began, I have learned that Western has much to celebrate. Many Global Goals are being tackled by Western faculty, staff and students. The event marks a unique opportunity for the Western community to learn about the success of these Africa Western collaborations. But perhaps, more importantly, it will also serve as a catalyst to inspire others who have an idea for tackling a Global Goal or other research and teaching ideas.

Nicole Haggerty is an associate professor at the Ivey Business School.