Pen & Book
Office of the
Associate Vice-President (Academic)


Current Projects

The following projects serve as examples of the educational research and development activities of ERDU.

  • The University of Guelph-Humber is an innovative educational organization that addresses the changes taking place in higher education and the skill shortages in the workplace. ERDU will focus on the continuing development and coordination of the curriculum. Theory and practice are integrated at the course level. Knowledge, skills, and values are central to each course and each program within the University of Guelph-Humber. "Transitions" on-line modules are now being developed to assist students with issues such as academic integrity, writing skills, and mathematics skills. Fred Evers serves as Curriculum Co-Director for the University of Guelph-Humber and Janet Mitchell is the Curriculum Development Coordinator.
  • A project on the Accessibility to University Education has just begun at the University of Guelph. ERDU is serving as a resource to a Presidential Task Force that is charged with conducting a review of the issues related to accessibility and preparing a set of recommendations for the University of Guelph.
  • The Making the Match research program, started in 1985, investigated the skills that university graduates need in the workplace. This research was initially conducted by James Rush and Fred Evers, both at the University of Western Ontario when the work began. Iris Berdrow joined the research team in the final stages and contributed significantly to the publication of the research results. In The Bases of Competence: Skills for Lifelong Learning and Employability (Evers, Rush and Berdrow, 1998: San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers) a skills model is presented which has now been used in a number of research and teaching applications. The Making the Match projects were funded by SSHRC, Secretary of State and other organizations (total funding was $214,000).
  • The Advanced Level Essential Skills project with Fred Evers, Janet Mitchell and Betty Power was completed earlier this year. The research team conducted four roundtables across Canada of sector councils, employers, and educators. Supplemental interviews were used to complement the round tables. Based on the qualitative data we produced a set of advanced level essential skills. The project was facilitated by the "Advanced Essential Skills Project Steering Committee" which included Gail Larose from the Canadian Alliance of Education and Training Organizations (CAETO), Paul Brennan from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, and Dale Schenk from the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education. The project was funded by Human Resources Development Canada Learning Initiatives Program (total funding was $118,000). The research findings are presented in Preparing for the Future: Identifying Advanced Essential Skills Needs in Canada: A Report of the Advanced Level Essential Skills Project Steering Committee (May 2003). We also prepared a review of literature: Preparing for the Future: Identifying Advanced Essential Skills Needs in Canada: Highlights of Current Literature (May 2003). Both of these documents are available at the CAETO Website:

Other Major Projects:

  • Career and Educational Achievement in the Student Environment (CEASE) led by Dr. Gilbert to better understand why students drop-out of university. Questionnaires were sent to all undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Guelph in the Fall, 1986 semester. Follow-up questionnaires were sent to this cohort, including those who left the University before completing their programs. Dr. Gilbert was able to break down student departures into more meaningful categories: transfers, stop-outs, and true drop-outs. The analysis confirmed the importance of institutional experience variables, particularly academic and social involvement.
  • The Making the Match Between University Graduates and Corporate Employers (MTM) project was a survey-based analysis of skill competencies of university students and graduates working in organizations in Canada. The project was led by Drs. Fred Evers and James Rush, professors at the University of Western Ontario at the outset of the research. Phase One, which was commissioned by the Corporate-Higher Education Forum, examined the adequacy of university education for corporate employment. The Phase Two study was conducted to investigate the skill development process from the early years of university to the ten-year point in individuals' careers within Canadian corporations. Dr. Iris Berdrow, Bentley College joined the research team during Phase Two. Through this research a set of 17 non-technical skills were identified as being central to the work of university graduates. A further refinement of the skill set identified four "base competencies" each consisting of four or five skills: (1) Mobilizing Innovation and Change: made up of ability to conceptualize, creativity/ innovation/ change, risk-taking, and visioning; (2) Managing People and Tasks: coordinating, decision-making, leadership/ influence, managing conflict, and planning/ organizing; (3) Communicating: interpersonal, listening, oral and written communication; and (4) Managing Self: learning, personal organization/ time management, personal strengths, and problem solving/ analytic. Evers, Rush, and Berdrow published a book in 1998 based on MTM project: The Bases of Competence: Skills for Lifelong Learning & Employability, Jossey-Bass, Inc., Publishers, San Francisco. The book contains project background and research findings, develops the base competencies, and discusses applications of competency-based education and training. Evers and Berdrow have initiated MTM - Phase Three which focuses on the relationship between employee base competencies and organizational core competencies.
  • Transition from School to Work: Professor Evers has developed and taught a course for Sociology & Anthropology students in their last year of students for the last seven years. This course is based on the Making the Match research results and the Bases of Competence Skills Model. Students complete an Action Project related to what they wish to do when they complete their studies. They also create a "Bases of Competence Skills Portfolio" to document their skill development to date. The Portfolio has proved to be a very useful tool to help students with their job search activities. In the Fall 2002 semester, a second version of this course is being offered to fourth year students from across campus. In addition to the transition focus, this course looks at leadership issues and opportunities. A student resource book - From Backpacks to Briefcases: Resource for Students Making the Transition from College to Work - under contract with Jossey-Bass, Inc. Publishers, is being written by Fred Evers and Phil Gardner (Michigan State University).



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© 2006, University of Guelph