Thursday, February 27, 2014

Our Jamaican Experience

Now that we all returned to the freezing cold of Canada, I would like to personally thank all of the faculty and students who took part in this extraordinary trip! I am honoured to have had the chance to work with all of you. We made a great team and accomplished so much together. I look forward to seeing our final report come together. It is never easy to adapt to a new country, let alone work there. I am grateful for the chance to work with all of the iLEAD Jamaica Expedition 2014 members! Our interdisciplinary group was able to work together and accomplish so much in a short period of time. We not only learned about our topics but also learned how to adapt and thrive in a foreign culture.

Calm plane ride back to Canada
On behalf of the group I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors Nipissing University School of Business, NUSU, North Bay Toyota, Raven & Republic, Mindemoya Guardian Pharmacy and all of the students, faculty, and North Bay citizens who helped support us at our fundraising events! Without all of you this trip would not have been possible.

Our gratitude also goes out to all of our local partners in Jamaica! The staff at Great Huts and the Portland Rehabilitation Management created a wonder learning environment for all of the students. A special thanks goes out to the management staff, who were so generous with their time and helped make a second home for us.


We would also like to thank our supervising faculty members Linda Piper, Natalya Brown, Manuel Litalien and our student co-coordinator John Jackson. Without your guidance and support we would not have been able to have accomplished as much as we did.

Professor Linda Piper said that "the students who worked with me on staffing issues and occupancy challenges for Great Huts eco-resort were professional and diligent in their dealings with me and with the staff and managers.  My group of nine worked in small teams on a variety of issues including recruitment and selection, performance appraisal, training and development, pricing, occupancy rates, budgeting and marketing and promotion.  They interviewed staff and managers, observed, and did background research while exploring theoretical knowledge and contrasting it with experiential learning.  Acting as consultants is very hard work - the rules constantly change and flexibility, diplomacy, and thinking fast are basic requirements.  The students and, of course, my colleagues Natalya Brown and Manuel Litalien  who worked on a separate project did a great job and made me very proud of our Nipissing iLEAD Jamaica 2014 team. "

Dr. Natalya Brown, who supervised the Portland Rehabilitation Management group, had this to say: “the students identified, reviewed and applied theories and models relating to not-for-profit governance, transparency and trust, and the use of the Internet and social media for promoting and generating donations [for PRM]. The students compared the best practices for Canadian not-for-profits and homeless shelters to the observed practices at PRM, keeping in mind that the organization is operating in a developing country. The students conducted interviews of the staff and board members of the shelter, reviewed the current fundraising efforts, website and social media offerings, conducted a risk assessment of the shelter, identified partnership, sponsorship and other fundraising opportunities, and made recommendations in all of these areas.”

While abroad, the professors were also busy conducting research for their Eco-Tourism study. The faculty members conducted several interviews during the trip at a variety of Eco-tourist attractions in Jamaica. Some of the students on this expedition were fortunate enough to be able to dip their hands into academic research by helping the faculty members with data collection.

On this trip the students and faculty members were able to accomplish a lot, but the work isn't finished yet! Over the next couple of months, all of the students will write reflective papers to outline their experiences. Everyone will also apply the finishing touches to their final reports and pass all of their suggestions on to Great Huts and Portland Rehabilitation Management. These reports will contain all of the strategic recommendations proposed by the groups while in Jamaica.  Some students have also signed up for Nipissing’s Undergraduate Research Conference as an added project. I hope to see everyone there!