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Four new students named to UofGH's SERI-GC

Four new students have been named to the second cohort of student research associates of the University of Guelph-Humber’s Soka Education Research Initiative on Global Citizenship (SERI-GC), which offers students an opportunity to be part of a small research group exploring the philosophy of Soka Education and global citizenship. All four research associates of the first student cohort membership (2017-19) are graduating this June.

Family & Community Social Services student Sophie Martin, Justice Studies student Afifa Abbaszadeh and Psychology students Sarah Belyk and Heba Elgharbawy comprise the 2019-20 SERI-GC membership, along with SERI-GC director Dr. Paul Sherman, Program Head of Family & Community Social Services, and instructors Alice Balter and Olivia Boukydis.

The members of SERI-GC meet on a routine basis throughout the Fall and Winter semesters to dialogue about Soka education and global citizenship, and to develop ideas for conducting research, with potential for conference presentation and journal publication. SERI-GC members travel on a field trip in February to Soka University of America in Los Angeles to participate in their annual Soka Education Conference.

The initial research project of SERI-GC was a study of higher education teacher perspectives on experiential learning, framed within the Soka (value creating) education theory. Working within the framework of Makiguchi’s Theory of Value, the concepts of beauty, gain, and good were explored in relation to teachers’ perceived value and outcomes of experiential learning courses delivered at UofGH.

The research results were presented by the SERI-GC Research Associates at Soka University of America’s 2019 Soka Education conference, by Dr. Sherman and Alice Balter at the University of Guelph’s 2019 Perspective on Experiential Learning conference, and by Dr. Sherman at Soka University of Japan’s Global Seminar during his most recent study abroad trip to Japan. Dr. Sherman and Olivia Boukydis are also expecting to present the findings at the American Association of College & Universities conference later this year.

The upcoming second phase of the research project will explore higher education student perspectives on experiential learning framed within Soka education theory.

The SERI-GC special lecture occurs annually in November to commemorate the founding of Soka education on Nov. 18, 1930 with the publication of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi’s book The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy. The inaugural lecture, Dialogue and Soka Education, was delivered on Nov. 21, 2018 by Dr. Jason Goulah. Dr. Goulah is associate professor and director of the Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies in Education at DePaul University, Chicago.

The second special lecture will be delivered in November 2019 by Dr. Olivier Urbain, Director, Min-On Music Research Institute, Tokyo. Dr. Urbain will lecture on the confluence of music and peace.