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An Update on the First National Research-to-Action Project on Sexual Harassment in Experiential Learning

In 2022, Possibility Seeds’ Courage to Act project launched the first national research-to-action project looking at sexual harassment faced by post-secondary students in experiential learning contexts (such as internships, practicums, placements, and co-ops). It’s been a busy year connecting with students, staff, faculty, and experiential learning professionals across the country to talk about this issue and what we can do to support student safety in their working and learning environments!

 Last fall, we ran a national survey for students, recent graduates, staff, and faculty at post-secondary institutions across Canada. We wanted to hear from students about their experiences and observations of sexual harassment, their experiences reporting or seeking support regarding instances of sexual harassment, and the institutional responses to instances of sexual harassment in experiential learning. We are deeply grateful to those that participated, contributed, and helped share the survey call-out. We could not do this work without you! We are currently analysing the data from the survey. So far, what we have learned is validating what students, staff, and faculty have been telling those of us who work in this field for years. That:

  • Sexual harassment is a reality in experiential learning – and there are many forms of harassment that are regularly dismissed or overlooked.

  • There aren’t resources to address sexual harassment in experiential learning contexts.

  • Not only is sexual harassment often considered the price students pay to be in their industry, it’s also a deterrent for students who are seeking out other career paths because of the prevalence of sexual harassment.

On February 13th 2023, we launched our second national survey directed at employers and experiential learning providers. This survey will remain open till  March 27th, 2023 and will help us gain a broader understanding of the issue, and identify needs and promising practices from the unique perspective of employers/experiential learning providers. If you host, supervise, or otherwise welcome post-secondary students in your workplace, we want to hear from you! The survey is available in both French and English:

Directed by the voices and experiences of students, recent graduates, staff, faculty, and employers/experiential learning providers; we look forward to creating tangible strategies, resources, and tools to address this issue.

Stay tuned over the next few months for more updates on what we’ve learned and ways to get involved! You can learn more here, and  email britney@possibilityseeds.ca with any questions.

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Suggested Reference : Courage to Act. (2023, February). An Update on the First National Research-to-Action Project on Sexual Harassment in Experiential Learning. Courage to Act. www.couragetoact.ca/blog/elp-2.

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