Bridging academic and employability skills to educate the next generation of citizen scholars
The Future Skills Innovation Network (FUSION) is a cross-collaborative network of Canadian universities that explores innovative and inclusive experiential learning approaches to foster skill development and prepare university students for a rapidly evolving society and job market.
The project was in launched in 2019 as part of the federally-funded Future Skills Centre (FSC). In addition to Carleton, the partner institutions are: Concordia University (QC), Simon Fraser University (BC), University of Calgary (AB), University of Saskatchewan (SK), and Memorial University (NL).
With special attention to equity and inclusion, FUSION’s initiatives seek to expand skill development experience and reflections for underrepresented students, such as Indigenous, racialized people, students with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, women in STEM, LGBTQ2S + peoples, non-traditional students, and Canadians living in rural, remote and Northern communities. The project aims to achieve three main goals:
- Integrate skill development in formal and informal learning
- Develop flexible teaching and learning formats to better facilitate skills acquisition and translation to the workplace
- Increase access to and success at university for underrepresented students
The FUSION skill-development curriculum is a flexible online integrated learning experience, designed to enhance student skill development in three areas critical to 21st century success and leadership: metacognition, communication and problem-solving.
The curriculum is designed to be self-directed. Within the framework of inclusive and innovative experiential learning and work-integrated learning (WIL), the FUSION curriculum can enrich any type of experiential learning curricular or co-curricular initiative developed with university students, whether undergraduates or graduates.
At Carleton, FUSION can be partnered with the Internship-Carleton University Research Experience for Undergraduate Students (I-CUREUS), Students as Partners Program (SaPP), Co-op program, ACT to Employ, Enriched Support Program/ Indigenous Enriched Support Program (ESP/IESP), Afro-Caribbean Mentorship Program (ACMP), the Mentorship Network, Center for Student Academic Support (CSAS), Science Student Success Centre (SSSC), and the TLS Teaching Assistance Training (TA).
The FUSION curriculum refers to students’ unique context with the general term “work experience.” This active learning experience might be a co-op placement, working as a research assistant, an internship, working as a teaching assistant, or any other course-related experiential learning activity where students are learning by actively applying what they know in a setting inside or outside a traditional class.