Co-designing A Research Partnership

30 03 2021

The USAID LASER PULSE Network just released the short story below on how we implemented a co-design process with our partners – AgUnity and Egerton University in Kenya – for our project entitled “Exploring Blockchain Technology to Improve Food Security Through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya.”

The story talks about our desire to blend the research and translation process from the beginning of our proposal development for the following three reasons: 

(1) We expected research activities to bring up new questions that would need to be addressed to produce an impactful research translation product. The research team members are able to return to the field to get answers for the research translation team to continue to refine the app.

(2) Collaboration and partnership are essential for impact. Development in general must continue to break down silos between disciplines and professions in order to meet the needs of the individuals we are trying to serve through this research. Collaboration facilitates the rapid problem solving and creativity that impact generation requires. 

(3) Working collaboratively is a lot of fun! It stimulates passions and shared interests, facilitates out of the box thinking, and learning. So far, we have been able to provide training to each other, talk about new and innovative ways to address nutrition, discuss unique avenues to scale the project and ensure sustainability, and share our own passions and interests in travel, food, and family.

Source





Book Chapter – Completing the Cycle

22 03 2021

A new co-authored book chapter – with Prof. Shyam Ranganathan – entitled “Completing the Cycle: An Inclusive Capitalism Approach Linking Sustainable Consumption and Production,” has just been published in Sustainable Consumption and Production, Volume I: Challenges and Development.

Abstract

In this chapter, we present an inclusive capitalism approach, which completes the environmental-production-income and distribution-consumption cycle by treating sustainable consumption and production as two sides of the same coin. There are two divides that our approach to inclusive capitalism bridges—one between income earned from capital ownership and from wages, and the other between the human production of goods and services and the impact these activities have on the environment. We analyse different mechanisms to bridge these divides and show that our proposal—broadening the distribution of capital ownership using future earnings of capital and directing this income towards sustainable production and consumption—presents a holistic solution to growing environmental problems and income inequality. In addition, we also achieve the politically desirable goal of participatory economic life through this mechanism.





Future of Work – Recording of IIHCC Conversation

14 03 2021

If you missed our conversation on the Future of Work last week and would like to watch a recording of the session, it can now be accessed by clicking on the image below.

https://www.provost.vt.edu/destination_areas/areas_of_focus/da_iihcc/iihcc-forum.html




Talk on the Future of Work

24 02 2021

If you are interested in the Future of Work, please consider joining Prof. Sylvester Johnson, Prof. Suqin Ge, and I, from 12-1pm (EST), on Monday, March 1, for a discussion that will explore the following questions:

  • How is the digital economy affecting present and future labor opportunities?
  • Is AI replacing more jobs than it creates?
  • Are there gender disparities in the impact of automation?
  • What is the relationship between economic growth and real wages?
  • Should universal basic income play a role?

To register for the event click here.

This talk is part of Virginia Tech’s Intelligent Infrastructure for Human-Centered Communities (IIHCC) Destination Area.





4MFlashTalks

16 02 2021

The 2021 Women and Gender in Development Virtual Conference will begin next week, during which I will announce the winners of the 4 Minute Student Flashtalks (4MFlashTalks) competition. This contest has two phases. The first included nine contestants who submitted videos that were part of a jury-judged competition. Two of the videos were selected as winners based on 10 criteria relating to (1) comprehension and context and (2) communication. I will announce these two winners at 11:50am on Feb 25 during the conference.

After concluding the first phase of the competition, the jury decided to invite all the students who submitted videos to a virtual Communicating Science Workshop at Virginia Tech. After carefully reviewing the nine videos, we realized our competition guidance had been too constraining and wanted to provide students with more freedom on how they communicated their research to a general audience. The workshop encouraged students to be personal, direct, spontaneous, responsive, and emotionally expressive. It also promoted the need to develop a story narrative that explains why their research is important to the themselves, their field of study, and the world.

Five of the students re-recorded their presentations (below) for the second phase of the competition – a People’s Choice award. Conference attendees can vote for their favorite video here. I will also announce the People’s Choice winner on Feb 25.

About the 4MFlashTalks: The 4MFlashTalks is a virtual asynchronous competition that promotes student engagement by providing opportunities to graduate students who have completed data collection for their research, to present their work through a brief 4 minute presentation. It is inspired by the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) research communication competition developed by the University of Queensland in Australia and held in academic institutions around the world. The 4MFlashTalks is an experience intended to communicate research to a non-expert audience in a simple, concise, and articulate manner. This event in the virtual WGD Conference aims to provide a space where all attendees (students, faculty, practitioners, leaders, others) from around the country and the world can learn and connect with future professionals.





Establishing Data Centre at Mzuzu University

11 01 2021

The Mzuni Library Initiative

The presentation below was recorded for the International Association of Social Sciences Information Service and Technology (IASSIST), 1st African Regional Workshop, from January 11-13, 2021. In the presentation, Felix Majawa (Mzuzu University, Malawi) and Ralph Hall (Virginia Tech, USA) discuss the findings from a stakeholder survey that was sent to faculty and staff at Mzuzu University and Virginia Tech about a proposed data centre that could be located in Mzuzu University’s new library. The abstract form a report on the survey responses is provided below.

REPORT ABSTRACT

Mzuzu University lost its Library as a result of a fire that took place on 18th December 2015. In response, the university decided to establish two processes. The first was to restore information services within six months by creating an interim Library. The second was to design a new library in collaboration with Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture and Design in the…

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Virtual Hooding of My Summer/Fall 2020 PhD Graduates

18 12 2020

Congratulations on your Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) doctorate!

Dr. Luis Felipe Camacho Carvajal: “Technology, Participatory Management Practices (PMP), and Dignity at Work: Negotiating the Use of Technology in a Plastics Packaging Firm”

Dr. Jessica Agnew: “Demand-Side Factors that Affect the Potential of Market-Based Approaches to Alleviate Micronutrient Malnutrition in Mozambique”

Dr. Raj Kumar GC: “Exploring the Potential of Multiple Use Water Services for Smallholder Farmers in the Western Middle Hills of Nepal”

Dr. Lindy Cranwell: “University Comprehensive Internationalization (CI): Faculty Meaning-Making, Motivations, and Perceptions for Engaging Globally”





Construction of the Mzuni Library and Auditorium Begins

23 11 2020

In December 2015, Mzuzu University (Mzuni) in Malawi lost their library in tragic fire. Since then, I have been working with a team of faculty, staff, and students at Virginia Tech and Mzuni to design a new library.

Last week, on November 20, this effort reached a major milestone when Agnes NyaLonje (the Minister of Education in Malawi) laid the first foundation stone of the new library and auditorium.

The construction of the facility is expected to take around two years and is scheduled for completion in November 2022. I’ll provide more updates on this project as it progresses in the coming months.





Applying Blockchain Technology to Kenya’s AIV value chain

3 11 2020

The Center for International Research, Education, and Development recently published a short story on our USAID LASER (Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research) PULSE (Partners for University Led Solutions Engine) project entitled “Exploring the Use of Blockchain Technology to Improve Food Security Through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya.”





Alexander Wood Legacy

27 10 2020

Here’s a video of my most recent conversation with Dr. Virgil Wood.

Beloved Community Initiative

In this next “in conversation” video, Dr. Virgil Wood talks about the Alexander Wood legacy, the Julius Rosenwald school he attended as a young child and the community that nurtured him, and the concept of a Deep Woods memorial park that is under development in Texas.

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