Session 4. SYLFF Network Program (SNP): Global and local perspectives and challenges
January 17 (Wednesday) 10:30 am - 12:30 am
The session convenor, Peter Scheid, began by noting that SNP is one of the most important SYLFF follow-up programs (see Appendix 4-1), and observed that the network of SYLFF fellows is growing with time and becoming increasing important. The participation of SYLFF fellows is important, he highlighted, because fellows remain in the SYLFF family and have opportunities to remain active.
Peter then reminded everyone of the SNP mission: building networks and collaborative relationships at the local and world-wide levels. Local associations, comprised of currently enrolled and graduated SYLFF fellows, are eligible to receive grants of US$1,000 in the first year, up to US$2,000 in the second year, up to US$3,000 in the third year, and US$500 per annum from the fourth year onwards for maintenance. Twenty-four (24) local associations have been established and received SNP grants.
The convenor then went on to discuss the results of a survey that was conducted at his requested by the Scholarship Division (refer to Appendix 4-2). The objective of this survey was to seek information related to the formation of local associations. The survey results indicated that 62% of SYLFF fellows reside close to their SYLFF institution, and then sought answers to two questions oftentimes posed by members of the SYLFF family:
(a) Does local residence of SYLFF fellows facilitate the creation of local associations (macroscopic view)?
Conclusion: There is no immediate relation between residence of SYLFF fellows close to their home institution and the formation of a local association.
(b) What is the regional distribution of local SYLFF fellows (microscopic view)?
Conclusion: In North America and Pacific regions there is a higher tendency for SYLFF fellows to leave the region of their institution than it is in Africa and China (but does this mean that it is easier to create local associations in Africa and China?).
The convenor then introduced the three SYLFF Fellows Council members − Stuart Graham, Jeanne Lee and Sherilyn Siy − who then gave their presentations.
Stuart Graham: (see Appendix 4-3) During this session, we will describe and explain the functions and activities of the SYLFF Fellows Council (SFC). Since there are a number of newcomers present today, let me explain that the SFC was preceded by the Provisional SYLFF Fellows Council (PSFC). Comprised of nine (9) members, we were given the task of bringing together more than 9,000 SYLFF fellows.
We began by building a strategy. What were our shared goals? Our goals were to provide long-term direction; focus on process rather than product; realistic, action-oriented and easily understood; involve ongoing evaluation; and be consistent with other strategies. The PSFC was also cognizant of taking a multi-level approach to strategy implementation, which would be both local and global, to look outward as well as inward.
Prior to the 2005 regional forums, 3 holdover members were elected from among the 9 PSFC members, and then 6 new members were elected during the regional forums to serve on the SFC which has a Charter that became effective as of May 31, 2005. The PSFC also created the Joint Initiatives Program (JIP) and contributed to the development of the SYLFF Network Program (SNZP), with advice from the International Advisory Committee, to provide resources to the SYLFF network, notably graduated fellows.
Mission, vision? We adopted the vision of the fellowship more broadly. There are many challenges, much to formulate. We seem to have been in a small laboratory.
Q: (Patricia Murphy) Why not hold larger meetings of all graduated fellows, rather than of smaller groups as is with the regional forums? Funds from the various SYLFF institutions could be pooled for this purpose.
A: (Stuart Graham) Are you suggesting a larger congress with people flying in? We could certainly consider this.
Q: (Daniel Warner) In other words you have groups of SYLFF fellows, sub-groups, to attend regional forums. Shouldn't elections of SFC members take place by open election? What is the relationship between the Council and the membership-at-large?
A: (Stuart Graham) Those who attend regional forums are not necessarily representative. However, SYLFF Steering Committees have a good idea about the most active fellows. Your criticism is well taken.
Q: (Daniel Warner) This was not a criticism, it was a positive comment to call attention to the relationship between the membership and SFC. No criticism intended.
A: (Sherilyn Siy) SFC members are not elected to represent regions, institutions, etc. We serve on the SFC to contribute individually and to help build international leadership.
Peter Scheid: The next point is about the future. Why do we have 69 institutions, but only 24 local organizations? Could this be because SYLFF fellows disappear from the institutions? What about local residence of SYLFF fellows in relation to local associations? Does a large number of fellows facilitate the formation of a local association? Based on the survey referred to earlier, neither the local residence of fellows nor their total number appears to be a factor in forming a local association. SYLFF fellows should be encouraged to form local associations.
Jeanne Lee: (see Appendix 4-4) The SFC serves as a link between fellows and The Tokyo Foundation; local associations are building blocks of the SYLFF network. In June 2006, the SFC conducted a survey of local associations to find patterns. That is, what were the difficulties in forming local associations, etc. (referred to posters in Appendix 4-5 which were posted in the meeting room). Examples of local association activities, included welcoming visiting fellows, informal contacts and presenting and sharing papers. In the survey, we also inquired about SYLFF Steering Committee (SSC) support. That is, we asked what support local associations receive. According to the responses, SSCs motivate and assist in the launch of local association; many other ways were also noted. What motivated fellows to form a local association? The opportunity to work with other fellows and the possibility of "giving back". The ideal local association has a group of committed, close-knit fellows.
In December 2006, the SFC also examined the survival of small organizations: How do you keep the fire alive? What factors are involved? We learned that local associations are very vulnerable; we are in the process of developing programs to address the issues of sustainability.
Q: (Nora Macmillan) At our institution, most people do not live in Boston anymore.
Q: (Patricia Murphy) Visiting scholars come to study the same things and meet once a week. If we break-up by fields of study, fellows may not have time to attend a SYLFF-related meeting and thus engage in giving back.
Q: (Mariann Tarnoaczy) It does not depend on statistics nor the fields of study, but that there is someone dynamic and inspiring. We have such alumni and would like to cooperate with other fellows in Central Europe.
A: (Stuart Graham) One of the things that became clear from our study was that in small organizations of all kinds, the role of people who believe in it, who are willing to work for it, is important. You are selecting young leaders, those you are selecting are that kind of individual. Regarding meetings, would it be better to have geographically or discipline-based meetings? The SFC still discusses this. For the regional forums, there is an overall theme, and fellows are being asked to address the theme so in some sense there is a focus on a discipline even though it is a regionally-based meeting.
Q: (Jerry Sheehan) As people progress through their professional lives, they are drawn towards their own profession. One aspect that is most challenging is that our fellows become more and more like us; we have many demands on your time. How do you balance these? Many have several institutions looking for their time and contribution. Also as one gets older, you become more involved in community, church, local civic activities, and you find these are more important to you. Moreover, we have functional jobs and interests so that there are organizations where one needs to be involved in. So even if SYLFF is important to all of us, we all have jobs to do as well. It is a great idea to have networks, but I do not know how people are going to balance their involvement. It clearly needs to be investigated and discussed.
A: (Jeanne Lee) Columbia is like The Fletcher School. We tried to start an organization at the beginning of 2006; it was very difficult but we managed to establish an association that is headed by a graduated fellow. At Columbia there is much money and many opportunities; networking is a prime concern at the institution. My selling point for putting together an association is to find friends with a SYLFF fellowship and get people together, but at Columbia it does not work just to ask people to get together for a meeting. The association must be announced and branded properly.
Q: (David Leyton-Brown) Is the database able to identify fellows of other institutions and provide this information to local associations? Can local associations reach out to extend an invitation to such fellows?
A: (Stuart Graham) Yes, but the SYLFF fellow must take the initiative and register in the database.
Sherilyn Siy: (refer to Appendix 4-6) Let me address learning. The SFC is in the process of developing a training toolkit, NAPSA − Networking And Programs for Social Action − that will be introduced during the forthcoming regional forums for sharing with local association organizers and association members, and which will hopefully lead to regional collaboration and building of an international SYLFF network.
Who taught you the most memorable lessons of life? How do adults learn? Adults already have skills that they bring into the learning process. Adult learners are motivated, not taught. They have preferences. They learn best in a non-threatening environment.
NAPSA will contribute to the building of leadership skills (being a facilitator, seeking co-planners and co-instructors, instructional techniques and transferring knowledge). The big question is, will it work? NAPSA will incorporate SLE (structured learning experience); SLE steps include, orientation, instructions, experiencing, data gathering and analysis, synthesis, and generalizing, Our goal in implementing NAPSA is networking and programs for social action. As academics, we must understand how the world functions. We translate concepts and goals into visible outcomes on the local, regional and international levels. We will train SFC members and RF participants, and they will go back to train local SYLFF organizers and co-organizers, and the entire SYLFF body, linking into the international network.
Transferring knowledge to the local level is the first step. There are a number of specific "pillar" topics: instructional techniques, programs (SNP, JIP, FMP, SYLFF Prize), networking, setting up local associations, regional relationships, and international networking. Our challenge is to sustain network activities, in spite of challenges facing us.
Sherilyn then introduced the format of each session, and underscored the fact that NAPSA is a work-in-progress. She also asked all those present to help implement NAPSA.
A: (Caroline Yang) Wow! In my 30 years experience with the Fulbright program we never had anything like this. There are approximately a quarter million Fulbright scholars; if only they had done something like this!
A: (Phillip Yetton) In reference to geographical building blocks, why not use the Internet for people to build groups. I suggest that you start to use the Internet to let people interact. I was a bit surprised at the emphasis to act locally. I would encourage you to use the Internet to build the network.
A: (Sherilyn Siy) We shall welcome suggestions.
A: (Stuart Graham) You are right; virtual communities are developing rapidly on the net.
A: (Tim Sullivan) Most of us have been to an alumni association event because somebody else said we should attend. People get the fellowship, then the degree, then leave. In our case, almost everyone immediately leaves. The Internet might solve this problem.
A: (Sherilyn Siy) We will integrate this into NAPSA.
The convenor ended the session by thanking The Tokyo Foundation for integrating the session into the meeting program, and also expressed his appreciation for having been chosen as session convenor.