Tuesday, December 18, 2007

December Update

Hello Everyone,

It has been awhile since our last post, mainly because we have had our minds wrapped around a lot of numbers last few months. After analyzing all the information we received from both the sector and student surveys, we are proud to announce that there is a large demand for this centre from both groups and it has been deemed feasible.

With the semester coming to an end there are two specific projects being undertaken. Firstly, the composition of an academic journal article is well on its way. This journal article will summarize our experiences and the approaches we took over the course of this study and the results we found. Secondly, a business plan is being developed as an initial step to help get this proposed centre idea up and running. The business plan will take into account information obtained through the questionnaires to develop a financial framework for how this centre will function. At this moment in time there is no set release date of this information, but if anyone has any questions we would be happy to help.

This study had a timeline and as we approach the end of December, our contract's will be coming to an end. We would like to thank all of those involved with the study. It was a pleasure meeting you and getting your feedback. Harriet, Nicole and myself would like to wish you all a happy holiday and look forward to seeing this centre up and running in the near future and benefiting all of your organizations and the industry in general.

Friday, October 5, 2007

October Update

Despite the lack of updates since the end of August, we've been keeping busy!

Sector Survey

All of our survey responses have been inputted and we have spent some time analyzing our data. We have also been working on a summary of our findings to include in a preliminary report that will be shared with the project coordinators. It is expected that they will be sharing this report with some select few agricultural professionals for feedback. So far, the results are looking very promising and a lot of our respondents have shown support for the centre and/or given us a lot of good suggestions!

Student Survey

In order to increase the number of respondents for our student survey, we have also been working on a PowerPoint presentation to sum up our entire research process (from May until now). This presentation will take place on October 11th from 11:30-1pm in an Agricultural Communications class at the University of Guelph. We will be including some preliminary findings from the sector interviews to help students better understand the concept of the proposed centre as well as the importance of their responses. Involvement from both the students and the sector will be necessary to establish the proposed communications centre, and it will not be deemed feasible if the sector shows enthusiasm for the concept but none of the students at the university will work at the centre! More importantly, we need more responses in order to get a representative view of the centre from students' perspective. The results will be equally disappointing if we are only getting responses from a small sample of students who are biased in any respect.

So... STUDENTS! PLEASE FILL OUT OUR SURVEY, WE WANT YOUR INPUT AND SUGGESTIONS!! E-mail us at acestudy@uoguelph.ca for a link to the online survey. It will take no more than 10-15 minutes of your time to complete! Responses are completely anonymous and confidential.

Hopefully, with our next update, we would know the feasibility of the centre and be well on our way to writing a business plan!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

As Summer Comes to an End...

The report writing begins!

We are now done most of our interviews with just a few more to go in these last two weeks of August. Thank you to anyone and everyone who has participated in a face to face interview. We have had some very helpful input from all those we have interviewed.

We have sent surveys out in the mail and have been receiving some of these surveys back. We appreciate those who have taken the time to fill the surveys out and send them back. If you have a survey that you have not yet completed or have completed and not sent back yet, please send it to us as soon as you can! We definitely want as much input into our project as possible. Thank you!

We recently had a discussion about our next steps. Once our interviews are finished and the surveys have come back in the mail we will begin analyzing the data. Some of the things we are looking to find is an overall feel of whether people would use the centre or not, what sort of demographics would be more apt to use the centre and what sort of things the centre should do. Then will come the writing of the report followed by many changes and edits. The end goal is to get the report published in an academic journal. Owen Roberts will be doing a lot of the editing and writing for the final report and working on the submission end of it.

Thanks once again to all of those who have helped us by participating in the survey!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Return from Ottawa

Well now that the long weekend is past us, we can finally get back to work. This week we have dedicated to southwestern Ontario organizations and can't wait to meet with them and get there feedback on our study.

Just to update our loyal followers on our Ottawa trip, which took place last week, everything went very smoothly and the feedback was great. As a last second decision, Nicole decided to stay back in Guelph to continue scheduling meetings, answering phone calls and completing the usually day-to-day tasks that would have accumulated if we had all gone. That left Harriet and myself to make the trek up to Ottawa, which we did on Monday afternoon. Our meetings began bright and early on Tuesday morning as we meet with the CFBMC, L'Union Cultivateurs des Franco-Ontariens, the Canadian Seed Growers Association and finally the CFIA. All meetings ran smoothly and we would like to thank all of those who participated in those meetings for their input as well as their kindness.

Wednesday saw us meet with the Canadian Pork Council, the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency, the Food Processors of Canada, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, and last but not least, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Once again we were very pleased to meet with all these organizations and appreciated their time, input and friendliness.

Finally, on Thursday morning, we woke up early, checked out of our hotel and made our way over to SeCan in Kanata. From there we started our journey home, making a planned stop in Peterborough to the Trent Centre for Community-Based Education. Here we talked with a Todd Barr about the structure and workings of the Trent Centre and saw how we could use similar methods as a template for a possible business structure for our centre. He was extremely informative and we would like to thank him for his time and hospitality.

Overall it was a great trip, with lots of positive feedback as well as constructive input. If there is anyone in the Ottawa region or more broadly put, in either the north and/or eastern Ontario that we missed or has not been contacted and would like to participate in this study, please email acecstudy@uoguelph.ca or call 519-824-4120 ext. 52667. Thanks again to all.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Interviews in Ottawa next week

Two weeks have passed and our interviews have been going very well! We have interviewed close to 50 organizations already and everyone has given us a lot of valuable feedback regarding the centre's concept. The organizations we have interviewed so far have spanned across Southern Ontario, with the majority of them being in the Guelph area. If the centre is deemed to be feasible at the end of our study, we will definitely be able to use a lot of everyone's comments to improve on our existing ideas. A very big thank you to those who have participated in our study thus far!

As the title says, we will be moving over to Ottawa next week. We have several interviews lined up in and around Ottawa already and plan to leave for Ottawa on Monday afternoon, returning on Thursday evening. We are very excited about speaking with the representatives in Ottawa-- if you are in the Ottawa area and can schedule a phone or in-person interview with us between July 31st - August 2nd, please e-mail us at acestudy@uoguelph.ca or call us at 519-824-4120, ext. 52667. Feel free to contact us for an interview or for more information even if you aren't in Ottawa or aren't available next week. Alternate arrangements can be made.

We are hoping to wrap up our interviews by the end of August and we will be working on a final report and business plan from September to December. Let us know if you are interested in getting a copy of the results of our study. If you have any other questions or concerns, you may also contact project co-ordinators Owen Roberts (owen@uoguelph.ca) or Lilian Schaer (lilian@uoguelph.ca).

We look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sector Survey Launched

Well the day has finally come. After months of "blood, sweat and tears" our surveys arrived yesterday. Nicole, Harriet and myself couldn't contain our excitement as we tore open the box to get a first glimpse at what has been in the works for a couple of months now. We were very impressed with the outcome and the great job Moffitt Print Craft Limited did.

So bright and early this morning, at 8:30am, we had our first official sector interview. The process had begun. After months of creating the feasibility questionnaire and approximately a week of contacting individuals from various organizations and scheduling interviews, we have experienced the first results from our hard work.

We are continuing to schedule and conduct interviews over the coming months and ask that if you are interested in having a questionnaire mailed to you that you email us at acestudy@uoguelph.ca or call us at (519) 824-4120 ext. 52667.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Student Survey launched!

We have some very exciting news, the student survey has officially been launched! Students within the OAC (Ontario Agricultural College) at the University of Guelph have been some of our first respondents and we appreciate their responses. We are working to get other individual colleges as well as the Central Students Association to send the survey link out. In the meantime, if you are a University of Guelph student, please email acestudy@uoguelph.ca for the link and give us your opinions on an agricultural communications education centre. Thank you in advance!