Global Information Engagement Program

The Global Information Engagement Program (GIEP) is an innovative approach to learning which partners non-profit, research, and educational organizations in an international setting with carefully selected student teams. This program seeks to operationalize the skills of professional master’s degree students at the University of Michigan to develop sustainable information management practices that have positive societal impact. Project teams from UMSI and university graduate programs spend a semester studying and creating plans for implementation of an identified information challenge that has high social impact value.

GIEP is returning in 2019 to Cape Town, South Africa. In GIEP, student teams leverage their emergent skills in content management and delivery, contextual inquiry, needs assessment, product ideation, consultation and a deep understanding of the complex relationships between people, information, and technology to address context-sensitive information challenges (management, access, design ICT-related) commonly faced by participating heritage and NGO organizations.

Hear more student stories on our Engaged Learning Blog.

 

For students

Where: Cape Town, South Africa

When: Students are selected for the program and matched to your project in February. Student teams and partner organizations will start virtually working together in March. In May, students will arrive in the host country for eight weeks of on-site work with their partner organization.

Eligibility: Graduate students from the University of Michigan are eligible to apply. Projects require a range of skill sets and knowledge; students from all programs are encouraged to participate and will have the opportunity to share novel experiences and expertise. Students selected for the program will work in multi-disciplinary groups of three to four.

The application deadline will be in late January and selected students will be required to accept the invite to participate in the program approximately two weeks later. Students submit an application via M-Compass.

Cost: There is no program fee and the School of Information covers international airfare, housing, most meals, and in-country transportation related to project success. UMSI also provides all students with a modest stipend to cover other in-country costs such as laundry, toiletries, and meals not provided by the program. If selected to participate, students will be expected to cover personal expenses such as personal travel, passport, visa, and immunization costs, if necessary.

How to Apply: Students will be required to apply via MCompass by late January. A select group of students will be invited for an interview approximately a week later and invitations to participate will be issued the following week.

Students will be required to take part in a half semester weekly 3 hour class meeting that commences the week following spring break. Students will leave for South Africa the first week of May for 8 weeks.

Contact: umsi.giep@umich.edu

For organizations

Where: Cape Town, South Africa

When: Students are selected for the program and matched to your project in February. Student teams and partner organizations will start working together virtually in March. In May, students will arrive in the host country for nine weeks’ on-site work at your organization.

Eligibility: Non-profit, governmental, and academic organizations in South Africa are invited to participate.

We seek project proposals from organizations who wish to engage in a collaborative partnership to develop and refine a project for student learning with a societal impact outcome. We seek projects in:

  • development of interactive web-based services
  • creation or organization of information repositories and archives
  • development of internal library systems
  • research and analysis on information policy topics
  • digital design projects
  • data analysis and informatics

Cost: GIEP is free for participating partners.  All students’ expenses including travel and stay in Cape Town are fully funded through school resources.

How to Apply: In order to be matched with a team of students, participating organizations must be able to provide the following:

  • A well-developed project proposal that clearly highlights an information challenge
  • A committed project leader at the organization who will work with students and provide resources and information to ensure project success
  • Remote consultation for initial project research and development from February to May
  • Workspace and project guidance for the students during their time in South Africa
  • To be submit a proposal for consideration, please contact program administrators by December 1 by emailing umsi.giep@umich.edu.

Additional Information: 

Student engagement timeline: Students are selected for the program and matched to projects in February. Student teams and partner organizations will start working together virtually in March. In May, students will arrive in the host country for eight weeks’ on-site work at the partner organization.

Teams of two to four University of Michigan graduate students will be selected through a competitive process and assigned to work on a defined project. Each group will be advised by a faculty mentor at UMSI and guided by a point person in the partner organization in India supervising the progress on the project.

Student teams bring with them highly developed skills in needs assessment, application development, product design and a deep understanding of information management.

Commitment: In order to be matched with a team of students, participating organizations must be able to provide the following:

  • A well-developed project proposal that clearly highlights an information challenge
  • A committed project leader at the organization who will work with students and provide resources and information to ensure project success
  • Remote consultation for initial project research and development from February to May
  • Workspace and project guidance for the students during their time in South Africa

Contact: Interested partner organizations can indicate interest in hosting students by emailing umsi.giep@umich.edu. These projects are technology or information management-related problems that, if solved, contribute to the better functioning of the organization itself and have broader applicability across society. Organizations are matched with a student team that has been selected based on interest, skill, and fit.

Projects

2019 Projects

District Six Museum: Creating and Curating Online Experiences to Communicate and Preserve Community History

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Two women, a man, and a woman posing together

Jessica Yelk, Valyn Dall, Vincent Qiu, and Vaness Cox

The District Six Museum works to memorialize the painful past of the forced removal of 60,000 residents of color from the area during apartheid by working with former residents and others on issues of land restitution and symbolic return. In working with the memory of District Six, the Museum aims to reflect the complex stories of this community, engage Capetonians on present-day social justice issues around apartheid spatial planning, and to ensure that the spirit of District Six endures as a vision to build a city of people, not races. The 2019 GIEP project will develop an interactive website that will curate a wider range of experiences through oral, visual, documentary, and genealogical primary source materials to tell the history of District Six through largely unknown and unpublicized personal histories of former residents.

Haven Night Shelter: Integrating, Mining, and Extracting Knowledge from Client Registration System Data to Generate Insights on Positive and Negative Client Outcomes 

GIEP_TeamPhotos_2019_03.jpg

a woman, a man, and another woman standing together and smiling.

Fantasia Williams, Matthew Pirone, and Marble Karuu

The Haven Night Shelter's mission is to assist individuals experiencing homelessness in Cape Town in reintegrating back to a home, family, and community. Over the years Haven has captured key information and metrics on its clients through various iterations of its Client Registration System (CRS). The CRS hosts heterogeneous and overlapping information from different times and at different levels of granularity. The 2019 GIEP project will assist Haven to develop its data-mining and analysis capabilities in order to derive deeper evidence-based understanding of a client’s journey to make social reintegration more economically efficient and enduring and to use it for strategic interventions and to feed this knowledge to funders, state actors, policy bodies and instruments, and the general public.

League of the Friends of the Blind (LOFOB): Recovery and Launch of Institutional Website and Creation of Two Sub-Sites to Support a Core Educational Program and an Awareness and Fundraising Campaign 

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Two men and two women posing together.

Fernando Paredes, Ian Geiman, Jelena Knezevic, and Zixi Li

View a video from LOFOB.

The League of Friends of the Blind (LOFOB) is an 85-year-old non-governmental organization that serves the needs of blind and visually impaired children, youth and adults and their families across the Western Cape province. The 2019 GIEP project will assist LOFOB in developing a functional, internally accessible institutional website on which staff can manage and curate content. In addition to evaluating, redesigning, developing and launching the new main website, the GIEP project will also assist LOFOB in creating two new subsites from scratch to support key programs. Lastly, the GIEP team will train LOFOB staff on how to adopt and maintain these sites.

Social Justice Coalition: Developing and Implementing an Information Management System to Report, Track, and Monitor Housing Evictions and Demolishments Across Cape Town 

GIEP_TeamPhotos_2019_04.jpg

Three women and a man posing together

Yujia Yang, Meixin Yuan, Erin Cardwell, and Jonathan Riley

The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) advances constitutional rights to life, dignity, equality, freedom and safety in the lives of all people, but especially those living in informal settlements in South Africa. In 2018, Cape Town has experienced an unprecedented 20,000 and counting housing evictions and demolishments, primarily on state-owned land. The 2019 GIEP project will work with key staff at the SJC to ideate, develop, and implement an information system to track and monitor evictions and demolishments. The goal of the project is to develop a well designed and implemented system to report evictions and demolishment events in real time as they occur across the city (who, how many, where, when, by whom, etc.) as well as an ongoing tracking, monitoring and updating system of the outcomes and consequences of specific evictions and demolishments and whether they met legal and procedural requirements.

St Luke’s Combined Hospices: Implementing an Electronic Records System to Enhance Patient Care and Improve Staff Communication and Coordination 

GIEP_TeamPhotos_2019_02.jpg

Four students posing together

Lucy Zhang, Henny Tasker, Madeline Somers, and Piaoyang Wang

St. Luke’s Combined Hospices provides specialized end-of-life medical and nursing (palliative) care to over 500 people per month with life-limiting illnesses. In the recent past, St Luke's has taken steps to transition from paper-based to electronic records in regards to the care of its clients across all its functional support areas. The 2019 GIEP project will customize and oversee the implementation of a new electronic patient care system that St. Luke’s will identify and purchase before the project begins. The goal of the project is to implement a well-designed and intuitive network-accessible electronic care system of forms, free text, and visuals to ensure the best care for their end of life patients.

View the 2018 GIEP Projects.

Student stories

Image of 2016 GIEP participants on the beach in South Africa

Videos

To view videos of student project presentations and stories from previous years, please visit the UMSI GIEP YouTube channel.