Shad Valley International

Shad Valley International

SHAD is a highly regarded initiative designed to motivate and inspire the leaders of tomorrow. Shad Valley International is a registered Canadian charity that empowers exceptional high school students – at a pivotal point in their education – to recognize their own capabilities and envision their potential. Each year, SHAD provides the opportunity for 600+ students to attend a summer program at a Canadian host university, focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). SHAD has a distinguished history, supportive alumni and a national cohort of teachers and leaders who are truly engaged with the SHAD students. The organization and the SHAD experience are not all that well known at present, despite its already formidable contributions to the country and the world. This research study is designed to address this situation.

Incidentally, I am also conducting a comparable research study on the Canadian arm of the Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV), an organization that provides international experiences for youth ages 11 to 20, with a goal of enhancing their global awareness and sense of global citizenship. The focus of both research projects is to assess the medium and long-term impact and effectiveness of these impressive organizations, principally through the assessment of the lives of their alumni.

This research study consists of surveys and interviews with SHAD alumni. The survey will be distributed to SHAD alumni to collect observations about their experience and to help determine the impact of the program on their lives. The interviews (based on a more detailed questionnaire) will be focused and will collect stories and specific recollections about time spent at SHAD, as well as a sophisticated understanding of the academic and career outcomes of SHAD alumni.

If you are a SHAD alumnus and interested in participating in this study, please read the following FAQ’s for more details:

Who is Dr. Ken Coates?

Dr. Ken Coates is the Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan’s Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. If you have any questions or desire further information about this study before or during participation, you can contact Dr. Coates at

How did you get my contact information?

SHAD provided Dr. Coates and his research team with a current SHAD alumni e-mail list. The e-mail list will only be used for distributing the survey to SHAD alumni. No names or other contact information were provided. For those who wish to participate in a follow-up interview, you will have an opportunity to provide personal contact information at the end of the survey and a member of Dr. Coates’ research team will contact you.

Why are you doing this study?

The purpose of the research is to analyze the personal and collective impact of SHAD. This work, in turn, will provide a better and richer understanding of the Shad Valley International model, providing insights that can be used to strengthen an already impressive organization. The focus will be on assessing the medium and long-term impact and effectiveness of the SHAD program, principally through the assessment of the lives of the SHAD alumni.

 What do you hope to gain by doing this study?

The purpose of the study is to gain sufficient understanding of the origins, vision, mandate and evolving structure of SHAD so as to better explain its mission and assess its impact.

How will this information be used?

The research will produce a general awareness and understanding of SHAD, and will contribute to SHAD operations in the areas of student recruiting, program development and delivery, alumni relations and engagement, fund development, as well as marketing and communications. It will also be used for a scholarly analysis of the impact of youth programs designed to provide skills, opportunities and personal growth.

What is SHAD doing with the information?

Shad Valley International will be permitted to use the research outcomes to enhance the operations within their organization. Dr. Coates and his research team will use the material in several scholarly publications.

Who is being asked to do the survey?

SHAD alumni.

Why should I do the survey?  What’s in it for me?

The purpose of the survey is to collect observations about experiences and to help determine the impact of the program on SHAD participants’ lives. The survey will provide evidence of SHAD’s value proposition and serve to crystalize this value proposition for the alumni community.  Feedback and recommendations will enhance SHAD’s brand equity and the value of being associated with the SHAD brand.

Is this anonymous?  Why is it/isn’t it?

The survey contains a questionnaire on biographical data and is not intended to be anonymous. There is an opportunity for individuals to add in personal contact information if they wish to be available for a follow-up interview. Nonetheless, your confidentiality will be respected and your responses will not be tied to your personal information for data analysis purposes.

 Who chose the survey questions?

Dr. Coates and his research team selected the survey questions. SHAD executives and alumni provided input and feedback on the survey.

 Can I do the survey in a different format? (i.e. paper vs. online)

The survey can be taken online and, where necessary, on paper.

 Where is my data being kept?

This survey is hosted by Qualtrics, a company located in the USA and subject to US laws. The data for this survey is stored in Ireland and subject to Ireland law. The privacy policy for the web survey company can be found at the following link:

What will happen to my data?

If you decide to take part in this study, you are free to withdraw your data at any time and without giving any reasons for your decision. Your right to withdraw your data from the study will apply until results have been pooled. After this, it is possible that some form of research dissemination will have already occurred and it may not be possible to withdraw your data.

When will the results of the study be known?

The preliminary results of the study will be known after the completion of the survey in Winter 2015. The results will be presented to SHAD in Spring/Summer 2015. A development of recommendations and feedback to SHAD, based on the research, will take place in Fall 2015.

 Who will see these results?

The outcomes of this research will be published in a book and several academic articles intended for the general audience. Please remember that no responses – quantitative or qualitative – will be connected to personal information in any way.  The analysis will focus on aggregate data and statistical evaluations.  Individuals who provide detailed textual comments (which are not required) will not be quoted in any publications without their written consent.

How can I get a copy of the findings?

You can request copies of the publications from Dr. Coates

How long will this take?

The publications will be available after 2016.