Taking the Plunge

Read Margo Fryer’s blog on community-university engagement, first published by University Affairs. Topics include how to build relationships between people from different work cultures and how to educate global citizens.

Deepening the Discourse

Deepening the Discourse

Community engagement is a hot topic in the post-secondary world in Canada. Many university and college presidents are highlighting the great work their institutions are already doing in the community and encouraging faculty to do more. At Congress this...
How can communities and universities make connections?

How can communities and universities make connections?

One of the comments offered in response to my first blog post suggested that universities have a long way to go before they will truly be accessible to community partners. I agree. In my work at UBC, the success of our partnerships with community organizations...
How can students help put community engagement on solid ground?

How can students help put community engagement on solid ground?

Lately I have been having in-depth conversations with former students and professionals from community organizations who have been involved with UBC’s Community Service Learning (CSL) efforts. Hearing people talk about the impact of their experiences h...
Community engagement: why bother?

Community engagement: why bother?

It can be challenging for people from academic institutions to engage with people from external communities. There are cultural distances to cross. For example, there are differences in: propensities for collaboration vs. competition; expectations around...
Some Key Challenges to Community Engagement

Some Key Challenges to Community Engagement

It is not that difficult to create relationships between people from universities and people from community organizations. Many “campus-community partnerships” get created to achieve short-term, limited objectives. For example, students do a service or ...
Partnerships or Collisions? (Part 1)

Partnerships or Collisions? (Part 1)

This post and the one to follow are linked. This post describes a fictitious scenario involving an encounter between a professor and an executive director of a non-profit agency who want to work together. The next post will offer suggestions for avoiding...
Partnerships or Collisions? (Part 2)

Partnerships or Collisions? (Part 2)

In my previous post I described a fictitious scenario involving a first encounter between a sociology professor and an executive director of a non-profit agency. The scenario illustrates the kind of cultural differences that make it difficult for people...
Lessons learned from the Downtown Eastside

Lessons learned from the Downtown Eastside

Over the holidays the annual gift-giving rituals and charitable efforts—the food bank fund-raising drives, the collection of used toys for poor kids, the Salvation Army donation kettles outside shopping malls—prompted me to reflect on altruism, service and...
The first step across the divide

The first step across the divide

On a recent walk through a forested park near my home, I paused in a grove of tall cedars. Looking around, I was impressed not only by the solidity and strength of these old trees but by the evidence of death and destruction all around them. The forest...
Reading Week spent in the “real world”

Reading Week spent in the “real world”

As Reading Week approaches, many universities are putting the final touches on their plans to send students into the “real world” to do Community Service Learning projects (sometimes called Alternative Spring Break projects). According to information gle...
Is the focus on tenure and promotion a red herring?

Is the focus on tenure and promotion a red herring?

Whenever academics gather to talk about community engagement, it is almost inevitable that someone will argue that, for this kind of activity to really take hold in higher education, it needs to be recognized in tenure and promotion decisions. This call...
Moving the agenda forward

Moving the agenda forward

My last post argued that a preoccupation with changing tenure and promotion policies is diverting attention from alternative strategies for promoting community-university engagement. The situation is analogous to that of a gardener who wants a fruit-bearing...
Why do more women than men engage in the community?

Why do more women than men engage in the community?

When I started writing this blog in September, I indicated that this question around the predominance of women in community-university engagement would be one of the topics I would consider. For weeks I have been regretting making this promise because...
Post-secondary students are needed in public schools

Post-secondary students are needed in public schools

Near the end of a regular school day in a low-income urban area, a muscular varsity athlete sits cross-legged on the floor in a corner of a grade 5 classroom. He leans intently towards a small boy reading out loud from an open book. From time to time,...
Educating global citizens through community engagement

Educating global citizens through community engagement

To bring the exploration of community-university engagement that has been the focus of this blog to a close, I want to focus the final two posts on the question of how post-secondary institutions can collaborate with communities to educate students for...
Valuing Practical Wisdom

Valuing Practical Wisdom

In this last post, I will outline how community-university engagement can be a vehicle for learning and teaching the qualities of phronesis or practical wisdom, an intellectual virtue first identified by Aristotle. I view the capacity for phronesis...

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