Nov. 6, 2020

Community Conversations event helps fuel national engagement framework

Canadian pilot of Carnegie Community Engagement Classification continues at UCalgary

Given the unstable environment created by COVID-19, how post-secondary institutions engage with their communities is critical. However, a national community engagement framework for post-secondary institutions currently doesn't exist in Canada. 

Recognizing this gap, a Canadian cohort is piloting the United States’ framework, The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement, to explore the classification and how it might support community engagement in Canada. In 2019, UCalgary was selected as one of 16 institutions in Canada to participate in this pilot. A cross-campus advisory group including key community partners formed in September 2019 to help guide the process.  

  • Photo above: Reg Crowshoe, seated right, participates in a drumming circle at the January meeting of the Canadian pilot cohort. Photo courtesy Susan Mide Kiss

“The Canadian cohort is testing the current Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement with the end goal of co-creating a Canadian framework, reflecting the unique social and cultural elements of our country,” says UCalgary’s Susan Mide Kiss, senior director, strategic initiatives in Community Engagement.

“While the first phase of the pilot was extended due to COVID-19, it’s almost complete. With the support of our advisory group and community partners, we plan to submit a ‘mock’ application to the Carnegie Foundation in December 2020. The feedback we receive will be critical to design a Canadian framework with our national partners and diverse communities.” 

The Canadian cohort anticipates feedback from the Carnegie Foundation in early 2021. Once this is received, they will start building a Canadian framework that will include engagement with community partners. The framework is expected to launch by 2022.  

“We aim to design a national framework that prioritizes reciprocity, reconciliation, social justice, equity, diversity, accountability and collaboration,” says Mide Kiss. “We are committed to creating a shared and ethical space for dialogue and growth.” 

Community conversations will inform national framework 

To help inform the co-creation of a Canadian framework, UCalgary is hosting Community Conversations on Nov. 12 and 13. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss challenging community issues and explore ways to strengthen relationships in uncertain times. 

The event will recognize Métis Week, and includes Métis scholar Dr. Brenda Macdougall, director, Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies at the University of Ottawa, who will discuss how the Métis operationalized the principle of Wahkootowin, ‘a worldview linking land, family and identity in one interconnected web of being’ to enhance relationships, intercultural capacity and engagement with our communities. Piikani Elder and UCalgary’s Traditional Knowledge Keeper in residence, Dr. Reg Crowshoe, will also provide a blessing and ceremonial smudge at the event.

Community Conversations is a joint initiative hosted in collaboration with UCalgary teams: Carnegie Pilot - Advisory GroupKnowledge EngagementExperiential Learning and Indigenous Engagement, with support from other teams on campus and in the community. The teams are united by a commitment to community engagement and making a difference in our local, regional, national and global communities. Register now.