Mapping Community Engagement Activity in the Faculty: Background Paper


Part of the Strategic Plan of the Faculty of Education is Community Engagement (CE), the goal is to “make vital, ethical, and sustained contributions to social and economic well-being by engaging communities in research, learning, and debate about community issues of concern.” A Community Engagement Working Group has been formed and its first task is a mapping project that would provide information about the wide range of CE activities conducted by faculty staff and students. The first phase of the mapping project is to gather information from faculty about the kinds of community engagement activities with which they are currently engaged (as well as what they have done in the past).

Rather than begin with a specific definition of CE, this mapping project will help define CE for our faculty in our own terms. As many of you know, CE is part of UBC’s Place and Promise: “UBC exists for the communities it serves: local, provincial, national, and global. An integral part of those communities, the University enters into relationships where decisions about means and ends are made collaboratively, costs and benefits are shared, and learning is reciprocal.”

As a starting point, the goal of the Working Group’s initiative is to learn about and represent the diverse CE activities of faculty that are locally, nationally, internationally based, no matter the size, focus or goal. To that end, we invite faculty to tell the story of their CE activity. There are several ways to do this.

Option 1: Give us the “tweet” version of your CE activity.  Include: Name, Email, 140 character summary of CE activity and indicate if you are interested in follow up and if you are interested in showcasing your CE work?

Option 2: Represent your CE activity more fully through questionnaire or short narrative. Go to the CE website and respond to some or all of the questions in the questionnaire or write a short narrative which describes your activity in greater depth and discusses the CE issues of greatest import to you.

Option 3: Be interviewed to allow a CE researcher to explore with you the nature of your CE and your thinking about CE.

Option 4: Showcase your activity via multi-media on the CE, Faculty, University websites.

Option 5: In addition to the above we invite you to post one or more of your academic articles or community reports etc. (about the project /research or about community engaged research approaches etc.) on the CE website.

The following questions outline the key areas we are exploring:

1.     Please tell us about the CE activities you are involved with now, as well as in the past. We are interested in hearing about:

  • what community and/or organization you have worked with and how that connection came about?
  • what were some of the goals, objectives, activities, and outcomes?
  • when and where did this CE occur?
  • who benefited?
  • did you receive any support in the form of funding , staff/administrative support ( if so from where)?

2.     We are also interested to hear your views on the following:

  • how would you describe/define community engagement and community engaged scholarship? How does your work fit into this definition?
  • how would you characterize your CE activities in relation to research, teaching, service or some combination thereof?
  • what kind of academic/institutional culture supports CE initiatives
  • what kind of infrastructure and resources would further support your CE initiatives?
  • do you connect with others doing CE work and if so how and if not what would enable you to make those connections?

In addition to gathering information from faculty members we are also interested in collecting stories, reports, information about projects, case studies and posting some short videos (with permission) from the perspective of community partners.  We would appreciate your support with these contributions in the coming months as possible/appropriate.

Thank you for your participation and support with this important faculty initiative,

Some committee members you want to contact if you have questions are: Mark Edwards (, Shauna Butterwick (, and Hartej Gill (