The Potential of Sharing: University-Community Partnerships Proving Successful

This article was first published by The Western Star, Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador on June 14, 2013. Corner Brook was hosting the Community University Expo 2013. RIR is pleased that The Western Star chose to feature Krista Jensen (RIR-York) speaking about the RIR collaboration that involves Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (RIR-MUN).

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By Adam Harnum

Special to The Starphoto_2364638_resize_article

CORNER BROOK — The sound of voices echoed the halls of Grenfell Campus’ new Arts and Science extension Thursday afternoon, as people from the community and universities across the country gathered to share their community-university partnerships and engagement initiatives with anyone interested in listening. Krista Jensen, a knowledge mobilization officer at York University in Toronto was present at the Engagement Fair, an event scheduled as part of the CU Expo 2013, and was willing to shed light into their partnership with Memorial called Research Impact.

“Research Impact is a network of 10 universities across Canada that each have their own knowledge mobilization unit,” she explained.

Jensen added that the Harris Centre at MUN has been their partner for a number of years.

“So each unit works to connect research and researchers with external groups such as committee members, government, private industry, basically anything that is policy ot practice relevant,” said Jensen.

She said it works both ways, in the sense that either a faculty member can come looking for new partners they might be interested in pairing with, or the community member who is looking for research expertise can come to them for help with
a project.

“We don’t actually do the research ourselves, but we can match them up,” said Jensen of those seeking research assistance.

Carol Galliott, a spectator who visited the Research Impact Network booth, felt the information provided to her was clear and interesting.

“She told me that 10 universities across the country were working together to look at research,” added Galliott. She further elaborated that the group of universities started off in Victoria, B.C. but has since expanded to 10 and Memorial is one of the universities which share and work together to make research more usable and more accessible throughout the network.

“Sometimes we don’t know what services are out there so pulling people together and sharing what each has to offer,” said Galliott of the Engagement Fair.

Jensen shares much the same feelings as her spectator in relation to the potential of such an event.

“It is really great to hear what other people are saying and maybe they are developing tools that we can use for our local community.” said Jensen. “The capacity to just learn from one another is valuable.”

Jensen does credit Memorial for being involved in engagement fairs for such a long time, and admits that when York University first got involved with the events, Memorial was one of the first places her manager contacted regarding information.

“They were just so helpful in sending us information about how they have been doing and we have taken some of that and adapted it for our own local purposes.”

Post Cards from Congress – Day 4

Traffic at the ResearchImpact/RéseauImpactRechereche (RIR) booth has been steady and we have engaged with researchers from universities across Canada who have expressed interest in knowledge mobilization (KMb) and the RIR network.  And while our pens (thanks, York Research), luggage tags (thanks, Memorial University’s yaffle project) and our candy have been popular swag, it has been our recipe book which has been our best seller!

Allow us to explain.  No, we’re not publishers, so we’re really not ‘selling’ anything.  And ‘recipe book’ is how we’re referring to a peer reviewed article which David Phipps has published in 2011, titled A Report Detailing the Development of a University-Based Knowledge Mobilization Unit that Enhances Research Outreach and Engagement (accurate, but you see how ‘recipe book’ rolls off the tongue a little easier!).  At our booth we have an assortment of materials for delegates to take to inform them of our network, our programs and services, and how their institution can get involved in RIR.

Of all these items, it is the ‘recipe book’ that has been the most popular.  So popular, in fact, that we have had to print off additional copies and we’re only half way through Congress!  We’re excited and proud that academics, as well as community-based researchers, are so interested in the details of how York has developed and delivered institutional KMb.  This represents a significant step in our engagement with researchers at Congress.  And we are hopeful this interest will result in future growth for RIR!

Post Cards from Congress – Day 1

Congress Day 1 was a Governor General Day. See our blog on this announcing His Excellency’s appearance at Congress. As mentioned in the Governor General’s media advisory, ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) has been working with SSHRC and United Way Centraide Canada to develop the Community-Campus Collaboration’s Initiative.  In his Keynote Address to Congress titled “A True Democracy of Knowledge”, his Excellency said the CCC Initiative “is quite simply a superb initiative. It will help us ensure that social innovation is a key component of Canada’s innovation landscape. This initiative also provides us with a catalytic vehicle to apply knowledge and develop experiential learning.” He quoted from Boyer’s book, Scholarship Reconsidered which presents some directions towards a true democracy of knowledge. Two decades ago Boyer wrote about the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application and the scholarship of teaching.

These different scholarships map well onto the Community-Campus Collaborations Initiative. Community based research is an important part of engaged discovery. Community service learning and experiential education are important parts of engaged teaching. Knowledge mobilization underpins engaged discovery and all three are critical for the scholarship of integration.

His Excellency also attended a panel offered by the Canada Foundation for Innovation that featured Yves Maufette, Vice-recteur à la recherche et à la creation, RIR-UQAM. The panel examined changing models of service to communities in Canada’s universities. Very engaged. Very knowledge mobilization.

Day 1 of Congress was a very engaged and engaging day.