Community Engaged Scholar Discussion Group offers Important Lessons that Cross Disciplines


The 2013-2014 Community Engaged Scholar Discussion Groups are nearly complete.  We have featured diverse scholars including (but not limited to) Marie Lovrod (ICCC and English) Chelsea Willness (ESB), Robert Innes (Native Studies) , Lalita Bharadwaj (SPH)  and Claire Thomson (History). In each presentation, we have heard the stories of how scholars became community engaged, the methods they use to effectively work with various community partners and students, and a variety of other questions pressing on the minds of attendees, including, how to prepare for tenure and promotion with community-engaged work. 

Although we have been privy to the particular disciplinary projects each scholar has produced, we have also heard many important lessons that cross disciplines to enhance community-engaged work on campus.  For example, Dr. Willness’ presentation demonstrated the time intensity that building an incredible connection between communities and students can take.  From Dr. Bharadwaj we learnt  that being present as an academic in the community, at a child’s sports event  in her instance, can lead to new directions in community-engaged research. Claire Thomson’s presentation as a Master’s student in History revealed the importance of “scaffolding” young students through community-based learning and research opportunities for undergraduates. Thomson is now beginning a PhD at the University of Alberta, continuing her excellent work begun as an undergraduate in History and Native Studies. 

I am so thrilled that we will add to this line up Dr. Colleen Anne Dell. Dr. Dell has many community-engaged research lessons we can all learn from, including the development of projects that involve students at all levels and how to use social media effectively. In addition, each of her research projects has created something that engages participants and community members through accessible and artistic means.  Dell has partnered to create music videos, posters and magnets (amongst other products) that condense her research into digestible and relevant materials for the public. Next Tuesday, Dell will share not only some of these methods, but also offer insights into strategies for multi-partner project sustainability. Dr. Dell will join us on Tuesday, April 22 at 2pm Station 20 West, Upper Board Room. 

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