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Office of Engagement launches blog, themed consultations

By Rebecca Cohoe

When Dr. Rob Greenwood, executive director of the Office of Engagement, was appointed to lead the development of Memorial's Engagement Framework, no one told him he'd need to brush up on his blogging skills.

The newly launched Office of Engagement blog, Engage Memorial, is just one of the ways the Office is seeking input into the framework. Along with the blog and an input survey (both available at www.mun.ca/engagement), the office is also in the middle of a series of themed consultation sessions, all designed to ensure the broadest possible involvement in the development of the framework.

"We believe that feedback, both from the Memorial community and from the individuals and organizations of Newfoundland and Labrador, is essential to creating an Engagement Framework that reflects the needs of both the university and the province," said Dr. Greenwood.

The themes were developed based on initial meetings with internal and external stakeholders and they have been reviewed, edited and expanded upon by a steering committee and a working group made up of external and internal participants with experience in engagement.

The sessions began in mid-January and will run until early March. Each session is three hours long and includes participants from inside and outside Memorial with an interest or expertise in the theme or topic. So far, consultations have been held at the St. John's and Grenfell campuses, with further events planned for Happy Valley-Goose Bay and rural communities across the province, as well as further consultations at the St. John's and Corner Brook campuses.

"These sessions are meant to explore what we are doing well in particular areas, such as engaging with Aboriginal communities, or the scholarship of engagement, but also to identify gaps or impediments to engaging with people and organizations outside the university," said Dr. Greenwood. "These sessions will inform the development of a draft vision for engagement, values and high level goals and objectives, and then we'll have sessions in March within Memorial, with key stakeholders and in open, public sessions."

While Dr. Greenwood is no stranger to leading complex consultations – he was at the helm of the research plan consultations last year – blogging is a brand-new challenge. "Most people who know me, know I have a lot to say, and a blog is supposed to be succinct and punchy, so it's a good discipline for me to learn," Dr. Greenwood said with a smile.

The blog will feature posts from various contributors, including the members of the expert working group and the co-chairs of the themed consultations sessions. Along with offering updates on the framework process, the blog will be an opportunity to explore some of the issues and opportunities raised throughout the process, adding context to the discussion.

For more information about the Engagement Framework process and to read Engage Memorial, please visit www.mun.ca/engagement.

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