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Fall 2011 Editorial

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Karen FollettWhen I started with the Harris Centre three years ago, I remember being very confused at my first meeting by the onslaught of acronyms and strange terms. KMb, brokering, knowledge transfer, stakeholder, lay summary, Yaffle. Even my title seemed daunting: Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator.

So, how exactly was I supposed to coordinate the movement of knowledge? When you boil it down, my job is to connect the university with the rest of the province.

Thankfully, I soon got the hang of it, becoming fluent in “community engagement” speak and getting to work on bringing Memorial expertise into Newfoundland and Labrador communities.

The thing I love most about my job is it's never boring. Some days I help a non-profit group enter their research needs into Yaffle, our online research database, and then help find a match for them at the university. Then there are the days I get to travel with researchers to a remote community in a twin otter airplane.

One of the most exciting ways I connect people is by bringing people together face-to-face through workshops and other events. I could open up my own travel agency with the knowledge I’ve gained in planning logistics with the Harris Centre. We bring Memorial faculty, staff and students into different regions and communities of the province to interact with community leaders and decision makers.

It’s amazing what you learn and experience by leaving the university environment and going into a community to talk with residents about their real-world issues.

The thing that keeps me on my toes is problem solving and learning from others on-the-job. For example, I could never have been taught in school the lessons I learned when I had to get a group back to St. John’s (including myself) and were met with weather delays in Nain, Labrador during one of our workshops.

I’m also thankful for the lesson I learned about sharing knowledge: it sometimes comes from unexpected places. I now know that those inside the university community gain as much knowledge and experience from community-university engagement as do those from outside the university.

Please feel free to contact me with your questions or projects at kfollett@mun.ca— I’m here to help!

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Karen Follett
Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator

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