Memorial University wants to start a conversation.
At spring convocation, Dr. Gary Kachanoski emphasized three essential pillars of a public university: research, teaching and learning, and engagement. With guiding frameworks now in place for the first two pillars, a new unit at Memorial will focus on guiding and supporting the third: engagement.
On Sept. 20, the Board of Regents approved the creation of the Office of Engagement, a new Memorial unit that will oversee the development and implementation of the Engagement Framework, a document that will guide the universitys engagement activities. The Office of Engagement will be led by Executive Director Dr. Rob Greenwood, who will also continue to direct the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development.
The Engagement Framework will be based on input gathered from university and community stakeholders alike, and will complement the existing research and teaching and learning frameworks. While the meaning of the word engagement as it relates to Memorial will be shaped by input received during the framework development process, at a basic level engagement can be understood as activity that involves people in the university partnering or collaborating with people outside the university. Its a mutually-beneficial activity that acknowledges the value of the expertise and capacity of all contributing parties, internal and external.
There is a growing expectation that universities contribute knowledge and resources to help address the real-world needs and opportunities of the communities they serve, said Dr. Kachanoski, Memorials president and vice-chancellor. There is also incredible potential for a university like Memorial to increase collaboration outside of Canada, sharing knowledge on the global stage.
Memorial is dedicated to being a leader in engagement, both here in the province, and around the world. The Engagement Framework will be a statement of the universitys values in this area, guiding our future priorities and providing a roadmap for provincial, national and international cooperation.
For many at Memorial, engagement is not a new concept: numerous faculties, units and individuals have already embraced it as a fundamental element of research, teaching and learning, with supports offered by various faculties, administrative units and centers, across all campuses. With a solid reputation for being responsive to the needs and opportunities of this province, and as the only university in Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorials mission recognizes its special obligation to the people of this province.
The Office of Engagement and the Engagement Framework will help to coordinate and support this existing activity in a more effective and responsive way, as well as offering support to advance new engagement efforts.
Memorial faculty, staff and students already partner with communities, organizations and individuals throughout the province, across Canada and internationally. We have a wealth of expertise in doing engagement and this framework will help track, coordinate and support it even more, said Dr. Greenwood.
Dr. Greenwood will lead the framework development process, with the input and oversight of the engagement steering committee, a group that will include members both internal and external to the university. An engagement expert working group will also be struck to determine issues and opportunities, and to share best practices. Once completed, the framework will be approved by the Senate and the Board of Regents.
All interested stakeholders, both inside and outside the Memorial community, are encouraged to contribute to development of the plan. Dr. Greenwood and his team will be conducting stakeholder meetings across the province during November and December, with on-campus and public consultations planned for early in 2012. If youre interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
, or visit the Office of Engagement website at www.mun.ca/engagement