Academy Details and Agenda

Committed to Place: Leading Engaged Universities to Support Thriving Communities and Regions
An Engagement Academy for University Leaders training opportunity 

July 13th -15th, 2022, Signal Hill Campus, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Register here.


Publicly engaged universities have the potential to make a meaningful impact within their communities and regions.

The COVID-19 crisis has emphasized the value of university-community collaboration: at their best, universities have been nimble, relevant, and accessible.The response to the pandemic has underscored the valuable impact engaged universities can make in the places they serve. Being able to respond to local and regional challenges and opportunities also provides a distinct competitive advantage within the changing post-secondary landscape.

The benefits of engagement are significant, but transformative change through public engagement can be a major undertaking, requiring embedding engaged principles as core institutional practices.

Of course, universities serve a very broad range of communities; however, we believe this training will be useful to staff at any institution that is committed to making an impact within their place. This could include city campuses, rural/remote locations, institutions with significant community and/or industry outreach, satellite or specialized campuses, and universities with regional/provincial/territorial mandates.

Who should attend?

This 2.5 day event for mid-career to senior university leadership shares lessons and insights from global and Canadian leaders in university public engagement. Attendees could include Presidents and Vice-Presidents, Deans and Directors, and staff with PE-focused roles (including community engagement, partnerships, social accountability, etc.)

Key lessons and topics:

Learn how other institutions have addressed policies, practices and priorities to create a culture of engagement, and how understanding the distinctive opportunities and needs of their places (cities, regions, provinces, etc.) has led to productive public engagement relationships. The session will also be a chance to connect with others who are working to embed public engagement as a strength and priority at their institutions, creating a peer network for sharing, collaboration and inspiration.

Key topics include:

  • PE-oriented organizational change
  • Building, focusing, and advancing your public engagement action plan
  • Creating successful public engagement partnerships
  • Monitoring and evaluating public engagement
  • PE as a competitive advantage

This hands-on session includes developing a real-life plan for embedding public engagement at your university. Work will be assigned in advance, and small team attendance is recommended  (though not required.)


(Agenda is subject to change.)

See PDF of Agenda

Day 1: Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

Day 2: Thursday, July 14th, 2022

Day 3: Friday, July 15th, 2022

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

8:00am- 9:00am: Academy Registration and Breakfast

9:00am- 10:15am: Welcome Session

Committing to Place: The Call and the Context

Memorial University President Dr. Vianne Timmons welcomes participants to the session. She'll then introduce Lisa Browne, VP (Advancement and External Relations) to set the stage, exploring the context of university public engagement in Canada, especially related to “place.” What is working well? What is keeping leadership up at night? How can PE help our institutions and our communities and regions?

10:15am- 10:30am: Break

10:30- Noon: Case Study Session

Addressing Institutional Priorities through Engagement

Lorilee Sandmann and David Weerts discuss global trends in higher education and how engagement can be framed to help meet those challenges and opportunities. Case studies based on pre-work assignments of participants will highlight specific strategies for using public engagement to address institutional priorities.

Noon- 1:00pm: Lunch

1:15pm- 2:30pm Framework Session

Leading Internal Partnerships (Part 1): Organizational Change Strategies to Institutionalize Engagement

Developing robust partnerships across diverse divisions, departments, and units is critical for building advancing engagement as an institutionalized practice. Drawing on multiple organizational frames, this session explores how to work effectively with a range of academic leaders (deans, provosts, directors, etc.) to advance campus, community, and regional goals.

2:30pm- 2:45pm: Break

2:45pm- 4:00pm: Case Study Session

Leading Internal Partnerships (Part II): A Case Example of Promotion and Tenure

Embedding public engagement within P&T processes is one of the most consistent challenges that university leaders face in their efforts to institutionalize engagement. This session features lessons from two institutions that are piloting innovative strategies to embed engagement within P&T processes. The session illustrates how the organizational change strategies discussed in Part I can be employed to facilitate P&T innovations.

4:15pm- 5:00pm: Work session

Advancing Your Action Plan

Put your learning into practice! During this session, you’ll clarify and refine your Action Plan to link to institutional goals and identify key organizational people who need to be informed/involved/cultivated to support the plan. The Engagement Academy trainers will be there to offer support and consultation.

5:00- 8:00pm 

NL Cultural experience and dinner

Bus to leave Signal Hill Campus at 5:30. Bus to leave Petty Harbour at 9:00 with the potential for drop-offs directly to hotels. 

Fishing for Success is a globally-recognized social enterprise that uses traditional Newfoundland and Labrador skills such as fishing and boatbuilding to build confidence and purpose in youth and others. They’re also a valued public partner of Memorial University.

Join us for a (short) bus trip to Petty Harbour, a fishing village just outside St. John’s. There will be local food, lots of fun, and you might just learn something, too.

We guarantee this will be a highlight of your trip!

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

7:30am- 8:30am: Breakfast

8:30am- 9:00am: Check in with action plan—purpose and goal statements

9:00am- 10:15am: Panel Session

Social Enterprise at Memorial University: Building Opportunity in our Place

In the past decade, social enterprise has emerged as an area of strength for Memorial University’s Faculty of Business Administration. In many ways, it is a natural fit for the institution: Memorial has a long history of publicly engaged research and teaching & learning, and a deeply rooted sense of obligation to our place.

However, the emergence of this specialization didn’t happen in a vacuum: it took institutional vision, innovative and collaborative public partners, and programming, support, and policies to for this type of engaged work to come to fruition.  

Join us for a panel discussion featuring:

•John Schouten, Canada Research Chair in Social Enterprise
•Kimberly Orren, Co-Founder, Fishing For Success
•Carolann Harding, CEO, SmartICE
•Tom Cooper, Interim Director, MBA-SEE Program
•Gillian Morrissey, Acting Manager, Centre for Social Enterprise

The session facilitator is Lisa Browne, Memorial’s VP (Advancement and External Relations

10:15am- 10:30am: Break

10:30am- Noon: Case Study Exercise Session

Collaborating with University Advancement Leaders to Create an Engaged Institution

This session draws on scholarship about what we know about building win-win relationships between engagement and advancement leaders. It explores the relationship between alumni support and institutional commitments to serving the public good.

Noon- 1:15pm: Lunch

1:30pm- 3:30pm: Presidents Panel

An Executive View: Pulling the Pieces Together

Learn from higher education leaders who have successfully integrated public engagement and “place” into their institutional strategies and goals. President Vianne Timmons hosts a panel of higher education presidents, current and past. They’ll help apply concepts from the previous sessions to the everyday challenges of executive leadership and offer strategies for moving ahead.

Our panel includes:

• Rebecca Mearns, Acting President, Nunavut Arctic College
• Judith Ramaley, President Emerita of Portland State University, University of Vermont and Winona State University.
• Andrew Petter, President Emeritus, Simon Fraser University

Hear their thoughts, ask your questions, and take advantage of their significant experience in university public engagement.

3:30pm- 3:45pm: Break

3:45pm- 5:00pm: Working Session

Advancing the Action Plan

Integrate lessons from the day within the action plan. During this session, institutional teams will convene to discuss how the key lessons or insights from the day could be applied to their action plan. EA faculty will be available for consultation with individuals and teams.

Evening: Explore St. John’s (no activities planned.)

Friday, July 15, 2022

7:30am- 8:30am: Breakfast

8:30am- 10:30am: Action Plan

Critique, Consultation, Critical Friends Feedback

10:30am- Noon: Planning Session

Leading Engagement Beyond the Academy

This session will help you prepare for “Monday morning.” How will you take what you’ve learned and planned over the course of the last several days and turn it into action once you return to your institution? We’ll help you develop your pitch, make a plan to gain momentum, and develop monitoring and evaluation approaches to understand how well things are going.

Noon: Session adjourns