Community Engagement Foundations

A crowded crosswalk

This course is tailored to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows (PDF) who are eager to make a tangible difference in their community. Blend your talents, personal interests and knowledge with meaningful community engagement as you work through this course.

By actively collaborating with fellow participants and learning with community members, we'll delve into our existing strengths and skills while equipping you with the necessary tools and strategies to forge authentic connections and create meaningful and equitable impacts in our communities both on and off campus.

Our course emphasizes the power of experiential learning and modelling community-driven goals within the classroom. Through engaging discussions and collaborative projects, students are encouraged to reflect upon and evaluate their current community connections, empowering them to become agents of positive change.


Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from all disciplines are welcome, with no previous experience or prerequisites required.

Note: To qualify for this course, you must be a current student or a PDF. Students on a leave of absence do not qualify for this course.

Course Objectives

  • Explore the concept of "community" and uncover hidden connections between different communities.
  • Embrace diverse perspectives to foster innovation and community equity.
  • Understand the transformative power of thinking differently about communities and lay the foundations for inclusive and collaborative new communities.
  • Recognize our expertise and strengths to contribute meaningfully.
  • Establish sustainable connections to new initiatives.
  • Nurture connections for long-lasting impact.
  • Delve into community engagement concepts for personal and academic growth.

Course Outcomes

  • Connect empathetically with diverse communities to foster meaningful relationships and collaboration.
  • Articulate your motivations and values to positively impact communities.
  • Align your time, interests and intrinsic motivations with meaningful community involvement.
  • Leverage community support and resources to empower and uplift engaged communities.

Course Facilitators

This course is facilitated by Jay Friesen, PD educational curriculum developer at GPS and a community engagement instructor at Community Service-Learning (CSL).

The course will also feature local community members, both on and off campus.

Attendance Policy

Active involvement is a crucial aspect of this course. Attendance, timely completion of assignments and participation in class discussions are key components of your success. We understand that life happens, so you are allowed one excused absence. However, we kindly ask for your understanding that exceptions to this policy cannot be made.

Contact Us

Questions regarding the Community Connect (CC) program, including other volunteer opportunities for graduate students, can be directed to:

Jay Friesen, Ph.D.
Educational Curriculum Developer
Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies