Community Engagement Foundations for Graduate Students

Community Engagement Foundations for Graduate Students

Are you eager to make a tangible difference in your community? This course is tailored for graduate students and postdocs, allowing you to blend your talents, personal interests, and knowledge with meaningful community engagement. 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. 


We invite students from all disciplines to enrol, with no previous experience or prerequisites required. Please note: To qualify for this course, you must be a current student or a post-doctoral fellow. Students on a leave of absence do not qualify for this course.
Course Objectives
  • This course will delve into the intricate nature of defining "community" and uncover the hidden connections between seemingly distant communities. We will explore how embracing diverse perspectives can create new spaces and opportunities for innovation, fostering community equity and dignity.
  • Together, we will appreciate the transformative power of thinking differently about communities, laying the foundations for creating new communities that thrive on inclusivity and collaboration. Recognizing our expertise and strengths will unlock our potential to contribute meaningfully to these communities.
  • We aim to establish meaningful and sustainable connections to new initiatives, understanding the importance of maintaining their capacity or comprehending when their purpose is fulfilled. By nurturing these connections, we can ensure that the impact of our work continues to resonate long after its completion.
  • In this course, we will delve into community engagement concepts academically and personally, fostering growth and self-reflection as we work toward community equity and dignity.
Course Outcomes
  • Develop effective strategies to empathetically connect with communities that may not have an obvious connection, discovering ways to collaborate and foster meaningful relationships.
  • Express your motivations and values, articulating what drives you to impact communities positively.
  • Prioritize your time, interests, and intrinsic motivations, aligning them with meaningful community involvement.
  • Identify community supports and resources that you can effectively utilize and carry with you to empower and uplift communities you engage with.
Course Facilitators & Contact
Course Facilitator: 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. Contact for questions.
Active Engagement: Attendance Policy
One of the crucial aspects of this course is your active involvement. Attendance, timely completion of assignments, and participation in class discussions are key components of your success. Your commitment and engagement will significantly contribute to your learning experience in this course. 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