Continuing the Tradition of Community Engaged Scholarship

A reflection on the past and continuing future of community engaged scholarship at the University of Alberta.

A historical look at the then, Department of Extension.

In 1912, the University of Alberta was a young institution under the Presidency of Henry Marshall Tory, who charged his protégé, a young A.E. Ottewell, with the task of “bringing the University to the people.” What began as traveling librarians, “magic lantern” shows, and free public lectures in rural Alberta has turned into a unique, interdisciplinary research space with community engagement at its core.

Each member of Extension’s professoriate has been proud to be part of the 108 year history of the university’s outreach work; most recently a vision and mission of community engagement and scholarship with the primary goal of co-creating solutions to complex issues with diverse community partners.

As we now make the transition to our new faculty homes, we’d like to take a moment to share a few thoughts with the wider U of A community.

Our research thrives best when it is supported through collegial relationships and Faculty Evaluation Committees that understand the process and benefits of the scholarship of engagement and relationships built through years of community-engaged research. We’ve cherished the experiences that Extension has offered us in this regard, and we’re looking forward to continuing these experiences as we join the new faculties that we’ll call home.

Recognizing that we are not making these transitions alone, we are proud to share that we will be making our teaching and supervision of MACT and MACE students our primary teaching priorities, especially over the next few years.

As much as possible, academic faculty members have applied our scholarly work of ethical engagement, relationship building, and reciprocity throughout this transition process. We remain committed to this and will continue to make space for this within the U of A community by collaborating with colleagues in our new faculties to build and sustain our relationships with the many stakeholders who are integral and critical to community-engaged scholarship.

We have built enduring relationships with the colleagues who will carry forward in the Continuing and Professional Education and English Language School units in Extension, and while we will miss seeing you in the halls daily, we will remain your champions in promoting CPE and ELS. We also remain your U of A colleagues and friends.

And to our new colleagues, we’re ready to further share our spirit of collaboration with you.

This transition has been a journey, but just as the original founders of Extension ventured beyond the boundaries of their old offices, we’re ready to continue the tradition of community scholarship by expanding into our new faculties.

As members of the U of A community, we all have the ability to bring the university to the people.

~ Extension’s outgoing professoriate

Fay Fletcher |Rebecca Gokiert |Mary Beckie| Gordon Gow| Rob McMahon | Martin Guardado |Lana Whiskeyjack | Stanley Varnhagen | Kyle Whitfield |Kent Rondeau |Jennifer Foote| Kevin Jones