Transformational Journeys of Institutional Leaders of University Community Engagement


Alternatively described as a practice, a movement, a philosophy and a field, university-community engagement has been institutionalized in different models throughout many Western nations. In an ongoing Canadian study of engaged institutions in 4 countries- the US, Canada, UK, and Australia- engaged scholars in executive (senior) leadership positions participated in a narrative study of identity and agency in different geopolitical and sociocultural worlds.

The purpose of this international study, Institutionalizing University-Community Engagement: Sociocultural Contexts, of which this cohort is a part, is to develop an understanding of the social and cultural influences on the scholarship of engagement, and to explore how these factors influence how engagement scholarship is supported at the institutional level. We are very interested in how institutionalization strategies reflect their sociocultural contexts and, in particular, how, institutional leaders, engaged scholars and professional staff contribute to shape and be shaped by these plans. The idea of "culture" is complex and contested. However, we understand culture as socially constructed, pluralistic, subjective, inclusive and intersectional, expressed in diverse forms and "creative representations" (Boylorn and Orbe, 2014, p. 13).

This presentation will share the stories of 15 senior leaders as they transform from engaged scholars to supporters, leaders and disrupters of institutional narratives that hinder identity development.

Author Information
Katy Campbell, University of Alberta, Canada
David Peacock, University of Alberta, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: BCE2020
Stream: Higher education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon