U of S puts resources in faculty hands to enrich community-engagement and outreach activities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 30, 2013 SASKATOON - A new initiative at the University of Saskatchewan will see $175,000 invested annually to support faculty and graduate student efforts in working with communities across the province and around the world.

"Community engagement describes how the University of Saskatchewan works with communities for the mutual benefit of everyone involved, whether those communities are here in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan, or in countries around the globe," said Keith Carlson, special advisor for outreach and engagement at the U of S.
The funding was announced today at the university's first Engaged Scholar Day, a full-day event designed to stimulate ideas on community engagement and outreach through featured presentations, a conversation research café, and a poster exposition highlighting local, provincial and international community engagement work by faculty and graduate students.
The funding, some of which was announced earlier this year, is targeted toward faculty, and supports research grants and awards, a doctoral fellowship, enriched community-engaged teaching activities, and an annual symposium on engaged scholarship.
Carlson explained that some elements are totally new, such as a new academic journal on scholarly engagement, and a grants program to provide resources for faculty members to sponsor and co-author papers with graduate students.
"Traditionally, researchers have published about the results of their work; less attention has gone into sharing and evaluating the process of how they were successful when engaging with communities," he said. "This journal and these special graduate student catalyst scholarships are intended to fill that gap."
In addition, a seed funding program will back projects designed to garner further research grants while other initiatives will support experiential learning projects, especially those that involve students in research. On the outreach side of the equation, a K-12 school outreach program will fund initiatives that inspire students to pursue a university education. A unique database and web portal is also in the works to preserve oral histories recorded by faculty and graduate students in partnerships with communities.
"These initiatives give our students added resources to expand their community-engaged research and teaching activities," said Carlson. "And researchers have new opportunities to create academically rigorous new forms of knowledge in partnerships with communities in a manner that will help to change and improved people's lives - an important objective for this university."
More information about the Engaged Scholar Day event is available online. Faculty, students and their community partners can apply for the funds by contacting Carlson or by visiting http://www.usask.ca/vpadvancement/outreach.
For more information, contact:
Keith Thor Carlson
Special Advisor - Outreach and Engagement
(306) 966-5902
Michael Robin
Research Communications Specialist
(306) 966-1425
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