What We’re Hearing



What We’re Hearing

Discussions, brown bag lunches, initiatives, interactive displays and fairs have all contributed to emerging themes around why community engagement is important for UBC, principles, and recommended actions. There is an open door for further engagement.

We have asked many people why they value community-university engagement. The following statements are based on what we have heard to date. For an expanded pdf version, see

Draft Imperative and Principles for Community Engagement

Why do you value community-university engagement?

So far themes we’ve heard are…

Engagement enriches education.
Through community engagement, students become more aware and involved citizens, apply learning, gain valuable experience, and contribute to society.

Everyone brings knowledge and expertise.
All communities have valuable expertise and assets to share. Community-university connections help break down barriers and share diverse knowledge.

Together we can do more.
The combined experiences, expertise and knowledge from academic researchers and communities are needed to address the salient questions of our time.

UBC is a public institution.
As a public institution, it is UBC’s responsibility to listen to, learn from and work with communities, and to use UBC’s assets for the common good. CE is beneficial to UBC and builds the university’s social capital.

What shared principles can we agree on to guide community-university engagement?

Many university and community groups have established principles to guide their engagement activities. Learning from what exists, there is an opportunity to build a common set of overarching principles to inform community engagement at UBC.

Some of the principles we’ve heard to date include:

In a context of relationships and trust, engagement results in value for all. Value will be different depending on the community and relationship.

Flexibility / Openness to learn:
Building relationships means listening, learning, and adapting approaches throughout. It is important to admit and address mistakes.

Engagement involves a commitment to clear, honest conversations about process, ownership, access and motivation.

Respect differences:
Engagement is built on respect for the different knowledges, experiences, and contexts of individuals and communities within and beyond UBC.

What one thing would strengthen how UBC engages with communities?

Activities large and small will build UBC’s culture of community engagement. We have heard many ideas for what those activities might be.

One priority area so far is making UBC more accessible to communities. There are many ways that can happen, including:

More dialogues, events and public programming

Incentives, awards and financial support for community engagement

Training and resources for students, faculty and community partners

Ask, listen and respond to community needs