By Dave Heidebrecht, Manager, McMaster University Office of Community Engagement
I’m incredibly privileged to be asked to bring an update to the CCEC community on the work of our incredible team at the McMaster University Office of Community Engagement. Since May 2014, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside hundreds of colleagues throughout the McMaster and Hamilton communities to co-develop principled approaches to community-campus engagement with a vision of working together for an inclusive, sustainable greater Hamilton. Over the past seven years, with the direct support of campus and community leaders from all disciplines and sectors, this work has crystalized through the creation of the Office of Community Engagement in 2016 and the development of a range of community-engaged programs and partnerships that collectively engage with thousands of faculty, students, staff, and community partners each year.
The heart and soul of all of these programs—each of which you can learn about in the impact report and additional program details shared below—is our brilliantly talented staff team. In a year like no other, this group—Ashley, Beth, C.A., Celeste, Evan, Jay, Randy, Sashaina, Christine, and Elise—continue to set the bar for creating and delivering meaningful community-campus programs and partnerships that are serving real needs and addressing real issues in our community. With this in mind, I do hope you enjoy learning more about our work in the pages and links below, and encourage anyone interested in learning more about our efforts to reach out as we are always happy to share our learnings with others who share a desire to make a positive difference through community-campus partnerships.
Our new 2020 Impact Report celebrates how McMaster and the university’s community partners are working together for an inclusive and sustainable greater Hamilton.
At a time of great disconnect, finding ways to work together to support our community is more important than ever. That’s the message behind our new strategy, which reflects the University’s commitment to the greater Hamilton community by supporting 500 new community-campus partnerships by 2025.
“By 2025 McMaster University will have 500 community-engaged partnerships that are addressing community- and university- identified priorities, built on respectful relationships, mutually beneficial, equity-seeking, and adequately resourced.” – McMaster University Office of Community Engagement’s new mission statement
Celebrating five years since the University’s first community engagement strategy was launched, the newly launched 2020 Impact Report is both a retrospective on the impact of McMaster’s recent community engagement efforts and also outlines a new way forward in the institution’s role as a civic university. Read more about the report and the development of the Office of Community Engagement from this recent McMaster Daily News article.
Interested in learning more? Amidst finding our way through this challenging time, our team of brilliant, caring, and passionate humans continues to lead the following programs and projects that are striving towards our vision of a sustainable, inclusive greater Hamilton:
- McMaster Research Shop works with public, non-profit, and community organizations in Hamilton to provide plain-language answers to research questions.
- MacChangers, a partnership with McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, offers experiential learning opportunities to students to propose collaborative solutions to the most complex and pressing problems confronting society.
- CityLAB Hamilton Semester in Residence, our 15-unit semester in partnership with the City of Hamilton, focused this fall on developing strategies for remote public engagement. Learn more about the incredible work done by our student teams with their city partners through their final reports and please subscribe to CityCAST, our very own podcast!
- The Connection is our new partnership development program that proactively connects to community and campus groups to understand key issues and priority areas, with a focus on supporting the development of partnerships that are mutually beneficial addressing issues focused on social justice and equity
- McMaster Access Strategy assists academically qualified students from underrepresented groups in Hamilton and surrounding communities to access university education at the undergraduate level.
- Community Engagement and Research Guide, a resource intended for use by students, staff, and faculty looking to understand the Hamilton context as they engage with off-campus communities through teaching, research, and service. The goal of this guide is to offer students, staff, and faculty from all disciplines a strong, relevant evidence base on issues faced by communities mainly in Hamilton, but also in broader geographical contexts (provincial, national, and international). It includes a range of data sets, reports, and other resources from Hamilton and beyond.
Interested in staying up to date? Our community-campus update is sent out twice each month and provides information on all things community engagement at McMaster. Please click here to subscribe.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of our programs or partnerships, pleae feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McMaster’s Office of Community Engagement is grateful for the ongoing support and openness to learning from the hundreds of campus and community partners who contribute to this collective effort as we work together towards a sustainable and inclusive greater Hamilton.