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Community University Exposition Conference (Ottawa, Canada, Day 1: May 25, 2015)

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Policy Roundtable on “Accelerating Change: Policy Innovation through and for Community Campus Engagement’’

“How we are going to be together is more important than what we are going to do together”

The CUExpo’2015 on May 25, 2015 witnessed an exhaustive session on driving policy change through and for community campus engagement. The round table was facilitated by Dr Edward Jackson and attended by over 30 participants spanning the sectors of government, academia and community based organizations. It provided a platform for sharing of experiences, learning from each other, brainstorming on certain key ideas and finally, coming up with concrete action points for the future.

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The first session of the day on ‘Framing, Challenges & Innovations’, started with the presentation made by Dr Bruce Gilbert who represented the Government of New Foundland and Labrador, who put forth the governmental perspective on community campus engagement. Following this was a presentation made by Dr Stephen Huddart, President and CEO, J W McConnell Family Foundation, who elaborated the ways and means by which the foundation has been funding CCE interventions. Further, Dr Jennifer Chambers from the UK research councils provided an overview of the funding of public engagement interventions in the UK, and in particular the UK’s public engagement and research initiative. This session was moderated by Dr Katherine Graham from CBRC, Canada. The second session saw the sharing of the Indian policy developments on CUE, by Ms. Wafa Singh, India Research Coordinator for the UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education. She outlined the latest UGC scheme on fostering CUE, and its operational details. Dr Budd Hall, Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair sharing some of the lessons that emerged from the global IDRC study on ‘Facilitative Structures for Community University Research Partnerships’, while Dr Jean Marc Margin, Executive Director, CFHSS, who shared the impacts of humanities and social sciences research. This session was moderated by Dr Martin Taylor from the University of Victoria

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The post lunch session of the policy roundtable saw the participants being divided into small working groups, where they were tasked with brainstorming on certain key action points that would significantly accelerate policy change in the future. The groups came up with some very thought provoking way forwards, which was keenly noted down by Dr Edward Jackson, who reiterated his commitment to take the suggestions forward into the future for streamlining the policy environment for CCE in Canada, and advocacy of the same abroad.

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Some of the suggestions that came forward from the group discussion were:

  • Need for strategic, personal relationship building among different stakeholders.
  • Essentiality of mutuality/mutual benefit as a key criteria guiding policy change.
  • Importance of robustness, focus, credibility of evidence for streamlining policy change.
  • Bringing all actors together under a common learning approach
  • Need to focus on capacity building efforts for different stakeholders, and the community based organizations, in particular, for participating in CCE for policy change
  • Creation of a knowledge democracy fund which is community based
  • Governmental actors to be involved in the design of CBR, so that there is a sense of ownership
  • Providing visibility to CBR efforts and measuring the impact for collation of data which can favorable impact policy change for mainstreaming CBR.
  • Creation of space for the government, academia and the CBOs to come together for sharing of perspectives

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