Community Conversations

Community Conversations

How can we strengthen community in uncertain times?

On November 12 and 13, members of the UCalgary and the broader community joined us for Community Conversations, an opportunity to discuss challenging community issues to strengthen relationships during uncertain times. 

The event also recognized Métis Week, which celebrates the culture, history and contributions of Métis people to Alberta and Canada.

At Community Conversations, we explored the following interconnected themes:

  • Socio-Economic Challenges Facing our Communities
  • Response, Recovery and Resilience in the Age of COVID-19
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: How Has Systemic Racism Impacted Racialized Communities?

Attendees had the opportunity to participate in meaningful dialogue, learn from experts on a diverse range of social issues, and explore resources and supports for working collaboratively within shared spaces.

Community Conversations was hosted by the Carnegie Pilot - Advisory GroupKnowledge EngagementExperiential Learning and the Indigenous Engagement teams, with support from many teams on campus and partners in the community.

The event also helped inform UCalgary’s participation in the Canadian Pilot - Carnegie Community Engagement Classification and the co-creation of a Canadian Framework for Community Engagement. 

Event Program

10 am: Welcome and Blessing

Listen to opening remarks from campus and community leaders, followed by a ceremonial smudge and blessing from Elder Dr. Reg Crowshoe.

10:15 am: Community Conversations - Breakout Discussions

Choose two of three breakout sessions and participate in meaningful dialogue around our identified event themes. 

11:10 am: Keynote Presentation & Interview

Learn from Dr. Macdougall about Métis ways of knowing and Wahkootowin, ‘a worldview linking land, family and identity in one interconnected web of being’ to enhance relationships, intercultural capacity and engagement with our communities.

Following the keynote presentation, Dr. Leslie Reid will interview Dr. Macdougall and host a Q&A session for attendees. 

12:05 pm: Panel Discussion

Tune in to an inspiring panel featuring Dr. Macdougall, Elise Ahenkorah (inclusion FACTOR) and Robert Perry (CUPS Calgary). This panel will be moderated by UCalgary Chancellor Deborah Yedlin. 

9:30 am: Community Conversations - Breakout Discussions

Engage in breakout discussions to revisit key themes from day one of Community Conversations and explore how to move forward together.

10:15 am: Community Resource Fair

Learn about service offerings and resources available from campus and community, and ask questions at virtual booths hosted in 15-minute sessions.

Event Speakers

Reg Crowshoe, is a member of the University of Calgary Senate and a prominent cultural and spiritual leader from Piikuni First Nation in Southern Alberta, where he formerly served as chief.

Dr. Crowshoe has a long standing relationship with the University of Calgary and has generously shared and offered his assistance, ceremonial leadership, and traditional knowledge to students, The Native Centre and other faculties for many years. Dr. Crowshoe is widely recognized for his dedication to Piikuni artifacts, traditions, language, culture, and history, and, like his father the late Dr. Joseph Crowshoe, was awarded an honorary Doctorate Degree by the University of Calgary in 2001.

Dr. Crowshoe is also the founder of the Old Man River Cultural Society, and he authored the book “Akak’stiman, A Blackfoot Framework for Decision-Making and Mediation Processes”, published by University of Calgary Press in 2002. 

Dr. Brenda Macdougall is the Director at the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies, Academic Delegate for Indigenous Engagement and Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa.

Dr. Macdougall will discuss Métis ways of knowing and Wahkootowin, ‘a worldview linking land, family and identity in one interconnected web of being’ to enhance relationships, intercultural capacity and engagement with our communities.

Dr. Leslie Reid is the Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning, and a teaching professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. She served as associate dean of teaching and learning in the Faculty of Science from 2012-2017, where she supported the creation of educational development programs that help enhance learning and teaching experiences for students and staff. Leslie’s scholarly work focuses on STEM teaching and learning, and educational development for academic staff. In 2011, Leslie was awarded a 3M National Teaching Fellowship, and in 2014, she received a University of Calgary Teaching Award for Educational Leadership.

Elise Ahenkorah is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker and inclusion advocate. She is educated in Law & Justice, International Relations, Change Management and is completing her MBA in Strategy. She is also an alumni of Cornell University’s coveted diversity and inclusion strategic planning program.

As Principal and Inclusion Strategist for inclusion FACTOR, she designs data-driven strategies to build inclusive workplaces and communities for public and private sector-based clients across North America and the UK. Her clients include Saje Natural Wellness, Calgary Police Commission, Leftovers Foundation, IBM, University of Texas, City of Toronto, University of Calgary, IABC, Law Society of Saskatchewan – to name a few.

In her career, Elise has covered diverse ground in progressively senior roles in communications, marketing, stakeholder engagement, strategic planning, and DE&I for public and private sector organizations. Elise’s innovative DE&I strategies and community contributions have been recognized by the International Association of Business Communicators, Canadian Centre for Diversity, the University of Calgary and the UN of Canada.

Robert Perry serves as the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at CUPS. He started with CUPS in 2001 at One World Child Development Centre, then joined the Leadership team. His current role involves creating and fine-tuning measurement tools for our Health, Housing and Education programs.

Robert's team is responsible for transforming raw data into outcomes that inform our communities of CUPS’ impact.  Robert is also involved with community partners in Policy and Research to support practice and achieve lasting change and breakthrough outcomes, Research and Policy need to be supportive of practice.

Robert earned an MBA from Concordia University in Montreal, and a BA History and BEd from the University of Calgary.  

Community leader and Calgary journalist Deborah Yedlin was elected the 14th chancellor of the University of Calgary, effective July 1, 2018. She has been observing, commenting and writing about business and politics for more than two decades, as a journalist for the Financial Post, Globe and Mail and Calgary Herald. In addition to her writing, she has been a regular commentator for CBC Radio and Television, and CTV since 1996. 


Virtual Community Resource Fair

Learn about service offerings and resources available from campus and community, and ask questions at virtual booths hosted by:

Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids invites and empowers people in communities to feed and care for these kids, so they can grow up to reach their full potential. With the power of volunteers, we are feeding almost 5000 kids every school day.

When a client engages with CUPS, they are welcomed by a team. We blend the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of care-coordinators, clinicians, specialists, educators and counsellors and engage with our external partners to create a custom care plan that is suited specifically for the complex needs of that person’s story. This is Integrated Care. And it means working together as a community to address the big picture of building resilience so we can improve outcomes for Calgarians for generations to come.

Community Engagement helps position the university as a community builder, supporting the socio-economic and cultural development of our city, province and beyond. While all units in the Office of Advancement play an active role in advancing institutional community engagement activities, the task is the primary responsibility of the Community Engagement. Team members are responsible for a number of institutional partnerships, sponsorships, and the university’s annual United Way campaign.

Talk to us about: Partnering with UCalgary

The Office of Experiential Learning is housed within the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary. Our team works to support faculty and community partners in developing EL opportunities, including curricular and co-curricular experiential learning, undergraduate research, community-engaged learning, and work-integrated learning.

Talk to us about: Community-engaged learning partnerships at the university

The Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary provides social work degree education throughout the province. The Faculty operates two regions in addition to the Calgary campus at the University of Calgary. Central and Northern Alberta Region—and offers the BSW, MSW and PHD programs. The vision— creating social well-being and just societies—incorporates our mission: Dedicated to promoting societies that respect human dignity and worth, meet basic human needs, are anti-oppressive, inclusive, and based on principles of social justice; Committed to learners by providing and building a knowledge base and set of skills in environments designed to stimulate and support a spirit of critical inquiry; and Focused on serving as a catalyst for positive community impact through the creation and dissemination of knowledge and innovation.

Talk to us about: Undergraduate and graduate programs, PhD and graduate certificates

The Indigenous Research Support Team (IRST) is a team within Research Services mandated to better support and strengthen Indigenous-related research capacity at the University of Calgary. The project commenced in 2019 with the identification of several challenges being overcome by Indigenous faculty members and within research that is carried out in Indigenous environments.

The Office of the Vice Provost (Indigenous Engagement) provides support and advice to the campus community about indigenization and decolonization with respect to ways of knowing, doing, connecting, and being. The team engages the Indigenous community in teaching, learning, research and community engagement. They lead and monitor the implementation of the Indigenous Strategy, ii’taa’poh’to’p.

Talk to us about: Resources for Indigenous communities and stakeholders, university researchers, Ways to promote collaborative, reciprocal, and culturally responsive research, Indigenous strategy, Engagement with the Indigenous community.

Inn from the Cold (IFTC) provides low--barrier emergency shelter and supportive housing to help Calgary's families regain their independence. IFTC is the largest organization in the Calgary region that's dedicated exclusively to families at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Innovate Calgary is the knowledge transfer and commercialization centre for the University of Calgary. We help bridge the gap between discovery and creating societal and economic impact.

Talk to us about: UCeed, Life Sciences Innovation Hub, Social Enterprise Program (CATALYZE)

The University of Calgary International is an award-winning leader in internationalization. The office helps students, faculty and staff internationalize their study, research and work. We support our university in serving diverse local communities and embracing its role as a global intellectual hub where students and staff from 160 countries come to share ideas and grow together.

Talk to us about: International learning experiences, International Relations and the Global Community Challenge 

A newly formed unit in the Research Services Office at the University of Calgary, the Knowledge Engagement team is driven by their mission to support collaborative research efforts to create impact and benefit for the community at large. 

Whether you're a UCalgary researcher or from a community organization, the KE team can provide partnership matchmaking and research collaboration support to help connect you with the right expertise and experience for your research project.

Talk to us about: Finding a partner for research, Leveraging relationships for research funding, Engaging with stakeholders, Mobilizing knowledge for impact

The University of Calgary is committed to excellence and leadership in sustainability. Whether you are a student, faculty or staff member, there are many opportunities for you to get involved in campus sustainability initiatives. Our interdisciplinary networks of community-builders and disruptors influence positive paradigm shifts and drive innovation. Explore our progress across Research; Teaching & Learning and Student Experience; and Campus and Community Impact. Together, we champion sustainability to make the world a better place for present and future generations

Talk to us about: Student volunteer programs, Campus as a Learning Lab, and the campus community garden

A number of pan-Canadian networks have formed in recent years to enhance opportunities for collaboration, enrich mutually beneficial community-campus relationships and to deepen a shared commitment to community engagement. These networks include the Canadian Pilot Cohort - Carnegie Pilot and Community Campus Engage Canada (CCEC). A number of post-secondary institutions including University of Calgary (UCalgary) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) are actively engaged in these networks and are leading other key initiatives with their diverse communities, such as SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement and Community Engaged Research Initiative.

Talk to us about: Canadian framework for community engagement, Community-campus partnerships, Community-engaged research at SFU 

United Way of Calgary and Area operates within a strong network of social services to build a connected system of community supports so everyone has access to programs and services when they need them, guaranteeing daily assistance for our community’s most vulnerable people.