Community Engagement Research

It has now been 50 years since The University of Winnipeg (UW) was first chartered by the Province of Manitoba to offer undergraduate degrees. Much of that time has been characterized by efforts to become an institution that lives up to its mission by enabling marginalized youth to flourish and enjoy the benefits of a university education. Understandings of what it means for the University to commit to both academic excellence and meaningful access have changed in the course of learning how best to engage students who are underrepresented in university admissions and graduation rates. Given its inner-city location in a city with the largest Indigenous urban population in Canada, the University has been in a key position to focus on engaging with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth, along with youth from other communities that are disproportionately likely to experience poverty and unlikely to pursue university education.

In anticipation of its 50th anniversary, and the occasion it would afford to reflect on what has been accomplished and how to reshape our efforts, the University successfully applied for a SSHRC research grant to undertake a study of a representative range of the institutions’ many initiatives to engage educationally marginalized students: those who for a variety of reasons (most often socioeconomic) have not had other students’ opportunity to flourish in their K–12 educations, making them less likely to seek a university education and less likely to succeed when they do. A multidisciplinary research team of ten professors from Arts, Education, and Kinesiology was assembled to lead studies of various initiatives using a range of methods, but focusing especially on interviewing and surveying the youth who participated in one or more of the initiatives and the university personnel who developed and implemented them.

The following list of sub-projects each focus on different aspects of UW's initiatives. (You can download the full report here.)

"Introduction: From Student Access to Community Engagement" by Catherine Taylor

"Access and Excellence: The Writing Program Then and Now" by Jennifer Clary-Lemon

"Successes and Challenges of the University of Winnipeg Education Centre (WEC)" by Paul DePasquale and Doris Wolf

"Beyond Access to Inclusion: The Axworthy Years 2004-2014" by Lloyd Axworthy, Linda DeRiviere, and Jennifer Rattray

"Leaning into Discomfort: Understanding Marginalized Children and Youth Through Service Learning" by Lee Anne Block

"Campus Climate for 2SLGBTQ* Students, Staff, and Faculty at UWinnipeg" by Heather Milne, Christopher Campbell, Catherine Taylor, and Larissa Wodtke

"Engaging Marginalized Members of the Community in the Axworthy Health & RecPlex" by Nathan Hall and David Telles-Langdon

"We Are All Relations: An Indigenous Course Requirement (ICR) as Part of a Good Way to Reconciliation" by Helen Lepp Friesen

"The Awareness and Opinions of the University of Winnipeg Populace in Regard to the University Community Access and Engagement Initiatives" by Nathan Hall

Research was funded by SSHRC Aid to Small Universities Program (2014 competition, Grant 681-2014-0024).

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