Alumni & Friends - Ways to get involved and give back

Community Partnerships & Engagement Approach

Over the past several years, U of T Scarborough has begun shifting our institutional culture so that faculty, staff, and students see themselves as civic actors within the larger community. We have co-developed, with our community partners, The East Scarborough Storefront, a unique and successful reciprocal learning community development approach that has tremendous potential for transformational change, locally and profound implications for community/university work across the country. The reciprocal-learning community development approach is a collection of principles and practices that focus on the university and community understanding each other's needs and values and creating place-based action plans that meet both pedagogical needs and local social change agendas.

Our work is directed by a number of drivers that are essential to meeting our goals of reciprocal learning and community development:

  • A Vibrant, Accessible, Safe Community
  • Place-based Community & Impact Investing
  • Influencing Other Anchors or Other Drivers of Post-Secondary Education
  • Arts & Culture
  • Sustainability
  • Economic Impact
  • Inclusive, Local Employment & Hiring
  • Inclusive, Local Sourcing

These drivers are based on the reports, Cities Building Community Wealth and Higher Education’s Anchor Mission: Measuring Place-Based Engagement, published in 2017 by The Democracy Collaborative.

 

What makes our approach unique...

Not overly predictive

We focus on the process and allow for fluidity of the process/relationship/community to drive the direction of the community partnership

Reciprocity & Listening

We don't study the community like an organism in a Petri dish, we co-create solutions through the exchanging of knowledge with the community; we value community knowledge and experiences and understand that learning happens both ways. We listen to understand, not to respond, this allows us to connect the dots and identify partnership opportunities

Know the History

We take the time to understand and learn the history of the communities with which we partner. Faculty, staff and students live in these communities and therefore have a great appreciation and understanding of the dynamics

Conversations

We are actively involved on community tables and have built relationships with our community partners. We don’t show up only when we need something, we have conversations when there are no asks on the table and develop strong reciprocal relationships

We are actively involved on community tables and have built relationships with our community partners. We don’t show up only when we need something, we have conversations when there are no asks on the table and develop strong reciprocal relationships

Not Top Down

We do not parachute in, extract data and then leave, we co-create and engage in community participatory-action based and community-based research

Learn from Doing

We allow the process to work for us, we learn from what we are doing, from what the community is doing and together with community partners create the appropriate initiatives that benefit both the community and campus

Realizing Your Relevancy

We support and encourage both internal and external partners to look beyond borders and across disciplines and sectors for partnership connections

We Invest in People

We have invested in staff positions that help to navigate community development from the institutional perspective. These administrative positions are linked to the campus’ strategic affairs office, allowing for an institutional understanding, culture and perspective to be considered