History of CUE at UVic

View this chart for a brief overview of the history of community-university engagement (CUE) at UVic. 

The University of Victoria (UVic) has a long history and a reputation of excellence in community-university engagement (CUE). At UVic, CUE is a term that describes the intentional relationship between a university and its larger community. One of UVic’s first formal CUE gatherings took place in 2005, which included over 150 faculty members who self-identified as community-engaged scholars. The university’s commitment to civic engagement continued into 2006, when a consultation process was conducted with the local community, First Nations, government, and faculty. At that time, UVic established a CBR Task Force to assess CUE at the university. This was followed by the launch of The Office of Community-Based Research (OCBR) in 2007, co-chaired by Dr. Martin Taylor, Vice President Research, and Maureen Duncan, CEO of United Way of Greater Victoria. The OCBR was recognized nationally and internationally as a model structure for community-based research (CBR) as it was Canada’s first and only community-campus collaboration with a co-governed council. In 2008, UVic hosted CuExpo, the largest gathering focused on CUE in Canada at the time.

In 2011, UVic formed an ad hoc Civic Engagement Steering Committee to further discuss CUE at UVic in relation to knowledge mobilization, community-based research, student engagement and faculty policies. The committee interviewed major stakeholders and created an inventory of key engagement initiatives; the results were published in the Civic Engagement at the University of Victoria report in November 2012.

That same year, UVic updated the strategic plan, A Vision for the Future, which highlights UVic’s commitment to civic engagement (also referred to as community engagement) and community-based research. Also in 2012, a partnership between UVic and the Society for Participatory Research in Asia was created by the UNESCO Chair in Community-based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education.

UVic’s vision is “to be the Canadian University that best integrates outstanding scholarship, inspired teaching and real-life involvement. As members of a diverse and dynamic learning community, we challenge one another to become thoughtful, engaged citizens and leaders, prepared to contribute to the betterment of a rapidly changing global society.”

 – The University of Victoria Strategic Plan (2012), “Vision for the Future”

After the closing of OCBR in 2013, The Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community-University Engagement (ISICUE) was created by the Faculties of Social Sciences and Human and Social Development. In 2014, ISICUE launched the first CUVIC conference (a global conference on CUE) which continues to run as a biannual event. ISICUE continued to lead and support community engagement initiatives and mutually beneficial partnerships at UVic until May 2016, when the institute closed operations. ISICUE had several directors over its duration, including: Dr. Budd Hall, Dr. John Lutz, Dr. Leslie Brown, and Dr. Lenora Marcellus.

Several other significant CUE initiatives took place at UVic in 2013: the Office of Research Services created the Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization unit; the Vice President Academic and Provost (VPAC) created the role of Special Advisor on Community Engagement; the VPAC awarded the first Provost’s Engaged Scholar Award (now awarded annually to celebrate faculty who demonstrate a strong commitment to community-engaged research); UVic’s annual festival of research called Ideafest was created; and, the Community-Engaged Learning fund offered its first grants for curriculum development focused on community engagement.

In 2015, the Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE) was established and the VPAC created the role of Director of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement. Additionally, UVic’s first Research Strategic Plan was produced, which included CUE as a key focus.

The Office of Community-University Engagement (OCUE) officially began operating in July 2015. Following the great success of CUVIC 2014, UVic hosted CUVIC 2016, which focused on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action around Indigenous reconciliation.

Other noteworthy CUE initiatives that occurred at UVic in 2016 include: