Let’s Be Creative: Let’s Destroy the University

Behind the Numbers, a blog for CCPA, posted an article titled “Let’s Be Creative: Let’s Destroy the University”. The articles discuss how technological advancements such as the internet and in turn, online courses by leading professors and researchers, has changed universities for the past 20 years. However, institutions, organizations such as OECD, and magazines such as The Economist, are still behind this “revolution”. The article also discusses the issues with research grants and publications. This “funding or famine” predicament may ultimately lead to falsified results, the use of selective data, or less rigorous research.

Please visit: http://behindthenumbers.ca/2014/08/26/lets-be-creative-lets-destroy-the-university/ for the short article!



Calculating the Living Wage: Webinar for local communities

Save the date!

The Living Wage for Families Campaign has received more than three dozen requests from communities around BC (and across western Canada) asking how the local living wage can be calculated. To help the living wage movement grow, you are invited to join us for a free one-hour webinar on how the Living Wage for Families calculates the annual living wage, and to learn how you can adopt this methodology to use in your own community.

Join us Tuesday, September 9th, from 12 PM to 1 PM PDT.

  • Iglika Ivanova of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (BC Office) will walk through the data required to develop a local table of family expenses and show how to use the living wage calculation spreadsheet to calculate the living wage in your community; Iglika does the annual calculation for the Metro Vancouver living wage.
  • Adrienne Montani of First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and Catherine Ludgate of the Living Wage for Families Campaign (employer recognition) will provide a history of the Campaign and some suggestions for how to find a local host to make the annual calculations; First Call is the host for the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

Register for the webinar here. We’ll send information on how to connect to the webinar closer to the dates.

If you have any questions, please contact Catherine Ludgate at info@livingwageforfamilies.ca.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT

Poverty Reduction Highlights- Mary MacKeigan: One Woman’s Impact on Poverty

Name: Mary MacKeigan


Years with Opportunities Waterloo Region: 10 years
Position: Executive Director

Years with CFICE: 2 years (since inception)
Position with CFICE: Poverty Reduction Hub- Project Partner

Background experience/education: B.A., Social Services Honours Diploma, over 25 years working in the social service field; and first-hand experience of living in different forms of poverty.

Primary Contributions


Opportunities Waterloo Region initiated   ‘Shifting Societal Attitudes towards People Living in Poverty’ in 2007. We brought together community leaders from across Canada to explore what we could do to address this complex problem. The planning partners developed a strategy to examine deep-seated attitudes people hold towards individuals in poverty and develop a comprehensive, long-term plan to shift these mindsets in order to inform policy.

Because of a long-term partnership commitment between Dr. Terry Mitchell, of Wilfred Laurier University, and I, at Opportunities Waterloo Region, research was able to commence in 2011. The beginning phase focused solely on the student population. In the winter of 2012, aided by the CFICE partnership, we shared the initial results, a summary of the Phase 1 research, with the community. Our most important finding to date – students’ attitudes had in fact shifted during the initial research- creating lots of excitement about the implications for the project’s future.

Continuing involvement with CFICE in 2013, the project partners received aid to broaden the scope of the research, including a larger portion of the public. This has included further data analysis, research instrument modification, and conducting online surveys. The next step is to develop workshop material that will share research findings and act as a mobilizing agent for deeper conversations within various sectors of government and community.

Conference Presentations & Publications:

1. MacKeigan, M., Mitchell, T., Stovold, A., Wiese J., and Sayal, R. (May 2014). ‘The Community Responsive University’. Integrated and Engaged Learning Conference; Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, ON.

2. Schwartz, K., Pei, N., Galloway, B., MacKeigan, M., (March 2014). ‘Models of Community Campus Partnerships’. Vibrant Communities Canada Gathering; Toronto, ON.

3. MacKeigan, M., Weise, J., Mitchell, T., Loomis, C. (September 2013). ‘Shifting Societal Attitudes towards poverty: Phase 1 Research Findings- Attitudes of University Students in Ontario, Canada’ Opportunities Waterloo Region.

4. Schwartz, K., Weaver, L., MacKeigan, M., Farnsworth, R., Leonard, P. (June 2013). ‘Campus Community Partnerships to Reduce Poverty’. CU Expo 2013; Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

5. MacKeigan, M., Mitchell, T., Wiese, J., Stovold, A., Loomis, C. (May 2013). ‘Shifting Societal Attitudes Towards People Living in Poverty’. 10th Annual Community Conversation Series.

6. MacKeigan, M., Mitchell, T., Schwartz, K., Farnsworth, R., Galloway, B., (Fall 2012). Explaining the CFICE Partnership. McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.

What motivated you to get involved with CFICE?

Opportunities Waterloo Region was approached by the Poverty Reduction Hub’s community co-lead, Liz Weaver, because of the unique partnership research model with Laurier University and our attempt to shift attitudes towards poverty as a way to impact policy. It was an exciting opportunity to partner with a national initiative that aims to increase community strength by learning from the hub projects, to develop best practices for community-university partnerships. An unexpected but welcome outcome of this partnership was the injection of some project funding by CFICE. This funding strengthened our resources allowing for further research and increased outcomes.

What has been your greatest achievement with the project?

The research process has led to the revelation that the act of shifting attitudes might be achieved by advocating for mandatory poverty-related education at all levels, awareness-raising, and using the initial research findings to stimulate deeper community conversations with government and community sectors, rather than needing to completely understand what these deep attitudes are. Another exciting outcome surfaced when a perspective-taking research instrument was used for the second phase of the research. It provided me with a new tool with which to experiment when attempting to shift attitudes through experiential learning.   The research information turned out to be more of a catalyst for shifting practices and policy by stimulating people’s thinking to explore on a deeper level and engage in reflective conversations.

How are you hoping to use this in the future?

Waterloo Region has an upcoming municipal election; I am working on developing a toolkit that will aid community leaders in implementing a workshop in which municipal candidates will be invited to attend. This workshop will enable us to stimulate deeper conversations with municipal candidates about societal attitudes towards people living in poverty. I wish to bring these reflections into the realm of conscious awareness in politics and the public. The goal is to positively influence outcomes that will truly benefit those of us who have the least in our society by providing elected officials a moment’s pause to reflect on what attitudes are motivating their decision-making. Ultimately, I hope communities will find the research useful to their goals of shifting public attitudes in order to change voting behaviour.

It is also hoped that other communities will use this or a similar strategy during the 2015 federal elections to bring the conversation about attitudes towards poverty to the national level. And I certainly hope that other community leaders from across Canada will use the research.


Guide to policy engagement and influence

For those who are team leaders, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and analysts, or other communication specialists, this guide may be useful to increase policy engagement and influence. This guide uses the ROMA cycle, which is a full system approach, as opposed to a step-by-step methodology. Perhaps most important, there is a process of constant reflection and learning throughout this approach. ROMA is also scalable. For example,  it can be applied to a small intervention, such as the promotion of research findings during an international event, or to a large multi-year programme or campaign to bring about changes in a particular sector.

Click here for the full guide! Thanks to Anne Middleton for passing the guide along.

Have your say on Community Knowledge

What:  Community Foundations Canada hosting a twitter chat on community knowledge exchange August 28, 2014 at  12 Noon EDT.

What’s a Twitter chat? People with a shared interest in  a question meet virtually in twitter to share and learn.

How do I do it?  Sign into twitter at noon, search for  #KMbchat

Why would I do it?  We’re about community first and this conversation is focused on community, community knowledge exchange.  You can participate actively in the conversation or just observe.  If you’re new to twitter you can observe this unique use of the 140 character limit to engage in dialogue.

Background posting: Who’s Incentives and who’s rewards?  David Phipps

Hope to see/read you there.




Job Opportunity for Service-Learning Practitioners – University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba is expanding its service-learning offerings, and will soon be hiring a Service-Learning Coordinator to help meet demand. The Service-Learning Coordinator will join our existing service-learning staff on a term contract, and will work on both local and international co-curricular service-learning programs. The ideal candidate will have previous experience in international development, service-learning, and/or higher education. A full position description will be posted to the University of Manitoba’s central Human Resources website by August 15th, 2014. Applicants are asked to submit applications through this system, at: http://umanitoba.ca/admin/human_resources/employment/3446.html. Please contact Susie Taylor, Lead Service Learning Coordinator, at susie_taylor@umanitoba.cawith any questions.