News > Job Opportunity: Community Engaged Learning Specialist

Job Opportunity: Community Engaged Learning Specialist

posted on September 5, 2019
University of Calgary

Job Title: Community-Engaged Learning Specialist

Faculty/Admin Area: Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning 

This position is part of the AUPE bargaining unit, and falls under the Specialist/Advisor Job Family, Phase II.

To find out more about opportunities at the University of Calgary, view our Management and Staff Careers website

Closing Date: September 17, 2019

Link to Job Profile and to Apply

Nature of the Work:

This position reports to the Senior Specialist Experiential Learning (EL) with accountabilities to the Director, Experiential Education (EE) in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning (TI).

The Specialist, Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) is embedded in a growing team that supports the expansion and enhancement of EL at the University of Calgary. This role requires experience in various forms of EL, but the primary focus is developing a strong foundation for Community-Engaged Learning at UCalgary. As such, candidates require progressive experience supporting students, community partners and academic staff in CEL. This position requires a high level of collaboration with other members of the EE Team, staff/academic staff within the TI and across the University of Calgary, as well as EL partners from industry, non-profit and government sectors.

The interdisciplinary nature of this work requires flexibility, adaptability, and reflective practices to address the needs of a variety of audiences and initiatives. In this position, the staff member will work in an open-office environment to encourage collaboration. Due to the nature of the work, this position will require the candidate to visit host partners for EL, located throughout the Calgary region. A valid driver’s license and access to a reliable vehicle is recommended. This is a term-limited position (18 months).

The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning is dedicated to strengthening teaching and learning cultures, communities and practices. The Institute supports the teaching development of instructors, promotes high-impact student experiences such as experiential learning and undergraduate research, ensures the meaningful integration of learning technologies, and fosters research to better understand and improve student learning.  The Taylor Institute works to facilitate conversations, build communities, link networks, and catalyze a culture of evidence and practice-based teaching and learning across the University. Its mandate embodies the University’s three foundational commitments of sharpening focus on research and scholarship, enriching the quality and breadth of learning, and fully integrating the university with the community.

The TI is committed to supporting the implementation of the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii' taa' poh' to' p and to build relationships with people from Treaty 7 & and Metis Region III. The candidate will be committed to shifting the University and the TI culture to increase Indigenous perspective and worldviews in teaching and learning practice. Experience supporting community dialogue and campus engagement, with universities, Indigenous communities and community stakeholders would be an asset.

Primary Purpose of the Position:

The Specialist (CEL) positively contributes to the EE Team’s work in supporting the expansion and enhancement of EL. The Specialist also contributes to the TI’s work enhancing teaching and learning capacity across campus through evidence-informed practices and developing relationships across the University of Calgary.

The Specialist (CEL) contributes to the TI’s understanding of the current and future needs of the academic community, student learners, administrators and partners in EL by reviewing processes and practices for scaling EL in a large, research-intensive institution, as well as by staying current with the relevant literature in Experiential Learning, Community-Engaged Learning/Service-Learning and Work-Integrated Learning. The Specialist is highly connected with community partners as well as EL educators at UCalgary and across Canada, and leverages these connections to enhance practices and build relationships for CEL. The Specialist is often a first point of contact between the university and community, and as such, plays a critical role in identifying opportunities for collaboration for Community-Engaged Learning courses. In an effort to advance campus-community partnerships across the institution, where a project is not a fit for CEL, the Specialist facilitates connections between community and other units on campus.    

This is a term-limited role focused on developing a strong foundation to academic units and the Taylor Institute to support CEL (and other forms of EL) going forward. This position assumes the primary responsibility for brokering relationships for CEL projects and developing resources, training and other supports to facilitate CEL as it becomes an emerging practice across the university. In addition to researching and developing resources for CEL partners, the Specialist develops resources and tools to support students learning in and with community.

Qualifications/Expertise Required:

  1. A postsecondary degree is required, preferably a master’s degree with a focus on adult education, social work, community development or instructional design (a combination of experience and education will be considered). A clear progression in responsibility over time as well as demonstrated leadership in program coordination is required.
  2. Three or more years of progressive experience supporting teaching and learning, student engagement and/or career development in higher education is required; equivalent experience supporting campus-community partnerships from the non-profit sector will be considered.
  3. Experience teaching, administering, developing and/or supporting EL activities in an academic setting required.
  4. Demonstrated excellence and accuracy in written and oral communication and presentation skills are required, including writing for a variety of audiences (students, staff, academic staff and external partners) involved with various levels of the organization and university community.  Experience with technical or professional writing considered an asset.
  5. A proven ability to foster collaboration and build mutually-beneficial partnerships is required. Must be tactful and diplomatic and demonstrate the ability to work with/build consensus among diverse audiences (students, community partners, staff, academic staff) is required. Formal training in group facilitation and/or conflict resolution and asset.
  6. Strong understanding of the literature and theory related to Experiential Education and Community-Engaged Learning (or Service-Learning) required.
  7. Proven experience contributing to the design and development of educational resources.
  8. Experience working with community (industry, non-profit and/or government) partners in an Experiential Learning context is required. Experience working within the non-profit sector is considered an asset.
  9. Understanding of the pedagogy and practice of experiential learning, including demonstrated contributions to the development of learning outcomes, assessment strategies, and critical reflection prompts and activities.
  10. Knowledge of University of Calgary culture, context, and strategic plans considered an asset.
  11. Knowledge of EL programing across Canada (required) and at the University of Calgary (an asset).
  12. Highly skilled in interpersonal, organizational, communication, critical thinking, problem solving.
  13. Demonstrated ability to lead projects and initiatives related to teaching and learning and/or campus-community partnerships, required.
  14. Strong ability to incorporate theory, scholarly evidence and best practices in one’s work.
  15. Demonstrated ability to determine their work-related priorities and deadlines for the purpose of achieving collaborative team and individual project plans.
  16. Strong demonstrated understanding of pedagogical theories and evidence-informed learning and instructional design practices in an university context.
  17. Evidence of personal leadership, self-motivation, self-direction, and an ability to work independently and as part of a team, required.
  18. Demonstrated commitment to fostering the development of expertise in teaching and learning to promote continuous learning and improvement.
  19. Proven ability to perform comfortably and effectively in a fast paced, highly complex environment with multiple projects, a high degree of independence, and competing deadlines.
  20. Enthusiasm and passion for teaching and learning in higher education, required.
  21. Knowledge of University of Calgary academic programs and procedures is an asset

Accountabilities/Tasks and Duties:

The Specialist’s role is divided across four key areas: 1) Resources & supports for partners and students in CEL; 2) Relationship building with community partners; 3) Relationship building with EL educators; and 4) contributing to future planning for EL at UCalgary.

Resources and supports for community/industry partners and students in CEL (30%)

The Specialist (CEL) plays a key role in developing practices, processes and resources to support Community-Engaged Learning including preparing partners to serve as mentors to students, and preparing students to learn from a community-based experience.

  1. Leading the development of resources and materials related to campus-community partnerships for EL, skills development and student engagement in a higher education setting.
  2. Developing online and print-based resources to support evidence-informed learning, instructional and course design approaches and practices
  3. Designing, developing, facilitating training and orientation for community partners in Experiential Learning, and periodically reviewing the efficacy of this training.
  4. Reviewing literature, networking with other staff at other Canadian universities around best practices for campus-community partnerships
  5. Reviewing literature, networking with other staff at other Canadian universities around best practices for supporting students learning through service-learning, community-engaged learning, community-based research and experiential learning.
  6. Compiling documents and information on practices across campus for partnership development, risk mitigation and impact assessment, and making recommendations for processes and resources going forward.
  7. Identifying, reviewing and/or developing resources (print, electronic, in-person, modular) to prepare partners to mentor students through CEL projects.
  8. Supporting data collection and analysis related to UCalgary’s participation in the Canadian Pilot Cohort for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
  9. Staying current with scholarly literature and evidence-based practices and citing appropriate scholarly resources to appropriately link current scholarly research related to EL to programs, project plans, and
  10. Implementing current research in the areas of higher education, experiential education, skills development and student engagement into daily tasks.

Relationship building with EL community partners (30%)

The Specialist (CEL) is the primary staff member on the EE Team responsible for fostering community-partnerships for EL. This staff member works closely with the Senior Specialist, Experiential Learning to create strategies and timelines for meeting the partnership needs for upcoming EL and CEL courses. A key project in this term-limited position is developing a system for managing partnerships for EL and managing EL projects using the new EL management platform. This team member also prepares UCalgary for scaling up EL by developing resources and practices for preparing community partners to support students, reviewing community-based project ideas, and recognizing community partners and exceptional student work.

  1. Fostering and developing community partnerships for student placements and serving as a liaison with community partners. Performing site visits, ensuring ongoing communication between sites and the University, and responding to evaluations and feedback to ensure mutual benefit for host sites and students.
  2. Cultivating and maintaining strong, reciprocal relationships with community partners, as well as other leaders in EL on campus including staff supporting Campus as a Learning Lab and the Urban Alliance.
  3. Develops and facilitates community partners’ orientation to CEL/working with students and provides ongoing support to community partners through CEL projects. 
  4. Ensuring risk management measures and processes are followed to satisfy compliance with internal and external best practices, policies and laws.
  5. Leading and engaging with the development of learning resources and materials related to higher education, EL, skills development and student engagement, approaches and
  6. Evaluating one’s own gaps in knowledge related to EL and developing a plan to continuously learn and improve, in order to meet the on-going needs of the academic community and

Relationship building with EL educators (20%)

In addition to supporting community partners for CEL, the Specialist consults with academic staff around the needs in their classrooms for EL or CEL projects or activities and facilitates the integration of EL into academic courses. The Specialist plays a key role in further developing relationships between the TI and other areas working in Community-Engaged Learning including but not limited to: Haskayne School of Business, Faculty of Arts, Werklund School of Education, Cumming School of Medicine (Community Engagement Local & Global), the Office of Sustainability (Campus as a Learning Lab) and the Urban Alliance (Office of the Vice-President, Research). The Specialist (Community-Engaged Learning) seeks to foster positive relationships with staff/academic staff across campus to advance evidence-based teaching and build understanding of high-quality EL and CEL. The candidate plays a critical role in fostering reciprocal relationships between the TI and the faculties and seeks to structure conversations and communications with project partners in a way that is inviting and honours partners’ expertise in EL and CEL.

  1. Cultivating relationships between departments and administrative units inside the University, and with community organizations, public agencies, and the private sector, to expand and enhance EL and CEL.
  2. Consulting with individuals across the academic community from a variety of disciplines to design, customize and facilitate activities/programs, and develop or customize resources related to EL and CEL.
  3. Ensuring appropriate levels of diplomacy are employed to inform and educate faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and staff about possibilities for best practice in EL and CEL.
  4. Facilitating presentations for academic and non-academic staff on incorporating EL and CEL into the curriculum
  5. Maintaining a local awareness of relevant programs, opportunities and services offered through the EE team and TI to academic and non-academic staff, graduate students, and postdoctoral
  6. Compiling examples of EL and CEL activities and projects, critical reflection and learning activities in EL courses across the disciplines (from UCalgary and other postsecondary institutions).
  7. Identifies, reviews and/or develops resources (print, electronic, modular format) to be used by academic staff in order to prepare students for learning through experience.
  8. Contributing actively to the (future) Community of Practice (CoP) for Experiential Learning educators and the (future) CoP for Alberta administrators of Community-Engaged Learning

Contribute to future planning for scaling EL at UCalgary (20%)

Together with other members of the EE Team, the Specialist (CEL) plays a critical role in supporting ongoing planning to enhance and expand EL (including CEL) at UCalgary. The core function of this termed position is to establish strong practices and resources for increasing the number and quality of partnerships and projects for Community-Engaged Learning in the curriculum.

  1. Reviewing process and practices at UCalgary and other postsecondary institutions and making recommendations for EL and CEL at UCalgary in areas including but not limited to: relationship development, risk management and insurance, critical reflection, partner orientation, student preparation and impact assessment.
  2. Supporting the implementation of a campus-wide platform to support EL including the training of other campus educators and administrators, collaborating with the EL Platform Working Group and IT to design system processes that support the scaling of CEL.
  3. Supporting program evaluation of EL (especially CEL) projects and initiatives and making recommendations to revise processes and resources for the future.
  4. Supporting the program enhancement and relationship building by collecting ongoing feedback about campus-community collaborations for EL; working in partnership with the Specialist (Evaluation, Metrics & Support) to evaluate the impact of CEL/EL, preparing reports and share findings with internal and external stakeholders with a goal of program improvement.
  5. Telling the story of experiential learning at UCalgary, including supporting tracking EL participation and CEL partnerships, contributing to annual reporting and highlighting initiatives, people or partnerships for the EL website and other media.

Other duties may be assigned as required.

Occupational Health & Safety:

  1. Understands and complies with the requirements of the University's Occupational Health and Safety Policy
  2. Has knowledge of and understands the expectations of the University's Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) and applicable Faculty/Departmental/Unit specific health and safety policies and procedures
  3. Ensures that all work conducted is in accordance with the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code and other health and safety legislation as applicable