University-Community Engagement from the Perspective of the University Populace

A Case Study of a Canadian University


  • Nathan Hall Brock University



community learning, higher education, policy, community partnerships, descriptive research


Researchers have long supported increased engagement between institutions of higher learning and the communities that exist beyond campuses. It has been suggested that universities, especially metropolitan core ones, can benefit from making concerted efforts to engage with surrounding communities in meaningful ways. Examining the efforts universities make to better engage with the community will help to inform future practice and hopefully lead to greater success and prevalence of university-community engagement. To that end, this study examined university-community engagement from the perspective of various constituencies that make up a university’s populace (e.g., students, faculty). Specifically, using a descriptive exploratory case study design, this research examined students, faculty, staff, and administrators’ perceptions regarding university-community engagement and awareness of community learning programs at one Canadian university, a decade after a university wide community engagement policy was instituted. Data was collected using an online survey which was completed by a self-selecting sample of participants from the university populace. The results expand on existing literature by providing perspective from the internal university populace regarding university-community engagement efforts. Furthermore, the study results provide insight into the awareness of and support for university-community engagement efforts among various university constituencies.

Author Biography

Nathan Hall, Brock University

My research and teaching are centered around physical literacy and physical education pedagogy. I am highly interested in novel physical activities and the benefits of getting children active outdoors, consequently a central focus of my present research is the incorporation of alternative environment activities (AEAs) in physical education programs. Other current research of mine includes examining the mental imagery use of physical educators, and developing physical literacy in early childhood. I am also the Past Chair for the PHE Canada Research Council. 


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