The York University

Title of Proposal

The York University – TD Community Engagement Centre: Stepping Out, Stepping Up

Presenter Name(s)

Lesley Beagrie, Associate Dean, Faculty of Health, York University
Sue Levesque, Executive Director, York University – TD Community Engagement Centre (CEC)
Yvette Munro, CEC Executive Committee, York Co-chair
Cheryl Prescod – Director, Black Creek Community Health Centre
Barry Rieder – Community Minister, Jane Finch Community Ministry
Brenda Spotton Visano, Professor, Dept of Economics, Faculty of LA&PS
Varun Vig, CEC Executive Committee, Community Co-chair


In September 2008 York opened the York University – TD Community Engagement Centre (CEC), a pan-university teaching, research and resource centre located in a shopping mall at the North West corner of Jane and Finch. This satellite campus affords York a physical presence in a vibrant community setting where mutual goals are identified and pursued. The York University-TD Community Engagement Centre seeks to build capacity in the local community and at York by strengthening collaboration and resource-sharing. The Cente’s practice is to promote Community Engaged Scholarship through enriching our teaching and research collaborations while simultaneously working to reduce or eliminate barriers to full participation in post-secondary education.

The establishment of the York University – TD Community Engagement Centre (CEC) has proven to be an effective strategy that promotes institutional change by: 1. enabling pan- University collaboration and innovation with respect to Community Engaged Scholarship (CES); 2. offering an opportunity to better align University teaching and research activity with community needs; and 3) facilitating community/university dialogue leading to increased mutual understanding and transformation. This paper will begin with an overview of the CEC as a CES enabling strategy, presented by the community/university co-chairs of our executive committee. The presentation will then focus on two examples of CES enabled by the CEC: a) a community finance project with financial literacy and micro lending components and b) an inter professional education project using student teams from law, social work and nursing to support residents who are appealing unsuccessful applications for ODSP benefits. Both examples will be presented by York and community partners. This paper will illustrate and elaborate upon themes presented by Rhonda Lenton in her address on “Strategies for Institutional Change” insofar as it will provide illustrative examples of an innovative York strategy, from the community point of view, about the contributions that EE initiatives make in building community –that is, weaving together students, faculty and external community members toward achieving common goals.

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