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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
July 25, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Integrated and Engaged Learning Conference 2015

Exploring Community Impact on Higher Education


Keynotes/Plenary | Schedule & Program | Contacts

Laurier's national Integrated and Learning Conference was held on May 6 - 7, 2015 in Waterloo, Ontario.


Laurier's IELC brings together the various partners, both within an institution and external (faculty, staff,students and community members), involved in providing an educational experience that engages students deeply in their learning. Last year's conference enjoyed participation from over 200 delegates, more than one-third of whom came from institutions across Canada.

About our Theme
Community engagement in post-secondary education has traditionally focused on programs such as internships, cooperative education and, more recently, service-learning. Not only have these programs helped to bridge the divide between post-secondary institutions and the communities that surround theme but they have also provided more opportunities for experiential learning that looks to connect theoretical knowledge with its practical application. Post-secondary institutions are increasingly aware that to remain relevant requires a rethinking of their relationship with community, broadening the appreciation of its importance, developing more meaningful partnerships, and creating outcomes that reflect the reciprocal needs of community institutions and students.

This conference explored various ways that community impacts on higher education, assisting in enhancing and transforming teaching and learning through encouraging meaningful conversations and building awareness of the power of community engagement. It  explored community at a broad level: considering the community that gets created within institutions, the community within which institutions are embedded, and the global realities that impact at local levels in today's more connected world. The conference featured concurrent sessions as well as keynote speakers and panels for faculty, staff, students, administrators and external community partners. We took an integrated and engaged approach to these questions, joining community groups with faculty, staff, and students in exploring how this connection is being created and considering the impact on higher education.

Some of the issues/questions explored included the following:

  • Embedding community partners into course delivery in order to promote social and individual outcomes, such as social responsibility, an awareness and appreciation of diversity, collaboration, and self-awareness.
  • Building community through a core curriculum: reflecting on the benefits to academic development of students, in disciplinary  study and as active learners, through interdisciplinary core programs.
  • Developing reciprocal benefits and impact through experimental learning within the community.
  • What is the impact of students' diverse life experiences, bodies, values and beliefs on the classroom and how does that transform the interactions, curricula and practices of higher education?
  • The impact of diversity - locally regionally, and nationally - in shaping conversations and awareness in higher education at the program and course level.
  • What communities within higher education are effective in promoting the holistic development in students.
  • How do we build communities within the classroom that promote student engagement?
  • The role of social, political, and economic landscapes in shaping program development and institutional change in higher education.
  • The impact of donor funding on research, program development, and course structure.
  • The use of public lecture series as a way of developing mutual learning between community members, students, faculty and institutions.

Registration was affordable at $100 ($50 for Laurier faculty and staff; $10 for students). Bursaries were available for students who registered in the conference. Registration included full conference program and materials, all refreshments, two lunches and reception.

Conference Program

Please join us each year as we showcase and share our collective experience, innovation, and achievement in improving the quality of undergraduate and graduate education.

Wilfrid Laurier University sits on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples