Skip to main content

BC Library Conference 2017

April 19–21, 2017

Vancouver, BC

T08 - Are We Engaged? Academic Libraries and Off-Campus Communities as Partners in Life

Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 11:00 AM–12:15 PM PDT
Salon C
Session Description

Generously Sponsored By: The Irving K Barber Learning Centre

Community engagement is a strategic direction for many post-secondary institutions. But what does it mean and what is the role for academic libraries? This session will bring together a panel of experts from the University of BC, the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University, to frame the organizational context that guides the community engagement efforts of libraries. The vision for the session is to initiate more collaboration between libraries and campus-level offices of community engagement. It will include an interactive component with the audience.

Panel members will highlight community engagement models and activities at each university and will discuss the tricky parts of ensuring meaningful and valuable partnerships with communities in order to ensure results that make a positive difference, working together to address issues faced by those who live off-campus.

The last part of the session will be interactive between panelists and the audience, framed around three topics: 1) open access and open learning; 2) co-development of library collections with community partners; and 3) ethics.

On the panel will be Deb Zehr, UBC's Director of Community Engagement; Dr. Norah McCrae, UVic's Director of the Office of Community University Engagement; Dr. Am Johal, SFU Vancouver’s Director, Community Engagement (Vancity Office of Community Engagement); and Dr. Stephen Dooley, SFU Surrey’s Executive Director, Campus Administration.
It will be convened by Gordon Yusko, Assistant Director, Community Engagement at UBC Library's Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.


Dr. Norah McCrae, University of Victoria, Office of Community University Engagement

Dr. Norah McRae was awarded the 2016 Dr. Albert S. Barber Award from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE). This award recognizes Dr. McRae’s continuous outstanding contribution to the advancement of co-operative education (co-op) in Canada, as well as a commitment to quality and excellence, and a deep knowledge of co-operative education that she shares with her colleagues from coast to coast.

Since beginning her career in co-op at the University of Victoria (UVic) in 1992, Dr. McRae has written and contributed to numerous papers and given dozens of presentations about best practices in work-integrated learning with colleagues from across Canada and around the world. Under her guidance, UVic’s Co-operative Education Program has adopted a competency-based framework that encourages students’ reflective learning, developed a consistent professional practice course for all co-op students, and created an online curriculum of more than 100 career-related resources that help students excel at everything from work search and career development to intercultural competence.

Deb Zehr, University of British Columbia, Community Partnerships

Deb Zehr joined the University of British Columbia in 2013 as Director, Community Partnership within the portfolio of the Vice President, External Relations. She has held numerous senior management and leadership roles in the not-for-profit sector and government, with responsibilities ranging from policy development and federal/provincial relations to operations and stakeholder relations.

Most recently, Deb was the Executive Director, Immigrant Integration Branch and Welcome BC within the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, where she was responsible for the design and implementation of settlement, integration, and immigrant labour market services in BC. These services were delivered by more than 100 sector partners across the province. From 2003 to 2009, Deb was the Executive Director of Immigration Policy and Intergovernmental Relations with the BC provincial government, which included the negotiations of the 2004 and 2010 Canada British Columbia Immigration Agreements.

Deb came to BC from Winnipeg in 2003, following four years as Director of Immigration Promotion and Recruitment with the Manitoba government, where she led the development and implementation of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (provincial selection of economic immigrants), the first program of its kind in Canada. Prior to moving to the provincial government, Deb worked for nine years at a community-based organization in Manitoba. Deb has a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Manitoba.

Gordon Yusko, UBC Library Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Gordon Yusko joined the UBC Library team in March 2012, after a decade in Silicon Valley as a member of the senior management group of the San José Public Library (SJPL). Together with San José State University, SJPL operates the largest joint academic/public library in North America. While there, he participated in a range of innovative initiatives, including the redesign of community programming and the design of five new branch libraries. He co-managed the jointly run Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and had an oversight role for the public library’s $10 million acquisitions budget.

Prior to working in California, Gordon was a Library Consultant for the Province of BC, with liaison responsibilities in the West and East Kootenay regions and the Sunshine Coast. Earlier in his career he was a reference librarian at the BC Legislative Library in Victoria.

Gordon focuses on enhancement of the Learning Centre’s and UBC Library’s community engagement efforts through innovative programs and partnerships, both off and on campus. He provides leadership and management of community engagement programs and initiatives and also collaborates in overseeing the Learning Centre’s physical environment.

Dr. Stephen Dooley, Simon Fraser University

As SFU Surrey campus director, Steve sits at a number of community partnership tables, including the City of Surrey’s Social Policy Advisory Committee, the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition (co-chair), the Local Immigration Partnership, the planning secretariat of Innovation Boulevard and the Surrey Healthier Community Partnership.

Dr. Am Johal, Simon Fraser University

Am Johal is director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, within the SFU Woodward’s Cultural Unit. He's a board member with the Vancity Community Foundation and a member of the steering committee for SFU's Centre for Dialogue.