Alumni Council Meeting – Volunteer Summit, Visit from Steve MacDonald

U of A Quad

U of A Quad

Below are a few notes from our final Alumni Council meeting of the year.

The Alumni Association will be hosting a Volunteer Summit in May. It’ll be a free event, open to the public, and will take place at the Alumni House on campus. Brief description:

Be a part of the U of A Alumni Association’s amazing 99-year history of volunteerism by participating in the first Alumni Volunteer Summit. The Volunteer Summit provides an opportunity to connect, enrich and educate the great U of A Alumni volunteers. Each session will feature an inspirational U of A alumnus to discuss community engagement, motivation and the ever changing role of social media.

Date and Time: Saturday, May 10, 2014 (8:30a.m. – 2 p.m)

Location: Alumni House (11515 Saskatchewan Dr.)

Cost: Free

Speakers include Fiona Cavanagh of the Centre for Public Involvement, Chris Tse of Blitz Conditioning and Joyce Yu from the U of A’s  Office of Advancement. More details, including the full program, can be found at the Alumni Association website.

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Alumni Council Meeting – Last Lecture, Dinners on Us, Crowdfunding, Visit from President Samarasekera

Rutherford House

Rutherford House

Here’s a recap of the our Alumni Council meeting last week.

Congratulations to Professor Robert Burch of the Department of Philosophy for being selected as the Last Lecturer for 2014.

Faculty have always played a significant role in the experience of students, making this series a great link between Alumni and their professors. From the U of A Alumni site:

The Last Lecture Series asks a speaker to answer one question in the form of an engaging public lecture: “If this were your last time to address a group of students, what would you say to them?” This is an opportunity for a favourite faculty member to share his or her reflections beyond the bounds of syllabus in a fun, informal setting.

Dr. Burch received the most votes cast by students and will be giving his lecture on April 9th.

We also learned about the Dinners on Us program here at the U of A. Alumni have the opportunity to invite a current students to their home and provide them with a home-cooked meal, using the best Ivy and Wilde homeware. It’s a great way for students to connect with the larger community, especially those that have travelled away from home. If you’re at all interested, check out the Dinners on Us website.

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Alumni Council Meeting – Alumni Pride Chapter, Research at UAlberta, Volunteer Events

ECHAHere’s a quick recap of the topics discussed at the latest Alumni Council meeting.

We learned about a new Alumni Pride Chapter here at the University of Alberta. From the Alumni and Friends website:

We are proposing to develop the Pride Chapter to provide opportunities for sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ) and allied alumni to meet, socialize, and support current students and LGBTQ programs on the U of A campuses. Collectively, we are committed to making the University of Alberta a more welcoming, inclusive and supportive place for all LGBTQ students, faculty and staff.

Dr. Lorne Babiuk, VP of Research at the U of A, provided the Council with some information on his department and answered questions about funding and priorities. To learn more, check out the UAlberta Research & Creative Activities website.

Dr. Babiuk noted that Alumni play a major role in the development of research. Not only can they tap into the many resources and programs available, but they also promote the U of A to those unfamiliar with the great research being done.

Worth noting that the Faculty of Extension continues making major contributions in the research world. For more information about the different institutes and centers, visit the Faculty of Extension website.

Council also discussed new ways to support and encourage volunteerism among Alumni. It’s been amazing to see the volunteer work done by Alumni as well as current students in the community. For more information about how you can get involved and make a difference, check out the Alumni & Friends Volunteer website.

Congrats to Council member, and MACT colleague, Glenn Kubish. His blog article, The Accidental Protester, which was published in New Trail Magazine, received a CASE award. More details can be found on the UAlberta Tumblr site.

Alumni Impact Report

impactreport-166The Alumni Impact Report was recently released to highlight the amazing work done by University of Alberta graduates around the world.

Highly recommend checking it out as it focuses on student success and the role the U of A has played in their lives.

You can read all of the content here at the New Trail website. Fantastic work by everyone involved!

Alumni Council Meeting – U of A’s Economic Impact, Alumni Weekend, Venture Mentoring Service

ualberta-wallpaper05-fall-campus-640Attended my first Alumni Council meeting this morning. Thought I’d share some of the highlights here.

Alumni Weekend was a huge draw this past week with numerous events being held to celebrate past graduates. For a recap of the events, check out the Alumni Association’s Storify feed.

The study that examined the impact that University of Alberta alumni have had on the economy is well worth a read. Lots of numbers got published in the past few weeks in the papers, but there’s more to the research worth looking at. Dr. Anthony Briggs, one of the authors of the article, gave the group some additional insight into the alumni’s innovation and entrepreneurship, including what factors played a role during their time on campus. The full article is available via New Trail.

I also liked Dr. Briggs’ assertion that the U of A can’t be viewed as a “vessel” for research and innovation, but rather, more as a catalyst. For example, students may not start up new companies while on campus, but down the road, they may put together their ideas for launch.

The U of A is also embarking on a new program that will connect experienced entrepreneurs with fellow U of A alumni looking for guidance. The Venture Mentoring Service is set to launch later this year and aims to replicate a successful program offered by MIT.

Update (2013, November 20th): U of A alumni start up service to mentor young entrepreneurs – The Gateway

I also want to point out the fantastic work being done by the University Wellness Services. The group promotes healthy living and offers support to students and does a great job reaching out to students. To learn more about the great initiatives they have going on, including the Heroes for Health project, visit their website.

University of Alberta Alumni Council

bigmenulogoHappy to announce I’ll be joining the University of Alberta Alumni Council! I’ll be the representative for the Faculty of Extension which includes all the programs including the MACT Program.

You can read more about the Council and their mandates on the main website.  It’s been great getting to know all the members, who are all very proud alumni looking to make a difference.

If you’d like to get involved, the Alumni Association is looking to record 2,015 alumni volunteer experiences by the Alumni Association’s 100th birthday in 2015. If you’re looking to volunteer or would like to submit your volunteer experience, check out the Alumni Volunteer Challenge website.

Presentation of MACT Research at the ‘Friends of the U of A’ Annual Meeting

Enterprise Square, Edmonton

Enterprise Square, Edmonton

A group of us from the MACT program were invited as guests to attend the Friends of the University of Alberta annual general meeting on May 23rd at the Faculty Club. It was a great event that brought together the U of A Alumni group, the local business community and academic researchers. The Faculty of Extension and members of its MACT program were asked to provide a presentation showcasing their research accomplishments and the role they’ve played in the community.

Faculty of Extension Dean Katy Campbell started things off for us discussing the history of the faculty and the current research being done locally and internationally. A short video was shared with the group.

MACT Research

Dr. Ann Curry, a professor for the MACT program, then gave some background information about the program and what topics students cover. Dr. Curry currently teaches the Research Methods course for the program and has written books on censorship and intellectual freedom. More about Dr. Curry can be found at the MACT Professoriate Directory.

I then presented my research of online hockey fans and their role in the development of information regarding the game. I didn’t get into too much details about research methods, content analysis, etc, and instead talked about how fans are engaging with the game using hockey analytics. You can find my final research abstract, along with those of other MACT graduates here: MACT Student Research Project Abstracts.

Glenn Kubish then discussed his current research project examining the Stephen Duckett ‘cookie affair’. Glenn explained how the event played out from the newsroom’s point of view and in the digital world. For an excellent summary of his research, you can read “C is for Convergence!” or check out his blog.

Heather Gray discussed her current research into video conferencing and how an individuals perception of another person can change depending on how much of the person they see. Heather brought some great stats from her study that would be of interest to anyone that uses videoconferencing. You can check out her blog for more.

Teresa Sturgess then discussed her research into mobile device etiquette and the potential impact it has on businesses. Teresa’s research is an interesting one since companies are typically consumed with keeping up with mobile technology, that the personal, human impacts could be overlooked. You can check out her blog for more.

Dr. Tommy Barker, the newest professor of the MACT program, then discussed his research in risk communication with an emphasis on public health. Dr. Barker will also be teaching the Case Studies in Risk Communication course this year. More about Dr. Barker can be found at the MACT Professoriate Directory.


The event was a great opportunity for the MACT program to connect with the community and promote its research and accomplishments. I strongly feel the MACT program and its students will continue to play an integral role in the development of the communications and technology field. It’s especially encouraging to see past and current students using the tools and networks available to connect their work to various industries, to academic research development and to the community.

I’d like to thank the MACT Program, the Faculty of Extension, and the Alumni Association for the opportunity!