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.

Thoughts

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!