Vancouver Island University (VIU) has created the Office of Community Partnerships, which will focus on connecting community members and organizations to the university to build partnerships for impactful and relevant projects and initiatives in the mid-Island.
It comes as the University works to take advantage of its inherent strengths in a way that supports the community within which it operates.
“We know that many great ideas for projects or research come directly from community members, but often people don’t know how to connect to VIU’s resources or expertise at the university,” says Dr. Deb Saucier, VIU President. “The Office of Community Partnerships will facilitate these relationships – connecting community to our faculty, administrators and our resources to support innovative projects and research that will have a direct impact on local communities.”
VIU is well known for the leadership role it plays in social innovation projects. It was the first university in BC to introduce the Tuition Waiver Program for former youth in care and continues to mentor universities across the country to adopt similar tuition waiver programs. It is also the only university in Canada with a Canada Learning Bond Coordinator, whose main role is to raise awareness about this federal education savings initiative and encourage families to sign-up for the program.
William Litchfield, who has served as Executive Director of the VIU Foundation and VIU’s Chief Advancement Officer, will take on the role of Associate Vice-President, Community Partnerships.
“I’m excited to take on this new focus,” says Litchfield. “I am passionate about working with local communities and bringing people together to build initiatives and projects that have real and lasting impacts on people’s lives and their communities. I look forward to working with my team to build and expand on the work VIU is doing in this area.”
The first step for the new office will be to bring together a Community Advisory Network from across the region to provide VIU with advice and guidance on how the university can serve communities more effectively.