New Director of Community Engagement appointed

A new director of Community Engagement has been appointed to help support community engaged education and research and build closer links between McMaster and the communities the University serves.

Sheila Sammon, a professor in McMaster’s School of Social Work, will assume the new director’s role, which was created as part of broader structural changes to formally integrate community-engaged activities into the academic mission of the University.

Sheila Sammon is McMaster's new director of Community Engagement.

Sheila Sammon is McMaster's new director of Community Engagement.

Reporting to the associate-vice president (Faculty), the Director of Community Engagement will work with the Network for Community Campus Partnerships* to advance McMaster’s community engaged education, establishing resources and infrastructure to support community engagement and forge sustainable and productive links between the University and the broader community.

“I look forward to working with the McMaster community as well as with multiple community partners to ensure that we develop the positive, reciprocal relationships we need to support and sustain our community engagement activities and to help contribute to our community,” says Sammon.

“Through the excellent work of the Community Engagement Task force and the Network for Community Campus Partnerships, McMaster has reinvigorated and strengthened our commitment to community engagement,” says McMaster President Patrick Deane. “Sheila’s appointment will provide the network with valuable leadership, enabling it to continue the important work of integrating community engagement into the centre of our academic life while building vibrant and vital relationships with our community partners.”

Sammon brings years of community-based experience to the role. Throughout her teaching career she has focused on integrating theory and practice with an emphasis on field placements. She is one of the founding co-chairs of the McMaster Community Poverty Initiative and a member of the original steering committee for the McMaster Discovery Project.  She is the recipient of two McMaster President’s Awards for Outstanding Contributions for Teaching and Learning and the OCUFA award for educational leadership. For the past nine months, she has also served as the Chair of the Network for Community Campus Partnerships.

“I am so pleased that Sheila has agreed to take on this role,” says Susan Searls Giroux, associate vice-president (Faculty). “Community-engaged research and teaching are immensely valuable and need to be supported and sustained. Sheila’s wealth of experience will be a tremendous asset as we seek to meaningfully advance and expand McMaster’s community-engaged activities.”

On June 24, Sammon will be making introductory remarks at the third annual McMaster IDEA EXCHANGE, an event to share ideas, tools, strategies and best practices to facilitate student learning through community-engaged courses and experiences. Learn more.

* The Network brings together individuals from across campus to coordinate activities and discuss issues critical to the success of community engagement activities at McMaster.