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Community Engagement and Research Centre

Our Mission

The mission of the Community Engagement and Research Centre is to enable the Faculty of Arts to serve as a resource for community groups, formal and informal, and to be enriched in turn by our relationships with those communities. Through this engagement, the Faculty of Arts and the University of Regina enhances its capacity to produce high quality and relevant knowledge, and in turn increases its ability to serve the wider community and province. 

Our Mandate

The Community Engagement and Research Centre will function collaboratively as a partnership between community groups and university faculty and students. Our mandate is to provide independent, participatory research support in response to needs expressed by communities with a view toward building capacity and enhancing our quality of life.

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What We Do

The Community Engagement and Research Centre works to build meaningful relationships between the U of R's Faculty of Arts and our communities. It does this in two main ways:

  • community-based research
  • capacity building

What is Community-Based Research?

Community-based research (CBR) is research carried out by university and community researchers to address a need expressed by the community. It is research with and for the community. This type of research emphasizes collaboration between the university and the community, acknowledges different types of knowledge, and seeks positive social change. Because the research need is initiated by the community, CBR is often directly applicable to the goals and needs of community partners. The resulting knowledge is considered a public good.

Learn about the Community Engagement and Research Centre's current and past projects.

What is Capacity Building?

The Community Engagement and Research Centre believes that the University of Regina is a rich resources for our communities, and as such, we should offer our knowledge, expertise and resources to enrich and empower non-university partners. We do so in a variety of ways, including:

  • Organizing the Toolkit Workshop SeriesThis series, held quarterly during the fall and winter semesters, consists of affordable half-day skills training workshops offered to students, community organization staff and volunteers, and the general public. In past years, we have offered workshops on: fundraising, volunteer engagement, learning to use social media, event planning, board governance, research & evaluation techniques, intro to graphic design, grant writing, and more.
  • Making connections between community organizations and university partners for initiatives and requests other than research projects.
  • Mentoring a Faculty of Arts graduate student member of the CERC board of directors: this enriches our board of directors and gives graduate students an opportunity to learn how to be a valued member of a non-profit board of directors.

Work with Us

Do you have an idea for a collaborative research project? Call or email us to talk about ways to connect with faculty, staff, and students at the University of Regina who can help you with your research needs.

Who We Are

Advisory Council Composition

The Community Engagement and Research Centre is guided by an Advisory Council with eleven members: four community members; three faculty members and one graduate student from the Faculty of Arts; the CERC Academic Director; and two ex-officio members: the Associate Dean of Arts (Research & Graduate Studies) and the CERC Community Director.

Advisory Council (2022-2023)

Amber Fletcher Academic Director Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Studies
University of Regina
Vacant Community Director Community Engagement and Research Centre
University of Regina
Tom McIntosh Associate Dean (Research and Graduate) Professor, Department of Politics and International Studies
University of Regina
Emily Grafton Faculty Member Associate Professor, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Regina
Sarah Sangster Faculty Member Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
University of Regina
Cindy Hanson Faculty Member Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Studies
University of Regina
Kendra Giles Community Representative Manager of Innovative Housing Programs, Phoenix Residential Society
Glenn Sutter Community Representative Curator of Human Ecology, Royal Saskatchewan Museum
Robin East Community Representative Policy and IT Analyst Accessibility, Canada Revenue Agency
Aria Ramdeo Community Representative Executive Director, Heritage Community Association
Chasity Delorme Community Representative First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Student Advisor, Miller Comprehensive High School
Heather Cote-Soop Student Representative Masters of Adult Education and Community Engagement Program
University of Regina


Our Goals
The Community Engagement and Research Centre aspires to:
  1. Serve the various research and research-related needs and/or program development needs of groups within the broader community;
  2. Build connections and relationships between and among members of the University and community;
  3. Acknowledge and utilize the experiential knowledge of communities and the technical knowledge of the University, and to promote community-engaged scholarship in our social and academic environments;
  4. Actively pursue the two-way transfer of learning between the community and the University to assist in building capacity and knowledge in both environments;
  5. Link the analyses of problems to solutions in order to help facilitate healthy social change for those who lack power and opportunities in our communities;
  6. Act as a clearinghouse for research partnerships, skill sets, and research results;
  7. Encourage and support service-learning and community engagement opportunities in the Faculty of Arts;
  8. Actively mentor students and instill a responsibility for community engagement;
  9. Promote institutional change that supports community engagement.
Who can initiate research projects?
Any community group or organization can talk to us about working on a collaborative community-based research project; you can be a local non-profit, registered charity or an informal group of citizens. Please note that our mandate is non-profit projects that will benefit the community; this means that we do not work with for-profit organizations or individuals.
How does the Arts Internship work for a community partner?

The Arts Internship Program can help connect you with part-time, unpaid support for your community organization. University of Regina Arts students major in a variety of different programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities. These students bring a broad range of skills, talents and experiences to the work place.

How does the Arts Internship work?
  • Qualified Faculty of Arts undergraduate students are placed for part-time work within your organization
  • Students pay regular tuition but there is no fee for your organization
  • Your input helps ensure the best candidates are selected to work with your team
  • There are two placement cycles per year: September to December, and January to April
  • Internships are 13 weeks in length
  • Students work up to eight hours per week
Who is eligible to receive an intern placement?
  • First priority for internship placements will go to nonprofit community organizations
  • These organizations do not have the resources to hire students but are demonstrably committed to facilitating learning and career-building opportunities for interns
Why place an Arts intern in your organization?
  • You will gain a skilled and motivated student to support and enhance your organization's work in the community.
  • Students bring new perspectives, different experiences, enthusiasm and energy to your team.
  • Interns can provide additional support to special projects or events, or assist your team with new ideas or initiatives.
  • You'll gain valuable networking partnerships and advocates at the University of Regina, as program facilitators get to know your organization, and as students relay their experience with your organization.
  • You will have the opportunity to provide mentorship, training and guidance to the next generation of talent within your profession or area.
  • The Internship program could translate into a longer term recruitment opportunities for your organization.

Contact CERC for more information!

Toolkit Workshops

The Community Engagement and Research Centre is proud to offer free skills development workshops and webinars. Though our focus is on the needs of people that work in the not-for-profit sector, all of our sessions are open to anyone who can benefit from them. If you have ideas for us or would like to be asdded to our email list to learn about future training sessions then please contact our office.

Social Media for Nonprofits

March 22, 2023

Social media success can seem like a pipe dream to many small-to-medium sized nonprofits. Without the money to hire an outside agency or even have a part-time person dedicated to this work, how can you even hope to keep up with all the changing platforms and use social media to your organization’s advantage, let along use it as a community building tool? In this fast-paced Toolkit Workshop you will learn a few tips and tricks for developing a strategy with your social media efforts. You’ll learn about building a marketing tech stack and how to make sense of analytics so that you can measure the results of your efforts. Whether you are totally new to the social media landscape or you feel your skills are a little more advanced, you’ll leave this session with new ideas for ways to connect with your members, donors and clients.

The Generational Divide (with Shari Hildred)

January 11, 2023

For the first time in history there are four distinct generations in the workforce, each with its own characteristics, dynamics and tendencies. Leading people from all four generations can be a challenge but if we understand what makes other generations tick, we can avoid division and conflict. The facilitator identified ways to encourage productive and inclusive intergenerational collaboration at work; provide recommendations around workplace practices, processes, and norms that are inclusive of various dimensions of diversity including age, race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Myths and Misconceptions of Employment: Panel discussion with people with lived experiences with disabilities

Dec. 7, 2022

Representatives with lived experience with a variety of disabilities came together to share their personal experiences of stigma, discrimination and misconceptions in the workplace. Through the moderated discussion, people viewing the recording will learn about what employers' responsibilities are to accommodate disabilities in their workplaces. They will leave with ideas for policies and practices they can implement to make the culture in their organizations more welcoming and open to people who often face obstacles or barriers to employment that can usually be quite easily accommodated.

The panel was moderated by Robin East (Chair of the Board for Barrier Free Saskatchewan and Community Engagement and Research Centre board member). He was joined by Chelsea Wisser, Eileen Lennie-Koshman and Brenda Edel.
Navigating Allyship: Showing Up as an Effective Ally

Nov. 23, 2022

In today's world, it's not enough to be a bystander - we have to be proactive, taking part in learning opportunities and many uncomfortable conversations that can help us on our journey to navigating effective allyship. In this session, individuals from a wide array of diverse backgrounds shared their insights and stories to open up a dialogue on how to find our voice, amplify others, and act as allies in workplaces and in the community.

Panelists were Sharon Kambale, Chasity Delorme, and Dr. Fritz Pino. The session was moderated by Aria Ramdeo.

Panelist Bios

Identifying and Addressing Microaggressions

With Ricardo Arisnabarretta-Montejo
October 27, 2022

Microaggressions are everyday verbal and nonverbal slights, snubs, or insults (either intentional
or unintentional), that communicate negative or hostile attitudes towards any individual but that
disproportionally affect culturally marginalized and racialized groups. From a language
perspective, this workshop looked at what micro-aggressions are and how they manifest. This
workshop also presented ideas on how we can respond to them as a recipient, as
someone who has committed a microaggression, and as a witness to one.

Slide Deck 

Effective Recruitment & Retention: Attracting (and keeping!) Staff & Volunteer Talent

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

An important part of nonprofit management lies within effective organizational recruitment and retention for both staff and volunteers (including board members). This workshop explores key aspects of human resource and volunteer management including concepts related to attracting and retaining resources that a nonprofit requires. The concepts examine how nonprofits can maximize the retention of the organizations’ most valued asset – our
employees and our volunteers.

Facilitator: Shari Hildred is the owner of Valmore Consulting and focuses her work in the non-profit sector. She is a facilitator, professional and leadership trainer and instructor with the University of Regina and she provides management services to a number of non-profit clients in Regina, across Saskatchewan and across Canada. Shari draws on expertise gained from over 25 years of in the private, public and non-profit sectors, which include working with countless non-profits in the arts, cultural, heritage, social inclusion, humanitarian, health and sports sectors. Shari works with non-profits that range in size from large corporate entities to small, local grass roots organizations. Regardless of size, Shari is committed to assisting organizations in developing best practices and processes to run effective and efficient operations and to deliver programs and services that support community.


  • is a designated Project Management Professional (PMP),
  • studied Cultural Resource Management at the University of Victoria,
  • completed Art of the Executive Leader training at Banff Centre for the Arts,
  • studied public policy at the UofR Jonhson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy,
  • was the recipient of the City of Regina Municipal Heritage Award in the Category of Education,
  • was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan Heritage Excellence Award.


Current Research Projects

Living Expenses in Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation Community

Purpose: Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation has received many concerns about the unfairly high weight of utility payments in our community. Through this project, they will collaborate with academics from the First Nations University of Canada and the University of Regina to study the ratio of food and utility expenses over the household income in our community and compare this number with the provincial and federal average. They consider this research a pilot project. Based on the results and conclusions of this project, they will develop a strategic plan for new studies in collaboration with their academic partners. They will also analyze if there exist any correlation between the insulation quality/age of houses and utility expenses.

Expected Outcomes: They hope to use the outcomes of this research in negotiations with service-providing companies and to improve their housing strategies.

Partners: Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation Band Office; Graduate student and member of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Jana Sasakamoose; Arzu Sardarli, Professor of Physics and Mathematics, First Nations University of Canada; Andrei Volodin, Professor of Statistics, University of Regina.

Amount of grant: $3,480.

Health and Self: Understanding barriers to accessing community programming and supports by rural and remote girls ages 8-13 in Saskatchewan

Purpose: Rural and northern communities are often ignored or forgotten when it comes to youth programming. Their needs and challenges may differ from youth that live in cities such as Regina and Saskatoon, which may be a potential reason for a lack of participation from girls of these areas in city-centered programming. Sask Girls United has experienced this challenge in recruitment firsthand in our work they do. The purpose and goal of the project is to determine the social determinants of health that girls ages 8-14 experience in rural and northern Saskatchewan so that community programs such as Sask Girls United can better adapt programming to fit their required needs

Expected Outcomes: Video composition to give back to community a. Including analysis throughout the video with participants cellphilm submissions 2. Academic paper to be published in a peer-reviewed journal such as the First Peoples Child and Family Review. 3. Poster presentation to highlight research and findings 4. Infographic to disseminate to sponsors and for the Sask Girls United website

Partners: Zahin Rahman and Isabella Grajczyk, Sask Girls United and Elizabeth Cooper, Kinesiology and Health Studies.

Amount of Grant: $5,000.00.

Research with kēhtē-ayak (Cree for “Old Ones”)

Purpose: The mâmawêyatitân centre is conducting innovative research with elders and youth in Regina’s North Central neighbourhood. The research team is responding to requests from over 50 kēhtē-ayak to assist them in mobilizing Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (ITK) for the well-being of Regina’s Indigenous community. Phase 1 (funded by the Saskatchewan government) which commenced in November of 2021, included a series of Sharing Circles that explored more fully what the kēhtē-ayak hope to do.

Expected Outcomes: CERC funds will help with Phase 2 of the project which will enable the kēhtē-ayak and youth to visit and learn from one another, and define and apply community well-being collectively.

Partners: Bev Cardinal from the mâmawêyatitân centre and Emily Grafton, Politics and International Studies.

Amount of Grant: $5,000.00

Understanding the Needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) residents of Regina's Heritage Neighbourhood

Purpose: This research will explore the key needs and challenges of BIPOC residents living in the Heritage neighbourhood, with the goal of enhancing HCA’s programs and services. This is an exploratory study that will inform our larger study on understanding the lived experiences of BIPOC residents in the community.

Expected Outcomes: A report will be produced that documents the experiences of BIPOC people living in Regina’s Heritage neighbourhood. The report will include recommendations for further research and action by HCA and other agencies.

Partners: Aria Ramdeo, Heritage Community Association and Fritz Pino, Faculty of Social Work.

Amount of Grant: $4,000.00

The Value of Arts and Culture for Community Cohesion

Purpose: The purpose of the project is to document the value of the arts and artists in Saskatchewan communities from the perspective of all residents—not just artists themselves. Building on insights from the quantitative survey, the goal is to complete a series of in-depth, community-based case studies on how arts/artists are viewed within their communities, the roles of the arts/artists, the contributions they make, and both the barriers and opportunities they experience.

The data will fulfill the SAA’s overarching goal of connecting, supporting, and advocating for the arts across Saskatchewan. They hope that the research process itself will contribute to increased connection within and between communities and artists.

Expected Outcomes: The project will seek the following outcomes: 1) increased awareness of the social, cultural, economic, and educational value of the arts in Saskatchewan and beyond; 2) increased interconnection between artists, arts groups and organizations, and their communities; increased inclusion of rural, Northern, Indigenous, newcomer, and LGBTQ2+ people in the broader Saskatchewan arts community, along with increased recognition of their contributions; 3) increased ability for the SAA to support and include these communities in its work, and 4) reliable data to inform inclusive arts advocacy and cultural policy.

Partners: Marnie Gladwell and Dr. Barbara Meneley from the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance and Dr. Amber Fletcher, Sociology and Social Studies.

Accessing Healthy Food in Regina 2020

Date: Jan. 14, 2020 to present

Purpose: This project will update the Accessing Healthy Food in Regina Report that was well-received by the community when it was released in 2012. The food climate in Regina has changed dramatically since this report was written. Researchers also have a greater ability to overlay maps, making the data richer. In addition to updating this report, researchers will expand maps to overlay with food bank usage by neighbourhood and potentially transportation routes to identify locations of high need that are not being serviced, identifying the challengs of people living in these areas to access food.

Expected Outcome: In the past, this report gained a lot of position attention. The City of Regina used its information to create their asset maps in their community profiles. It was also a good tool to sparking conversations around food accessibility. A visual tool will also be helpful to advocate for improved food resources within neighbourhoods of high food bank usage that currently have no food access. The project partners hops to raise awareness that poverty and food insecurity occur in most neighbourhoods in Regina. The research will provide good local data for their planning needs.

Partners: REACH Regina members, Laura Murray, Regina Food Bank and Tracy Sanden, Saskatchewan Health Authority and Dr. Julia Siemer, Geography and Environmental Studies.

Evaluating Mental Health Realities for 2SLGBTQIAP+ People in Regina

Date: March 2019-present  

Purpose: Currently, very little research exists on the mental health of 2SLGBTQIAP+ people living in Saskatchewan. Many 2SLGBTQIAP+ service providers and professionals in the province have referred to the mental health realities of 2SLGBTQIAP+ people as a crisis, and the research team is hoping that research on the topic will allow for 2SLGBTQIAP+ organizations and other mental health agencies to secure funding for 2SLGBTQIAP+ specific programming and practitioners.

Expected Outcome: Findings from the research will be used to advocate for funding for 2SLGBTQIAP+ specific programming and practitioners. The research will also be used in presentations to mental health practitioners so they can learn about the needs and realities of 2SLGBTQIAP+ people.

Partners: Dr. Nuelle Novik, Faculty of Social Work (U of R), Dr. Claire Carter, Department of Women & Gender Studies (U of R) and Suzy Yim, Counsellor (UR Pride Centre), Community Researcher.

Past Research Projects

Landfill Recycling Project

Purpose: The City of Regina released its Sustainability Framework which laid out 7 key high-level initiatives. The EnviroCollective would like to take this opportunity to build upon that framework and present alternative solutions by enhancing recycle and reuse methodology. This would be to combine landfill remediation with resource recovery of the excavated waste, the net cost of the remediation activity can be drastically reduced by generating recyclable goods and materials, all of which can provide much-needed revenue and jobs to counterbalance the cost of remediation.

Outcomes: A report was written that highlights landfill mining practices that could be easily be adopted in Regina. EnviroCollective plans to share the report with Regina City Council so that they can facilitate further conversations throughout the community and industry as a prelude to developing a comprehensive business plan. The report will also be shared with climate hubs throughout the country as the EnviroCollective Network is part of the Climate Reality Project of climate hubs throughout the country.

Partners: Rob Deglau, EnviroCollective and Brett Dolter, Department of Economics

Amount of Grant:  $4,520.00.

Building a Saskatchewan Accessibility Act: Nothing About Us Without Us

Purpose: The Government of Saskatchewan is in the process of developing Provincial Accessibility legislation. The research team will do an inter-jurisdictional comparison of Accessibility Acts across Canada, identifying successes, gaps, and best practices in order to provide feedback and recommendations to the provincial government.

Expected Outcomes: The primary purpose of the project is to inform policy and ensure the upcoming Saskatchewan Accessibilities Act meets the needs of people with disabilities in our province.

Partners: Robin East, President, Barrier Free Saskatchewan; Chelsea Wisser, Executive Director of North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre and Brenda Rossow-Kimball, Kinesiology and Health Studies.

Amount of Grant: $4,000.00

Report: Building a Saskatchewan Accessibility Act: Nothing About Us Without Us.

Digital Professional Development Resources for Regina Based Organizations Serving the Community

Purpose: Groups in the non-profit sector often find it difficult to allocate funds for staff development and training. In some organizations, many in leadership positions are simply unaware of free or low-cost resources available to them such as workshops, and training programs. Others do not have access to published research materials to support their staff.

Expected Outcomes: The Regina Public Library will create a digital resource that will host local relevant materials for easy access for organizations in one place. There is a need in our community to gather and provide locally relevant material in a one stop online spot including professionally developed content that speaks to different kinds of social services work and clientele needs.

Partners: Sarah James, Special Project Librarian, Regina Public Library; Jo Shepherd, Branch Head, Albert Library. The project will receive support from members of the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation’s Vital Signs Network and the Community Engagement and Research Centre Community Advisory Committee.

Amount of Grant: $3,000.00

By Right Not Privilege: Evaluative Research on Saskatchewan’s Free Gladue Writing Project Research

Purpose: The Gladue Principle is a sentencing principle that asks the courts to look at the over-representation of Indigenous peoples and consider alternatives to jail or remand. In Saskatchewan we have some of the lowest rates of Gladue submissions - cited as a resource issue (no one will pay for them and they take too long to draft). The FASD Network of SK writes Gladue Reports at no cost for their clients which saves upwards of $6,000 per report. This research project will evaluate the efficiency of using a team-based approach in drafting Gladue reports. Critical feedback would be received through stakeholders in the Canadian justice system including judges and lawyers, our clients, the agencies we collaborate with, as well as FASD Network staff.

Expected Outcomes: The long term goal with this research is to expand the application of Gladue submissions in Saskatchewan. Evaluating the project will also allow the FASD Network to adjust the project and enhance services offered to clients.

Partners: Andrea Kotlar-Livingston, Executive Director, FASD Network of Saskatchewan; Bev Poitras, Director of Restorative Justice, File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council and Michelle Stewart, Faculty of Arts.

Amount of Grant: $4,000.00.

Uncovering Hidden Homelessness in Regina

Date: March 2019 to present

Purpose: This research will determine the extent of hidden homelessness in Regina, the factors such as couch surfing, slum housing, overcrowding and inappropriate accommodations.  The research will provide direction for policy, program development and funding that will prevent hidden homelessness and homelessness.  The information will be gathered through surveys and interviews distributed via a variety of methods in Regina’s North Central and other core neighbourhoods. 

Expected Outcome:  The end result of this research will be a Final Report with a description of the hidden homeless population in Regina, and recommendations that provide focus for policy makers, program development and potential funders to prevent hidden homelessness and homelessness.

Partners: Dr. Laurie Clune, Faculty of Nursing; Ann Perry, Circle Project and Lisa Workman, Poverty-Free Saskatchewan.

Contact Us

Drop By

Classroom Building 108
University of Regina

Mailing Address

Community Engagment and Research Centre
c/o Dean of Arts Office
3737 Wascana Parkway
University of Regina
Regina, SK S4S 0A2

Community Director
Phone: 306-585-4084

Dr. Amber Fletcher, Academic Director