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UpSocial Innovations

An opportunity exists for universities and colleges to complement their core teaching and research functions by using the many resources at their disposal to better address community needs and increase wellbeing. As schools start down this path, however, they encounter internal cultural and structural barriers.

Recognizing this, Re-Code and UpSocial undertook a global scan to identify where innovative responses to these challenges exist in other institutions, sectors, or countries. The idea was not merely to find inspiration, but also to find initiatives that could potentially be adapted and implemented in Canada.

The first stage involved consultation with stakeholders who represented a vast array of roles within the Canadian post-secondary landscape in order to identify the three most pressing priority areas to scan for innovations.

These emerged as:

  1. Safe and Healthy Campuses
  2. Inclusion and Diversity
  3. Community-Centred Collaborations

After a careful research process, 15 shortlisted innovations were then presented to Canadian leaders who assessed their potential for implementation in Canada. The group assessed potential impact and feasibility, and ultimately selected the six innovations with the highest potential for scale:

Safe & Healthy Campuses

  1. Mental Health First Aid
  2. For-credit course in Wellness, University of Illinois: Chicago
  3. Big White Wall
  4. The Support Network

Inclusion & Diversity

  1. Te Wangana o Aotearoa

Community-Centered Collaborations

  1. Nippissing University: Tenure and Promotion

Read more about the project here

In December 2019, we hosted a workshop on scaling the 4 projects under the Safe & Healthy Campuses heading. Read the report here

If you wish to talk more about potential scaling in any of these areas, contact