Donald Jean Poirier successfully defended his EdD Dissertation

Please join us in congratulating Donald Jean Poirier who successfully defended his EdD Dissertation on May 17 of 2024.


Community-University Engagement in Canada: Boundary Spanner Practice


Historically, public universities have played a role in the development of society through the creation and sharing of knowledge and upholding democratic values. In recent decades, governments and the public have looked to universities to help drive economic prosperity and address the complex issues plaguing society (Benneworth, 2016; Fisher et al., 2006). This has been accompanied by declining base funding from provincial governments in Canada. The result has been an expansion of universities’ traditional purposes and roles to include their engagement with social and economic communities outside the university while also seeking ways to increase revenues.

This research examines the practice of community-university engagement (CUE) in Canada by identifying existing tensions and contributions of CUE practitioners identified as “boundary spanners.” I took a qualitative research approach to this study, utilizing three sources of data: interviews with boundary spanners across Canada, reflective essays outlining their path to their positions, and key university documents articulating their values and place in society.

My analysis involved a comparison of values, attitudes, and beliefs between boundary spanners and their institutions focussing on the purposes and roles of public universities in society, CUE practice, and the utility of formal evaluation of CUE practice. I draw upon the institutional logics perspective, as well as literature on boundary spanners and CUE, to understand and articulate the factors and dynamics that characterize their environment of practice.


Chair of Examination Committee:

Dr. Michael Hunt


University Examiners:

Dr. Leyton Schnellert (Curriculum and Pedagogy)

Dr. Mark Edwards (Faculty of Education)


External Examiner:

Dr. Budd Hall (University of Victoria)


Supervisory Committee:

Dr. Alison Taylor (Supervisor)

Dr. Tom Sork (Member)

Dr. Shauna Butterwick (Member)