Guelph: Putting the Higher in Higher Ed., since 1964

rock climbing


If you know Guelph, you know that Gordon Street Hill is more than a change in elevation. The University sits atop the hill, allowing one to rise out of the depths of downtown and ascend to the glory of higher education.

Now don’t read me wrong, I love the UofG. I’m an staff member, a volunteer and an alumnus. As I said in a previous post, it’s a comprehensive, world-class institution, dedicated to excellence in education.

Again, don’t read me wrong, I love Downtown Guelph. It’s a creative place, with some wonderful, intelligent people doing awesome things.

“The Hill”, however, presents some considerable struggles connecting the University and the Community; physically, culturally and mentally. I’ve talked about this a couple times recently.

I’ve been thinking about this over the past couple months, as we were putting together ePortfolio Week. A tool like an ePortfolio is a powerful one because it’s focus is on the user as opposed to the course. As such, it an serve as a platform for connection between academics, extra-curricular, career and community life. One of the goals was to have an event take place downtown, to make a direct link between “life atop the hill” and “life below”.

eP week lecture

I’m heartened by the fact that I’m not alone in the discussions around the need for University-Community engagement in Guelph. There has been some great work done through a number of partnerships recently to connect the two: Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, Café Philosophique, Café Scientifique, Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium. There are certainly other initiatives I’ve left out.

What are other Universities doing to bridge these gaps? How can we continue to build University-Community engagement? Do physical structures help? Better transit? Funky new initiatives and partnerships?

Guelph Technology Economy, 2011 Conference

The Guelph technology sector is one of the key elements to the Guelph economy, and is growing. I was honoured to be asked to be part of the steering committee for the 2nd Annual Guelph Technology Economy Conference – January 18, 2011.

Guelph Technology Economy

I participated in the conference last year. It’s an important event for a number of reasons:

  • support for the technology sector in Guelph
  • awareness of the significance of the Guelph technology sector and knowledge-based companies
  • networking and connections between technology companies, higher education, and knowledge-based companies

There’s a great line-up for this, ranging from Jim Jarrell to Doug Minett to Kirk Roberts to Kelly Brooks and others.

Arts & Digital Media, Innovation Guelph, Mobile Applications, Cloud Computing, Data Acquisition and Processes and Local Recruiting, Food, Prizes, and all that.

Conference Website.

Community is the framework (and it has a fancy new logo)


DemoCampGuelph is for anyone in and around Guelph interested in software, the web and technology!

Startup junkies, wage slaves, consultants, students, indie professionals, engineers, designers, money and marketing guys.

If you want to see and talk about some interesting things, and get to know other people in the Guelph tech community, come on out! You don’t have to demo to attend.

Thanks to the sponsors (for the food), the presenters (for the demos) and the organizers (for letting me in).

Here’s the slidedeck from the opening talk from @missrogue:

I sent an email to the President and the Mayor…

It went something like this:

Dr. Summerlee and Mayor Farbridge,

Hello to you both. I’m writing with what I think is a powerful idea, one which could greatly benefit both the University of Guelph and the City of Guelph. I’m writing from the perspective of a city resident as well as a University alumni and staff member, and someone who is interested in the prosperity of the city, the institution, and all the wonderful people who make up these organizations.

In the latest issue of the Guelph Tribune (, Farbridge states that her biggest disappointment in 2009 was “when she says she had to “face the facts” related to a new main library and “finally see in black and white that this is not a project we can afford at this time.” She goes on to state that what’s needed is a “serious conversation” about potential partners. I think that the idea of a City-University partnership has great potential for this.

I recall reading in the Guelph Tribune within the past year or two that the University (specifically Dr. Summerlee) approached City Council with the idea of establishing a presence in Downtown Guelph. I’ve been searching for this reference, but haven’t been able to find it. If memory serves me correctly, the idea presented was that the University and the City could benefit from having a building or other presence in the downtown core. Indeed, the benefits would be tremendous!

Perhaps a a facility which encompassed the public library, lecture halls, performance spaces, information resources and the like? I think there’s great opportunity here.

Thanks for listening. I’d enjoy talking further about this with either/both of you.


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