Our Approach

Healthy Campus Alberta (HCA) is a community of practice that serves to partner with campuses and stakeholders interested in post-secondary mental health from across the province. You can learn more by watching this video.

What is a CoP?

A community of practice (CoP) is a “group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”. CoPs provide spaces for building relationships and networks across lines of institutions, services, or disciplines, whether these be in-person or online. This diversity of the members of a CoP enriches the work that they do and allows for innovative collaboration, the sharing of best practices, and collective problem-solving. In this way, CoPs are able to develop a collective and strategic voice that is inclusively and collaboratively informed. CoPs revolve around continuous shared learning through relationships and dialogue, which is facilitated by a support team and is cultivated through the sharing of practical experiences, evidence, and personal narratives.

Adapted from:

Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

How is a CoP different from other organizations?

The Community of Practice approach has grown out of social learning theories, which means that CoPs operate with a structure that supports social networks, collective learning, and focuses on people. CoPs build on people’s personal interest in the topic and community gatherings focus on developing collective capacities. Each community member is invited to participate by bringing their unique experiences, knowledge, skills, and perspective to the table, which results in a grassroots structure where the voices of members are equally valued, rather than a hierarchical approach. In this way, all members engage in distributing knowledge and cocreating through dialogue and voluntary participation. Thus, CoPs are built on trust and reciprocity rather than mandated investment. In order to sustain a CoP, there is a collective responsibility for conversations to be relevant and valuable to all community members.

Adapted from:

Hall, N., & Wiebe, S. (2008). Creating Campus Communities of Practice (Rep.). Retrieved 2019, from Healthy Minds Healthy Campuses website: https://community.healthycampuses.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/gravity_forms/1-bdbc26dc465c525b82d72d0d72f7cab6/2015/01/CampusProjectWorkshopReportFinal-April08.pdf

Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

What is the role of a facilitation team?

The HCA facilitation team includes the HCA coordinators and student staff, whose main role is to facilitate and coordinate the life of the CoP. Rather than being in charge, the role of the HCA staff team is to provide space for a collective voice to develop and to guide the direction of the work of the CoP so that it remains relevant and valuable to members. Coordinators often make decisions, put conditions in place, or organize strategic conversations in order to ensure that members see the results of their participation, get high value for their time, and feel supported in their contributions. Facilitators of a CoP operate best with an understanding of group processes and knowledge brokering, skills in navigating group dynamics and building networks and provide careful planning and good administration. Lastly, it is key for the coordinators to maintain the culture of HCA and build relationships within the community so that the work of the CoP stays relevant to all of our members.

Adapted from:

Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved April 10, 2019, from https://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

Hennessy, C., Anderson, S., Cornes, M., & Manthorpe, J. (2013). Toolkit: Developing a Community of Practice [PDF]. London: Revolving Doors Agency and King’s College London.

Our Vision

To educate, collaborate and advocate; transforming culture and creating caring campus communities throughout the province of Alberta.

Our Mission

Healthy Campus Alberta strives to create an inclusive, collaborative, and community integrated approach to mental health and wellness.

Our Commitment

We are committed to seeing our vision and mission achieved through accessible and sustainable program ideas, sharing best practices and research, and fostering a culture of support and compassion for all post-secondary institutions across Alberta, all while recognizing their unique needs for success.

What is the role of HCA?

  • Engage with campuses to understand their unique needs
  • Build relationships to understand their unique needs
  • Create spaces for conversations that matter!
  • Advocate for equity through transparency of information and sharing of knowledge

Healthy Campus Alberta Community of Practice Charter

Values of Our Community of Practice

  1. Value the voice of students and recognize the importance of addressing issues relating to mental health and addiction on Alberta post-secondary campuses in a meaningful way.
  2. Recognize the importance of using the lens of a ‘whole campus’ approach.  This lens acknowledges that post-secondary campus communities are composed of administration, service providers, faculty, staff and students, all of whom play a role in achieving mental health for all.
  3. Recognize and value the intersection of community and campus services as a critical piece in meeting the mental health needs of all members of our Alberta post-secondary campus communities.
  4. Recognize and celebrate the diversity of post-secondary campuses across the province.
  5. Commit to inspiring a cultural change in the way that mental health and addiction are viewed and constructed on post-secondary campuses.
  6. Honour our founding principles of collaboration, sharing, and inclusion with the intent to leverage our resources in the best interests of all within our provincial post-secondary communities.
  7. Commit to sharing ideas, evidence-informed practices and fostering a culture of support and compassion.
  8. Seek to reduce barriers to accessing services and to shift the focus to mental health for all.
  9. Commit to promoting equity in student access to services and programming relating to mental health and addiction on all Alberta post-secondary campuses. This involves the provision of timely, consistent, baseline services on all post-secondary campuses across the province.
  10. Commit to advocating for the ‘mental health of all’ on our Alberta post-secondary campuses at the provincial, community, and institutional level.  We recognize the value of a unified voice in achieving meaningful change.