Communities of Practice (CoP)

The four topics listed below form our CAUCE Communities of Practice (CoP)*.

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1. Leadership and Program Management  – Lead: Kristine Collins, University of Toronto

Leadership and program management refers to the academic and administrative oversight of continuing education programs. This may include strategic level planning and decision making, team leadership, curriculum development and innovation, intra-university affairs and collaboration, partnerships and alignment with professional associations/industry, instructor engagement, business development, performance management and recruitment as well as the day-to-day administrative work that ensure CE programs are running smoothly.

2. Online Learning and Instructional Design – Lead: Liam Stockdale, McMaster University

The online learning and instructional design community explores topics related to online experiences, best practices and trends including emerging technologies and developments, learning management systems, software, assessments, applications, alternative delivery methodologies and related processes. Sharing both challenges and successes, this community is relevant to individuals who occupy leadership, educational, and technical roles within CE units, including Deans, Directors, Associate Deans/Directors, Managers, Instructional Designers, Learning Systems Technologists or other support personnel who work in instructional design and online learning.

3. Indigenous and Decolonizing Programming – Lead: Rod Lastra, University of Manitoba

Over the past decade, there has been growing recognition among educational scholars of the importance of redefining the role and relevancy of post-secondary institutions in the 21st-century. How institutions relate and respond to a changing social, cultural landscape has not only defined Canadian university mission and vision statements but has also informed strategic priorities. Indigenous achievement has been of primary institutional focus with the aim of  fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s mandate and understanding the barriers faced by Indigenous peoples, particularly in relation to post-secondary education attainment. This has resulted in the recognition that investments towards more inclusive, responsive, and relevant academic programming are critical. The objectives of this Community of Practice are: a) to define the meaning and significance of Indigenization and decolonization as it pertains to post-secondary education; b) to identify common challenges and opportunities related to Indigenous programming; and c) to create and/or centralize educational resources. The outcomes will be to develop a working framework that outlines how institutions can indigenize and/or decolonize post-secondary programs.

4. Marketing and Student Service Administration – Lead: Meghan Clark, University of Guelph

This Community of Practice is aimed at those interested and involved in attracting and retaining students through new and emerging marketing trends and enrolment practices, as well as enhancing the learner experience through enrolment management and student services. We strive to develop leaders in marketing, communications, and student services through the exploration of theories and trends and sharing of best practices, strategies and tactics that shape enrolment and meet institutional goals. The community also explores applications and software in the categories of CRM systems, enrolment systems, student information systems, finance or enterprise systems, data analytics, artificial intelligence, student response systems, and other technologies. The community will foster leadership development for individuals seeking to enhance and grow their expertise by learning from industry experts and collaborating with colleagues globally. Professionals at all levels can develop their knowledge and skills and stay relevant in the ever-changing continuing education, marketing, and communications environments.

What are Communities of Practice?*

Communities of Practice are groups of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and interact regularly to learn how to do it better. Communities of Practice come in many forms – small to large, informal to formal, local to global. They have the following in common:

  1. Members share a domain of interest – value their collective knowledge
  2. Members engage in joint activities and discussions – learn from each other
  3. Members develop a shared repertoire of resources – tools, templates, ideas, strategies for solving problems, updates on developments

How do they form and grow?

Communities of Practice are “organic” and often voluntary in nature. Members are attracted and engaged by practical discussions of ideas, issues and lessons learned. Groups are sustained by regular interactions (e.g., meetings, teleconferences, email discussions, one-to-one networking) that are valuable and relevant.

What benefits do they offer?

The CAUCE CoP’s provide an effective way for members to share ideas and approaches, problems and solutions, knowledge and insights. They offer an opportunity for new continuing educators to gain an introduction to the field and for seasoned professionals to stay informed about the latest developments. 


* Adapted from content on Etienne Wenger’s web site ( and the CAUCE Professional Development Committee May 2006.

Updated October, 2018.