The role of partnerships in delivering a children's university program: a case study of the McMaster Children and Youth University

Krista Paquin, Beth Levinson, J. Marshall Beier, Sandeep Raha


The McMaster Children and Youth University (MCYU) was founded with a vision to develop family-based educational engage- ment through community partnerships. The cornerstone of the program is the MCYU’s credo, Question Discover Create. Question your environment, Discover your potential and Create a brighter future. The MCYU has developed partnerships with community organizations, University organizations, parents and the youth to facilitate its two primary outreach efforts. The first arm of the program, the on-campus lecture series, has reached more than 6000 young people and their family members over the last 7 years. This component of the program allows attendees to engage with the University faculty through family friendly lectures and provides an opportunity to pose Questions. The MCYU also provides inquiry-based workshops in public schools, libraries and community centers which are facilitated by multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students from the McMaster University. These workshops allow the youth to experience the feeling of Discovering new knowledge and Creating solutions. In the 2017–2018 academic year the MCYU workshops connected with 964 unique individuals through 101 workshops. Many of those young people attended several workshops demonstrating the MCYU’s success at sustainable educational engagement. Taken together, the MCYU’s mission is to foster more engaged citizenship in our youth.

Keywords: o-creation, family-based education, educational partnerships, youth-citizenship


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Krista Paquin, Ph.D.

The Author specializes in eighteenth-century laboring-class literature and culture. She is an English College Professor at Okanagan College, BC, and an English Lecturer at the Thompson Rivers University, BC. For 3 years during her PhD works she served as an MCYU workshop facilitator and contributed to the administrative management of the MCYU program.

Beth Levinson

The Author is an Educational Developer at the Paul R. McPherson Institute of Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching at the McMaster University. She also has gained her experience as a former middle school teacher in the United States. Currently, she also holds a position as the MCYU Workshop Program Manager.

Marshall Beier, Ph.D.

The Author is a Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the McMaster University. He is a 3M National Teaching Fellow and an occasional lecturer for the McMaster Children and Youth University.

Sandeep Raha, Ph.D.

The Author is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the McMaster University. He is the 2017 recipient of the McMaster President's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning and is an occasional lecturer and the Director as well as a co-founder of the McMaster Children and Youth University.

About the article


The article is in the printed version on pages 8-13.

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How to cite

Paquin, C., Levison, B., Beier, J. M. & Raha, S. (2018). The Role of Partnerships in Delivering a Children's University Program: A Case Study of the McMaster Children and Youth University. e-mentor, 4(76), 8-13. DOI: