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Education and Reflection - Overview

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Front Page / Bonner Program Resources / Education and Reflection / Overview



Education and Reflection

Overview  |  Guides  |  Training Modules  |  Campus Examples  |  Documents to Download



Education, Training, and Reflection Calendar

We recommend that each Bonner Program design and implement a scaffolded education and reflection calendar based on the four-year Bonner Developmental Model, in order to provide a sequenced, progressive exploration of the skills, knowledge, values, and competencies needed for Bonner service work in local communities.



Each campus program should involve staff from the Bonner center and other offices on campus, student leaders (such as Senior Interns), faculty, and/or community partner staff in facilitating and leading these education, training, and reflection opportunities. 


The Bonner Foundation staff offers a large number of written easy-to-do workshops, which you can find in this section.  The training modules are fully developed lesson plans for use in meetings, retreats, and even classroom settings.  The training activities are built around the principles of active learning, often engaging participants through dialogue, problem-solving, case studies, scenarios, and project work. These workshops were developed with the input of Bonner Network staff, National interns who worked with the Bonner Foundation during the summer, and other student leaders across the nation. 


Many of the workshops support the learning and application of 27 skills and six Common Commitments identified as important for Bonner Scholars and Leaders. Additionally, many of these workshops have been augmented as the Bonner Developmental Model has evolved to include more complex projects (such as capacity building) and knowledge outcomes (such as understanding root causes of poverty and public policy analysis). They have evolved as campus practice in particular areas such as more complex concepts in multicultural education (e.g. microaggressions), or campus needs such as support for mental health as a priority for students. 


In 2022-23, the Bonner Foundation updated its recommended developmental training calendar once again. The Foundation has articulated 8 themes, one per semester, and highlighted specific learning outcomes where more focus could support students' application of complex competencies, like project management, policy analysis, capacity building, and post-graduate preparation. These themes can be implemented through five workshops (four theme-based and one from capstone series) per semester in class-based meetings. Additionally, as noted below, we recommend that campuses build out their calendar for other cohort meetings, one-on-one meetings, All Bonner Meetings, and retreats with reflective prompts to maintain the strong focus on Common Commitments (community building, civic engagement and its political dimensions, diversity, international perspective, social justice, and spiritual exploration).





Bonner Orientation




8-Themes Curriculum



Capstone Curriculum



To view the rest of the curriculum and download workshop modules visit the page "Training Modules."


Bonner Meetings

To develop as leaders and do effective work in reciprocal, long-term community partnerships, students in the Bonner Program are provided significant levels (generally 30-60 hours per year) of training, reflection, and education. Many programs even link these meetings to course credit. These regular meetings are a key part of the communication, enrichment, and training for Bonners. Meetings can range from two people getting together to plan a project to an entire Bonner "family" group at a campus attending a training session led by an outside facilitator. Although special projects will require special meetings, Bonner Programs should have standard meeting times and locations scheduled in advance for effective operation of the Program. 


Our Bonner Student Impact and Alumni Surveys tell us that the strongest elements of the Bonner Program for students are opportunities for dialogue across differences, mentor relationships, and structured reflection that complements and magnifies unstructured reflection.  All of these activities and more can take place during regularly scheduled Bonner Program meetings. These meetings will enhance students' skills, encourage a sense of belonging, promote accountability, foster campus-wide and community connections, and lead to high levels of retention and graduation. By strategically building in meetings within the Bonner Student Development framework, the campuses will help support students' civic engagement and leadership. 


Bonner programs use a wide range of meeting types to achieve desired learning outcomes, support student development, track service project management, and build a sense of community among the Bonners. Following are examples of different types of meetings that are integrated within the Bonner Program:


  • One-on-One Meetings (recommended for at least 1x per semester for each student)

 One-on-one meetings between a Bonner Program Staff Member and each Bonner student should occur at least once per semester. More than a casual conversation, this meeting is planned in advance; the staff person should create a framework to guide the conversation and reflection during the one-on-one. Typically, the one-on-one meetings provide an opportunity to discuss the student’s service placement, their goals and objectives for the placement and their personal development, and to reflect on progress toward meeting these goals.  One-on-one meetings also provide campus staff members an opportunity to develop and apply their skills in coaching, advising, and guidance.


  • Class Meetings (recommended by class/cohort for at least 4x per semester)

Class meetings provide opportunities for structured enrichment, training, reflection, program planning, and discussion with Bonners who are part of the same graduation cohort. Because most campuses have about 10-15 members in each cohort, class meetings are effectively small in size. Usually held every other week during the school year, class meetings provide a sense of consistent and ongoing peer and staff interaction and support.  Bonner Program campus-based staff have found that class meetings are excellent forums for engaging students in structured enrichment, training, and reflection activities designed to support student growth in alignment with the Bonner Student Development model.  


  • All-Bonner Meetings (recommended at least 3x per semester)

All-Bonner meetings are important for building the identity and community among Bonner students on each campus. Generally held at least once a month for large programs and every other week for smaller programs, the All-Bonner meetings are a great forum to build, celebrate, recognize, and deepen the Bonner campus community. Such meetings work best when they combine a mix of Bonner Program updates, a training or enrichment opportunity, celebration of achievements, and time for reflection.


  • Issue or Site-Based Team Meetings (recommended at least 2-3x per semester)

Issue or site-based team meetings are designated for Bonner students who are serving together at the same community partner site. These meetings support participation, planning, and reflection while including knowledge or skill-oriented training based on the specific needs of the service site. Issue or site-based team meeting can be led by a student leader selected to be the Site Team Leader. Depending on the needs of the team, ideally these meetings should follow a consistent meeting schedule.


  • Cornerstone or Project Meetings

Program-specific meetings can be developed to meet the demands of planning and implementation of Cornerstone Projects or events. These meetings are comprised of students who are participating in the planning of events such as the Bonner Orientation, First Year Trip, Second Year Exchange, Bonner Interview Day, or other Campus-Wide Service Events.


  • Campus-Wide Enrichment Opportunities

Throughout the academic year, there may be speakers, events, or professional development workshops offered to the campus community that may also serve as enrichment opportunities for Bonner students. Prior to an event being held, the enrichment event should be approved and promoted for this purpose by the Bonner Staff, especially if an event connects to the Bonner Common Commitments, Bonner skills and/or knowledge areas. Some campuses ask for a written reflection after a student attends an enrichment opportunity or require a follow-up reflective dialogue.  




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