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Campus Wide Integration - Goals and Frameworks

Page history last edited by Dominique Dore 1 year, 10 months ago

 Front Page / Campus-Wide Integration / Goals and Framework


Campus-Wide Integration


Starting with goals, framework, and philosophies, this section will help Bonner Program staff or faculty members at campuses in the network understand and build the infrastructure, capacity, and managerial processes to support the campus-wide engagement of students, faculty, staff, and the optimum utilization of the assets of each campus.  



The Foundation and network embraces three major goals in this area:


1) "Everybody Everyday" - Including Faculty and Institution 

The Bonner Program, a powerful cohort of engaged student leaders, helps build a campus-wide culture and infrastructure for significant community engagement. On an engaged campus, many students, faculty, and campus staff will be involved with the program on a day-to-day basis and also during multiple years. In order to foster significant engagement with the local community that is reciprocal, mutually beneficial, and responsible, campuses need at least one community engagement center or office to fulfill key leadership and management roles. On some campuses, it may be advantageous for more than one campus office to be involved in the program. 


2) Building a Culture and Infrastructure for Campus-Wide Engagement 

To build and sustain campus-wide engagement, the community engagement center and its leadership (including staff, faculty, and students) also need to collaborate with other departments and functional areas across the institution. These relationships and campus partnerships help support a strong and well-resourced Bonner Program, and they also ensure greater alignment and integration of service, community and civic engagement with other aspects of campus life and the mission, strategy, curriculum of the host institution. As part of this goal, ensuring that the work of civic engagement is built into the academic fabric of the institution is important. 


3) Catalyzing Campus-Wide Student Engagement 

Student leadership, student voice, and student engagement are the core of the Bonner Program philosophy and are also an integral part of the mission of the Bonner Foundation. Creating a framework for student engagement has always been a key goal of the Bonner Foundation -- and remains one -- with the Bonner Program often serving as the main catalyst for broader and deeper campus engagement.


According to a variety of sources such as the annual HERI survey of students and Campus Compact annual surveys, student engagement in service has steadily increased since the 1980's. Still, some reports and scholarly research (e.g., the National Assessment of Student Community Engagement) suggest that ongoing engagement of students may involve only a small proportion of students at a particular campus or may be limited in depth. 


Traditionally, many students have engaged in service through clubs, organizations, ethnic centers, fraternities and sororities, and student government. After organizations like Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL) started the Into the Streets program during the 1990s or the non-profit Break Away organization helped campuses build alternative spring break trips, many campuses developed mechanisms for short-term service immersions such as such opportunities during Freshmen Orientation or annual service trips. 



Bonner Approach to Integrative Learning




Bonner Community Engagement Framework


The Bonner Program rests on a number of developmental models, including for students, partnerships, and even faculty engagement. At the risk of oversimplifying things, the chart below provides a framework that explains how we view campus community engagement and how it has evolved over the years, and where we find our next challenges and opportunities. We then describe the components of the framework with a historical lense. 




The Bonner Program is built along a four-year developmental model for students. This model translates into a scaffolded set of expectations and experiences, both in the context of community service and engagement and within students' academic and co-curricular learning. At the core of this model is the opportunity for students to work intensively over each semester in the academic year, and often supplemented by full-time summer internships as well. A student can even stay with the same partner – typically a school, nonprofit organization, or government agency– over multiple years, taking on increased leadership, program, and management roles. Even when a student moves to different sites, s/he is expected to grow. Through intensive training, reflection, and advising, students develop and refine their "Community Learning Agreements" and positions each year.


From the perspective of the community partner, this means that these entities can count on having dedicated time from trained and skilled student volunteers. These students can begin to lead other volunteers or coordinate programs. Over time, they can take on projects that build the capacity of the agency – developing or expanding programs, recruiting or managing other people, writing grants or raising funds, building websites or social media campaigns, doing marketing, planning and running events, and even doing needed research. With the help of campus staff and faculty, any of these roles might be tied to academic study, coursework, and credit.

Additionally, from the perspective of the partner, a connection with a Bonner Program and/or center means that the agency might have a team of campus volunteers, including a mix of underclass and upperclass students, as well as a faculty partner. Hence, as depicted in the graphic above, the site might have a few volunteers (freshmen and sophomores) engaging in direct client service, and coordinated by an experienced student volunteer. Other veteran students might be doing both direct work with clients and capacity building projects. Still others might be doing research and public education. Back on campus, this work might be linked to an entire department or to an interdisciplinary team of faculty.


This structure thus provides an opportunity for innovation in the curriculum itself in ways that position the faculty and institution as long-term sustained collaborators with external partners. To support students to learn and successfully carry out capacity building and research projects, faculty may need to build this work into course assignments or academic pathways. This might involve the development of sequenced coursework (or independent study or theses). Faculty themselves might also link it to their research agendas and teaching, becoming engaged public scholars. In so doing, they can collaborate with partners to seek and secure grants and funding.

This is the vision for integrated community engagement, teaching, and learning inherent in the Bonner Program model. The Foundation and network supports those involved with building the infrastructure, approaches, and know-how to make this vision a reality.

For more historical perspective, read this 8-page background on the Bonner Community Engagement Framework.pdf.