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Community-Engaged Signature Work - Overview

Page history last edited by Dominique Dore 1 year, 4 months ago

 Front Page / Campus-Wide Integration / Community-Engaged Signature Work / Overview



Community-Engaged Signature Work

Overview   |  Guides  |  Campus Examples  |  Documents to Download


In 2015, in light of a decade’s work on the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative, the Association of American Colleges and Universities announced a new charge for colleges and universities to integrate “Signature Work” into the experiences of all undergraduate students. Signature Work is defined as a culminating educational activity (such as a capstone) in which students integrate and apply their learning to a significant project with meaning to the student and to society (AACU, 2015).


See https://secure.aacu.org/AACU/PubExcerpts/LEAPCASE.pdf or the Documents to Download, where you can find a brochure and more information. 


To be capable and ready to take on Signature Work, students will likely need to have been involved in a developmental pathway across their undergraduate education. Such a pathway may involve both curricular and co-curricular experiences. Bonner Scholars and Leaders are already engaged in a four-year developmental experience through their service work, and many of these students may also be finding relevant educational pathways through both formal and informal structures, including majors, minors, and concentrations.


The Bonner Foundation itself has worked with and beyond its network on civically-connected curricular pathways, including to infuse Community-Based Research and Community-Engaged Academic Pathways tied to civic engagement across institutions. These institutional pathways can integrate well with developmental civic and community engagement, like the cocurricular experiences supported intentionally by the Bonner Program’s four-year model. Through these integrated pathways, an undergraduate student (like a Bonner Scholar or Leader) can connect and apply their academic learning from a variety of disciplines for a real purpose, one that benefits a partner, specific population, neighborhood, community, or society. 


The Bonner Foundation calls this “Community Engaged Signature Work.” Over the next decade, the Foundation will work with campuses to build their capacity to integrate Community Engaged Signature Work into the undergraduate journeys of Bonner Scholars and Leaders, as well as other students at the colleges and universities where the Bonner Program is housed. In 2016, the Bonner Foundation will be working with the Association of American Colleges and Universities on an issue of its magazine Diversity & Democracy that will profile and highlight conceptualizations, examples (from current students and alumni), and other innovative work already underway in the Bonner network. Through these efforts, we will also explore the components and strategies for thoughtfully creating and sustaining this work in the fabric of institutional curriculum, culture, and practice.


Bonner Learning Community on Community-Engaged Capstones / Signature Work 


This Bonner Cohort Learning Community will support campus teams interested in putting in place the infrastructure to engage students leaders more reliably in Campus-Wide Student Civic Engagement to increase the number and deepen engagement opportunities.  This learning community will offer support and connections across the cohort of campuses involved (and their staff, faculty, students and partners), facilitating sharing and success.  Some institutions that participate in this cohort may be seeking to develop a new student leadership structures while others will be seeking to expand and better coordinate and support longstanding efforts across campus and within the Bonner Program.



Watch the "Bonner Capstones" video to learn more.