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Community-Engaged Signature Work - Campus Examples

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Community-Engaged Signature Work

Overview   |  Guides  |  Campus Examples  |  Documents to Download


Bonner Program Capstone Requirement


Here's a partial list of schools who have either made the capstone project a requirement for their Bonner graduates or have begun to work through advising and training to have students take on capstone projects. Take a look at some of the examples and supporting resources that they have created below.


  • College of Charleston
  • High Point University
  • Rollins College 
  • Stetson University
  • Siena College 
  • Washington & Lee University 


It's important to keep in mind that the project should be the result of a dialogue and agreement between the community partner (or community constituent) and the student (or team of students and faculty) to design and carry out the work. This involves:


  • A reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship between the student and designated community partner and/or contact – which involves ongoing dialogue and exchange between the individual, agency, or group and the student (and faculty member)
  • A community identified need or intended benefit for the student’s academic work
  • Academic inquiry (which may take many forms) that intentionally connects with the intended purpose and project 
  • Mentoring and/or advisory relationships for the students (with a faculty member and/or a community representative)


Capstone Examples - College of Charleston


In 2016-2017, the six graduating seniors at College of Charleston (a program in its 9th year) each completed a capstone, as shared by Domenico Ruggerio with the Foundation. Each graduating conducted a year-long capstone project that connected their service and academic work. These projects and poster board artifacts allowed students to bridge their civic work with personal and intellectual interests. Highlighting their vast and interdisciplinary pursuits, and the depth of their service reflection, the Seniors presented their capstones during one of the last Bonner meetings of the year. Further, their poster boards were on display during the Bonner Commencement event. Attached are select capstone artifacts. They show the range of disciplinary and service interests that can be linked with civic work.


  • American Cancer Society Capstone: Brooke Horton analyzed social factors in the quality of healthcare.
  • Chronic Geriatric Diseases Capstone: Julia Taylor conducted a thematic analysis of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and Alzheimer's Disease among older adults.
  • Humanitarian Machine Learning Capstone: Stephen Baldwin did a case study (using computer science) of loan approvals, analyzing them from a humanitarian framework. 
  • Meat Consumption and Early Onset Puberty Capstone: Jasmine Lazarus did a small study to analyze the effects of consuming meat containing antibiotics and its effects on the development of early onset puberty in females. This research was then shared with the after-school program to help guide its nutritional programming. 
  • Reducing Youth Health Disparities Capstone: Angela Jones applied her major in Public Health to analyzing five health interventions and their effects on students in a local after-school program that she worked with throughout the year.
  • School to Prison Pipeline Capstone: Anjali Naik took a transdisciplinary approach to computers, art, and social justice through the creation of an interactive data visualization. She compiled and displayed the data of the year’s annual Charleston County school-based arrest report to analyze social disparities in student arrests within the local community.
  • Download the full set of six examples here!


Capstones in the Making - High Point University


In 2017-18, High Point will support its first full class of four cohort groups and multiple seniors. The co-curricular component of a Senior Capstone Project will be introduced with this group of seniors. High Point's main goal is to work with seniors implementing this addition to the program. Each student submitted a thorough proposal before the end of the 2016-2017 year with an anticipated nine who will complete projects. Example Capstone Projects include: an Exercise Science Major working on a Healthy Living project with fitness trackers and a small group of residents from the community center, a Media major working on a film project following several First- Generation/Bonners through their experiences at High Point University and a Non-Profit major working with the Greater High Point Food Alliance and her partner site West End Ministries to identify “Golden Carrot” pantries in the city of High Point. Each student has a Community Partner Mentor, a Faculty Mentor and support from our Bonner staff to carry out their project. Additionally, this year High Point will implement its new minor in Civic Responsibility and Social Innovation, which was approved in spring of 2017. The minor was created to complement the existing Bonner Leader Program so that Bonners might pair their community work with academic rigor. The minor uses general education courses and existing Bonner weekly meetings as the skeletal system for its beginnings. There are two courses unique to it, an ethics course and the Senior Capstone. Several Bonners may be a part of this minor as well. Contact Joe Blosser or Mary Beth Foust for more information.


Beefing Up the Faculty Connection and Partner Role - Siena College


Siena College made capstones a requirement for Bonner Leaders several years ago. Students work with their community partners to identify a project, coached through the process by staff during 1-to-1 advising meetings using a structure that discusses their academic work, site projects and roles, and other personal development. In 2017-2018, Siena will be working to strengthening the capstone process by focusing on the training and development structure that is provided for students. Dr. Ruth Kassel will be spearheading this initiative by increasing the rigor of training in preparation for the capstone work. Beginning in the Fall 2017 semester, Siena's Bonner Program will implement monthly two hour meetings with our senior class and students in the Dake Fellowship program (which is a year-long intensive research program) where our fellows will meet to discuss progress on their capstones. They will hold writing workshops where fellows and Bonners are trained and supported to write an abstract, get and give feedback on their writing, complete the research and project work, and put together a capstone presentation. All students will be presenting on their capstone process throughout the semester to receive feedback. Siena also plans to support capstone students to submit abstracts at the end of the fall semester to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) which will help to solidify their projects earlier in the year. This might also support their independent publishing opportunities. Finally, students will put together a capstone poster which they will help them draft and edit during the spring semester in preparation for the campus-wide Academic Celebration. Below are some examples of past capstones, which have involved CBR and capacity-building projects.


Below are two handouts that might be useful for others working on similar integration:


A Junior/Senior Capstone Requirement to Support Community Partners - Stetson University


Stetson opted to create a Junior Capstone project requirement, which would involve a specific capacity-building project or role at the service site for students. As part of an overhaul of our Junior and Senior cornerstones, Stetson Juniors are create and implement a capacity-building project during their junior year that is then institutionalized during their senior year in order to ensure that there is sustained long-term impact at their main CLA site. Stetson's Senior Legacy Presentation then challenges the student to reflect on their tenure in Bonner, particularly their Junior Capstone Project’s impact on the self and the partner. Over 2017-2018, Stetson's goal is to look at the requirements for the Junior Capstone more closely and determine how they can make these projects even more beneficial for students’ development as well as partner capacity-building, particularly in how they are able to articulate some of the major needs of their community partners/CLA sites upon completion of the research and needs assessment required to build a capstone proposal.


Link to 2017-2018 Annual Report Collection of Examples


With efforts to integrate a required capstone for juniors and seniors, and to build opportunities for integrative pathways, we are interested in producing a printed publication and online repository of student work. Its purpose will be to inspire ideas and illustrate the many different types of projects and connections. Please identify one senior to profile this year in the national publication (you may send additional or want to make your own booklet if you'd like). This senior’s capstone project should be a capacity-building or social action project and, ideally, reflect integrative learning across their Bonner and academic experience. The student may or may not have received academic credit for the project, but it should reflect a connection with academic learning.


For this profile, each school is being asked to submit a short few paragraphs of text (500 words or fewer) and related photo. The text should include:

      • The student’s name and institution
      • The student’s major, minor, and/or certificate
      • The name of the related community partner or constituency (if a social action project)
      • The name of the faculty advisor (if the student had a faculty advisor or connection)
      • A summary of what the student did, especially highlighting the project, related learning, and its impact or importance to the community
      • Photo (of student, display, or with partner - optional)


You may download a template and find examples on the following page: Capstone Template and Examples