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Bonner Pipeline Project

Page history last edited by Liz Brandt 3 years, 1 month ago

Front Page / Opportunities / Bonner Pipeline Project / Overview



Bonner Pipeline Project




Overview  |  Guides  |  Campus Examples  |  Documents to Download




More than ever before, campuses are seeking skilled and experienced staff who can lead increasingly integrated and campus-wide community and civic engagement efforts. With this growth is increased complexity in leadership roles, with staff managing student development, community partnerships, and integration with faculty and other offices and departments across campus. As Robert Sigmon wrote in a 1992 report to the Bonner Foundation:


"Program directors are finding a stretch in their associations, as they necessarily have to become program developers, political strategists, communicators across many boundaries, counselors, learners, wisdom figures, interpreters, planners and problem solvers.”


We believe the Bonner Program and national network offer an invaluable training ground for professionals in the field. This pipeline is already producing results, with Bonner Program alumni making up more than a third of Bonner Program coordinators and directors. Up until now, we have described this pipeline informally and as an implicit goal supported by annual meetings and program development initiatives.  


Now, the Bonner Pipeline Project is designed to make the goals and strategies explicit, while also seeking to identify and nurture Bonner students and staff to identify leadership in higher education as a career path. Our pipeline centers on the developmental pathway from being a student in Bonner Program into assuming a leadership role in a campus center.


  • Emerging Leaders: We are identifying the Bonner Senior Intern position as the first rung on this professional pathway.  It is clustered with entry level positions for helping to coordinate the Bonner Program or perhaps manage student engagement through clubs and organizations. Some of these positions are occupied by individuals in an AmeriCorps or VISTA year of service.


  • Program CoordinatorsThen there is the mid-level professional roles which vary widely in campus-wide centers for community and civic engagement, including Bonner Program Coordinators and staff who lead other programs within their centers or other units on campus (Student Affairs Clubs and Organizations, programs based in academic departments, etc.).


  • Program Directors: Third, there are Bonner Directors, who play less of hands-on role with the program but focus on its integration with a variety of units including Admissions, Financial Aid, Diversity & Inclusion, academic departments, and the Office of the President.


  • Center Directors: Fourth are the Center Director roles, which are often taken by seasoned professionals who manage a larger operation including the Bonner Program and other efforts to integrate civic engagement across the curriculum and institution.


Some campuses have more complex staffing (Assistant Directors, Graduate Assistants, Community Partner Coordinators, etc.) while other campuses have less. The idea is to support your development, as a civic engagement professional, to achieve your desired career aspirations in this field.


This pipeline can continue into institutional leadership roles. As individuals advance into leadership roles in centers, or they may pursue leadership in Student Affairs, other centers, or through academic positions as faculty and, later, as deans, vice presidents, and presidents.


Future resources may also explore the pathways of Bonner Program alumni into leadership in the K-12, nonprofit, government, and higher education sectors more broadly. For instance, in summer of 2018, the Foundation and Bonner Summer Interns will reach out to and interview Bonner Alumni who work in a broad range of sectors to learn more about their professional and personal pathways. Through collecting and analyzing these stories, the Foundation will also create a number of sector guides, intended to enrich the education and reflection resources for students across the Bonner Network. In particular, these sector guides will seek to describe how Bonner Alumni moved into these roles, what qualifications and steps were necessary, and how these alumni have given expression to the commitments and values they developed as Bonners.


For more information on the Bonner Pipeline Project, please watch this introduction video.