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8 Themes Curriculum

Page history last edited by Rachayita Shah 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Front Page / Bonner Program Resources / Education and Reflection / Training Modules / 8 Themes



Education and Reflection

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


8-Themes Curriculum Modules


The Bonner Foundation's recommended education, training, and reflection calendar is developed keeping in mind students' developmental levels during each of their eight semesters in college and the Bonner program. For each theme we recommend four trainings that can be implemented at any time during that semester, in class- or cohort-based meetings, a retreat, or other forums. 


These 32 meetings would be amongst the broader year-round calendar, including All Bonner Meetings. We have found that many programs use these larger meetings to focus on the Common Commitments - Civic Engagement, Community Building, Diversity, International Perspective, Social Justice, Spiritual Exploration, and Wellness. These meetings also often feature program by a variety of constituents including community partners, faculty, issue focused speakers, and others. 


Additionally, we encourage campuses to implement the 8-part Capstone Workshop Series, which involves one additional workshop per semester. See the listing below. Some campuses may implement particular modules earlier if they are planning to implement a capstone project in the junior year.


Note: Click on the title of the semester below to access and download the workshops. That will take you to a subpage where you can read the workshop descriptions and download guides, handouts, and presentations.



First Year > Fall Semester:  Exploring Identity and Place


In the first term of freshmen year, students explore and find issues and causes in which they can make a difference through service while also learning. They intentionally engage in thinking about identity, learning about themselves and each other, and getting to know the places surrounding the campus where they will engage. The four sessions in this theme support these aims. The first capstone workshop also focuses on exploration. It introduces the capstone concept and inspiring examples, letting freshmen identify and discuss their potential academic, career, and personal interests.


  1. Identity Circles: Exploring Self and Community
  2. Introduction to Public, Private, and Nonprofit Sectors
  3. Engaging in Active Listening and Empathetic Conversation
  4. Community Asset Mapping


  • Capstone #1:Explore Your Palette: An Introduction to the Bonner Capstone 



First Year > Spring Semester: Moving from Service to Solutions


In the second term of freshmen year, students are introduced to a more comprehensive understanding of civic and community engagement. As they find a regular position and a site, they can think critically about how their service and agency are making an impact. These sessions will teach students a philosophy and approach for identifying solutions to the issues they are confronting and understanding how they might contribute to solutions. The second capstone workshop builds on the first, allowing freshmen to revisit their long-term interests for their four years.


  1. Discovering Solutions That Work
  2. Making a Difference - Measuring Impact 
  3. Tackling Root Causes
  4. Building Coalitions for Campus and Community Change


  • Capstone #2: Your True Colors: Integrating Learning, Service, and Identity through a Bonner Capstone



Second Year > Fall Semester:  Leading Teams


During the sophomore year, students continue in a regular direct service position while also beginning to take on leadership roles. In this, they develop a sense of civic agency and identity. Students may begin leading and managing other volunteers or peers or taking on more sophisticated roles. These workshops will help prepare them for service leadership. The third capstone workshop allows students to look ahead, with an introduction to capacity building projects. Students begin to understand the multitude of project types that they can engaged in with community partners, which can prepare them for conversations about their positions and projects.


  1. Leadership Compass: A Tool for Maximizing Diverse Work-styles on Projects 
  2. Conflict Resolution: Handling Interpersonal Dynamics
  3. Planning Effective Meetings
  4. Managing Up: Working Better With Your Boss


  • Capstone #3: Capacity Building and Its Link to Capstones



Second Year > Spring Semester:  Know Your Issue


In the second term of sophomore year, students begin to learn more about the scope of the problem (or issue) they are addressing, the current approaches for making an impact, and identify solutions that are working to solve the problem. These sessions will help students strengthen their research, interview, and presentation skills. The fourth capstone workshop guides students to develop a plan (an initial draft) of their capstone-level project proposal. 


  1. Researching the Scope of a Problem
  2. Researching Current Programs and Policies
  3. Identifying Proven Programs and Practices
  4. Finalizing and Sharing an Issue Brief


  • Capstone #4: Your Capstone Development Plan



Third Year > Fall Semester:  Building Organizational Capacity


In their junior year, students positions’ involve projects that help to build the capacity of an organization in expanding their outreach or strengthening the quality and sustainability of their programs and services. These may include volunteer management, training development, brochure design, fundraising, communications and marketing, research, and more. Some students may engage in social action campaigns. These guides will equip students with a comprehensive, effective approach to building an organization's capacity. As programs integrate a junior and/or senior year capstone, the capstone workshop will prepare students to finalize their own work plans, involvement of advisors, and realistic timeline and supports.


  1. Guide to Volunteer Orientation
  2. Guide to Training Design
  3. Guide to Creating Brochures and Flyers
  4. Guide to Creating Promotional Videos


  • Capstone #5: Your Capstone Nuts & Bolts



Third Year > Spring Semester:  Planning and Managing Projects


In this term, students have completed nearly three years of engagement and worked on different levels. Now, they begin to think about their own upper-class experiences and future pathways. Through positions and education that help them appreciate how they are building organizational and community capacity, they can think critically about the impacts of their work and their potential future pathways, including careers. The capstone workshop prepares students to implement their planned project.


  1. Overview of Project Management with a Case Study
  2. Completing a Project Management Case Study
  3. Hands-on Project Management with Individualized Case Study
  4. Presenting a Case Study and Project Plans for Feedback


  • Capstone #6: Your Capstone Proposal and Work Plan 



Fourth Year > Fall Semester:  Transitioning from College to Career


In the seventh term, as student near graduation, they begin to transition out of leadership roles, passing on learning and information to other student leaders. Depending on your program’s integration of capstones, they may also be launching or completing capacity-building or social action projects with a partner (and possibly in conjunction with academic study). These workshops support students to reflect on and articulate the impact of their Bonner experiences and projects to peers, staff and faculty, family, employers, graduate schools, and others. As students focus on finding what's next, these workshops will support them to successfully articulate their experiences to employers and graduate schools. The capstone workshop (which you can time to fit your program structure) supports the creation of a final implementation plan.


  1. Resume Writing - Maximizing Your Bonner Experience
  2. The Art of Interviewing  
  3. Preparing a Leadership Transition
  4. Building Career Networks: An Introduction 


  • Capstone #7: Reflecting on Your Capstone Project, Learning, and Impact



Fourth Year > Spring Semester:  Preparing for Civically-Engaged Lives


In the eight and/or final term, senior Bonner students are hopefully getting ready to graduate and turning their attention towards the future. Ideally, they have completed capstone projects and reflect on their entire Bonner experience to create and share a Presentation of Learning. These workshops will support students to reflect on their college learning as a whole and be further prepared to pursue post-graduate goals and succeed. They especially emphasize reflective, integrative, and communication skills. The final capstone workshop (done after projects are completed) helps students write and share their Bonner learning through publications, essays, resumes, and other avenues.


  1. Public Speaking 
  2. Life After Bonner - Finding Your Pathway 
  3. Budgeting and Financing Your Life After Bonner  
  4. Staying Well and Engaged: Finding Time for Self-Care in the Midst of Service 


  • Capstone #8: Sharing and Leveraging Your Bonner Experience