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07-08 Annual Report

Page history last edited by Matt Bryant Cheney 11 years, 7 months ago

This Year in CN Bonner World


3. 07-08 Program Highlights


a. Implementation of Student Development

i.        Trainings and Meetings

Ø  Bonner Freshman Orientation with family picnic, folk dancing mixer, & dinner at locally

       owned restaurant serving regional food; bioregional tour & films; conversations with

       local community leaders & Highlander Center staff; service project & orientation to

       regional issues with Clearfork Community Institute in Eagen, TN

Ø  All All-Bonner Retreat with effective fish-bowl mixer & team-building ropes course

Ø  Bonner Webbers Trainings for each Bonner student with Karina Fox

Ø  Fall semester freshmen service class addressed the workings of the Bonner program, types of service and citizenship, community mapping, & food security

Ø  Bonner Congress—three Bonners participated in the fall gathering of Bonner Congress reps

Ø  Weekly Bonner Leadership Team meetings

Ø  Monthly All-Bonner meetings with handouts and training sessions by Bonner students and staff

Ø  One-on-one meetings with the Bonner Coordinator for mentoring throughout the year

Ø  Grant writing workshop planning & networking with our campus grants writer, a C-N alum who has started her own grant consulting firm, & a Bonner Faculty Fellow with a strong record of success grant applications

Ø  Boston IMPACT conference—six plus one staff attended bringing back helpful information including a campus recycling grant that one of our Bonners subsequently applied for and won

Ø  Bonner Foundation Consultations—Running a meeting & site-based team workshops with Annie and Ari; helpful meetings and conversations during campus visits by Wayne and Bobby; many phone consultations about procedures, problems, strategies

Ø  Bonner Scholar Search Committee—Bonner students helped lead and participate in the review of applications for incoming freshmen, and made recommendations for acceptance

Ø  Summer Leadership Institute—four students and two staff participated bringing back information on the Bonner wiki project among other useful items

Ø  Class, project, & transition meetings—Bonners participated in planning and preparation sessions for re-visioning the academic program, freshman trip, sophomore exchange, the junior/senior Washington enrichment trip

Ø  Student participation in new Bonner Coordinator search—Two Bonner students (David Wasserman and Carty McSween) served on the Search Committee along with Dr. Osborne and Dr. Vanlandingham, faculty representatives, and a community representative.  This service involved reviewing credentials of applicants, participating in phone interviews with the semi-finalists, and helping to interview and evaluate the finalists. 


ii. First Year Trip 

This year for the First Year Service Trip our Bonners spent a week in the Charleston area doing housing repair and learning about Gullah culture. Our community partner was the United Methodist Relief Center which was established in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo to help low-income families rebuild their homes but which has evolved into a permanent non-profit working on housing issues. The UMRC has three distinct programs and we learned about and worked in all three areas.

Ø  Owner Occupied Rehabilitation works in rural areas to repair substandard housing.

Ø  Houses on the Move works with homeowners who want to demolish an older house to save the house and have it moved to a new site.  UMRC then rehabs the house and sells it to a qualified low-income family.

Ø  Elderly Transportable Cottages program builds small homes suitable for a single elderly person and places it on land he/she owns. When the home is no longer needed, UMCR moves it to a new site for another client.


During our week in Mt. Pleasant we logged over 370 hours in each of these programs, meeting clients, doing construction work, and learning how non-profits leverage government funds, private donations, volunteers and community involvement to create and sustain a long- lasting program that helps people long after “disaster relief” programs are gone. During the semester prior to the trip students met bi-weekly to learn about  the culture and the history of the St. Johns Island community, a predominantly African-American area that played an important role in the Civil Rights movement. We made a conscious effort to spend money in the local communities in which we stayed and worked in order to demonstrate to students the positive impact spending can have when done thoughtfully and responsibly. 


iii. Second Year Exchange

This year our sophomore exchange was a collaboration with Maryville and Tusculum Colleges around the issue of nuclear proliferation. We attended a public meeting sponsored by the DOE at the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge. Y-12 has been involved in disassembling nuclear warheads for many years but under a new proposal by the DOD it would become a center for refurbishing nuclear warheads. C-N students met for an orientation workshop which presented the history of nuclear proliferation and nuclear disarmament. At the public meeting students watched citizens participate in the political process. They were able to hear various sides of the issue—those opposed because of the environmental damage to the region; those opposed to the plan because it violates our disarmament treaties; those opposed to nuclear weapons on moral grounds; those in favor of the proposal because of the potential jobs that will be created and the economic benefits to the community; those in favor for reasons of patriotism and national security. The students came from the meeting with a new perspective on a global issue that has urgent local relevance.  Wayne Meisel attended our exchange with us and had the chance to eat some locally famous pizza at Big Ed’s pizza. A few weeks later the sophomores visited the exhibit “100 Suns” at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The exhibit contained 100 thought-provoking reimaged photographs from National Archives that documented nuclear tests from the post-WWII era. A local anti-nuclear activist gave a tour of the exhibit and the director of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance shared dinner with us and talked about the organization and its work.


iv. Third Year (and beyond) Leadership Roles

We have a long and sustained history of student leadership in the CN Bonner program.  This year was very challenging for us because we went through a major and traumatic transition in terms of the leadership and overall direction of the program. Student leaders stepped in to help us navigate the difficulties we encountered.  This past year was remarkable in having a group of upper classmen who helped hold the program together as we were dealing with many transitions and challenges.  For example, we met weekly as a Bonner Council that brought Bonner faculty and staff together with Bonner junior and senior officers (Matt Cheney, Noah Case, Lauren Parham, Chris Wooden) to navigate the challenges of our program transitions.  Other third and fourth year Bonners fulfilled key programmatic leadership roles including Anna Clements (Global Outreach), Betsy Dorn (Best Buddies), and Ashley Bryant (various Bonner & campus initiatives).  Every third and fourth year student had a least one significant leadership role as a either member or chair of a Bonner program committee.   


In addition, our student leaders continued to seek out training and experiences to broaden their perspective and enhance their leadership skills.  Requests for Junior/Senior Leadership Money included: 

Ø  Lauren Parham, Carmen Fox, and Jade Mouron—spring break immersion service trip to Nicaragua

Ø  Junior/Senior Leadership/Enrichment Trip to Washington DC to study world hunger issues and advocacy through Bread for the World

Ø  Betsey Dorn—attendance at the national Best Buddies Conference

Ø  Sarah Eum—service immersion in  English language mentoring for Korean immigrants

Ø  Anna Clements and Faye Villaneuva—medical service trip to Dominican Republic

Ø  We also had Bonner leaders launch or continue important campus /community initiatives including: Hunger Week, Films for Change, Race Equality Week, Campus Recycling, Underground RailRoad Festival, Best Buddies Chapter, Fair Trade Week, and Global Outreach.


v. Senior Capstone 

This was the first year we have had individual senior capstone presentations of learning.  Seniors presented highlights and lessons of their four years of service and learning to their fellow Bonners, faculty, friends, and parents at two Friday night sessions held in our Student Activities Center.  After a promising beginning, the senior capstone is being developed for future years as a year-long project by seniors that integrates their Bonner experience and commitments into an Honors project, senior research project or internship, or other culminating endeavor.  We look forward to spring 2009 when the next class of seniors present and interpret their work for fellow Bonners, family, friends, campus and community. 



 b. Implementation of Community Partnerships:  


      i.&ii. Our Work with Community Partners    

BONNER COMMUNITY FELLOWS—We are emphasizing Partners as Co-educators and looking for ways to have a long-term measurable impact in our community. One initiative we are pleased to have started this past year is an advisory board we’re calling the Bonner Community Fellows. 

Ø  Members include Bill Nickle (Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center), Marie Cirillo (Clearfork Community Institute), Jean-Ann Washam (Appalachian Outreach), Steve Clements & Shannon Miller (Mossy Creek Network), and Peggy Dockery (Citizens for Justice Equality & Fairness).

Ø  Our Bonner Community Fellow invitation read as follows—“First, will you allow us to recognize your long-standing commitment to community service by becoming a Bonner Community Fellow?  Bonner Community Fellows serve in an advisory capacity and agree to attend at least one Bonner-related function a year (or any and all depending on your schedule, interest, and availability).  As advisors, we will ask you once a year to review our Bonner Center programs and give us constructive feedback on how to better think about and do service learning and civic engagement with our students, including how to partner with community organizations more effectively so the time community persons give to our students by allowing them to volunteer is truly productive.  From time to time you may be invited to participate in campus forums and other events but these will be entirely voluntary.  (We normally compensate our community volunteers with honoraria to cover expenses and as a small token of our deep appreciation for you and the wealth of experience you have to share with our students and faculty).”

Ø  Participation—Bonner Community Fellows participated in a reception and film discussion for the freshman Bonners during Orientation in the fall and in the campus visits and campus visits and interviews of candidates for the new Bonner Coordinator this spring.  Several worked with us to place a Bonner student in a semester-long internship (Bill Nickle), plan and conduct an alternative spring break (Marie Cirillo), and develop closer collaboration in setting up a site-based team (Jean-Ann Washam). 


PRIMARY COMMUNITY PARTNERS—We’ve made some major changes in our relationship with our community partners. We have identified a few key partners to work with and have been strengthening ties to them as part of our training and enrichment for students. 

Ø  Appalachian Outreach, which runs a homeless shelter, food pantry, clothing ministry, tutoring services for Hispanic and also low-income kids, and a summer housing repair program is one of our key partners. We had a strategic planning session with Jean Ann Washam (director & one of our Bonner Community Fellows) in the spring and made plans to implement better training for Bonners working in the various areas of AO and to prepare them to take on activities such as organizing fund-raising drives, doing research on local issues, planning community education about the programs AO offers, and helping manage other volunteers.  Next year we will launch our first site-based team with AO as a primary community partner (see below).  Students will also be learning how to write grants to help fund new initiatives at AO and in other organizations.

Ø  Clearfork Community Institute, in Eagan, TN, is a new partner for us and working with them has helped us delve much more deeply into regional issues such as strip mining, environmental degradation, and the “hidden costs” of energy production. The director, Marie Cirillo, has worked with us to develop a partnership model that engages student in doing volunteer work alongside, rather than simply “for” members of the community. We now include an overnight trip to Clearfork in our First Year Orientation to give students a greater awareness of how we who live outside of the coal-producing communities are affecting the lives of people there –even though we rarely think about or see them. We get to know the people in the community and learn from them. We are exploring ways to help them with ongoing research projects that study local issues and propose policy initiatives to improve life in their community and region.

Ø  Journey Partners—We are excited about this new partner for international service. Carson-Newman Bonners have long been known for their work internationally during the summer and over spring break. We are now working with Journey Partners to place students in local communities in Zimbabwe, Brazil, Russia, and Costa Rica where they work with local communities on needs that they have identified.


iii. Integration of site-based or project teams 

Ø  Appalachian Outreach will be a major site-based team for students working on local issue of systemic poverty, poor educational opportunities for children, homelessness, and substandard housing in our area

Ø  Public Education—A public education site-based team will be launched next year.  Over 60% of the children in our local elementary school (5 minutes away from us) are on free or reduced lunch and many children do not have access to high-quality enrichment programs. The graduation rate at our local high school is failing to meet No Child Left Behind standards and as a state we have one of the lowest graduation rates for both African-American and Latino youth. This team will be working with local schools to expand our overall campus participation in the America Reads and America Counts programs, establish mentoring programs for low-income and at-risk students in area high schools and middle schools, and continue to strengthen tutoring programs for at-risk elementary school children.  This team will also explore the possibility of working with Mountainview Youth Detention Center (15 minutes away) to offer tutoring to incarcerated students who are working on their GEDs.  Carson-Newman has a strong teacher education program and we are working with them to develop these plans for engaging more fully in our local school system.

Ø  Project Teams—In addition to our primary site-based teams, we are implementing a Project Team meeting structure that clusters other placement sites into similar categories of service for Bonners who serve at sites other than Appalachian Outreach and with the public school system.  These include Poverty/Hunger/Disaster Relief (helping others in need), Extending Educational Access (other social/academic mentoring & tutoring), Beyond Borders (community-building across race, belief, nationality, ability, and other differences), Enhancing Community Health (health care for all meeting community-defined needs), Arts for Social Change (cultural work to nourish community & spirit), Building Just & Sustainable Communities (caring for the well-being of people & planet), Human Rights/peace Advocacy (putting nonviolence & just peacemaking into practice). 



c.  Campus-wide Culture and Infrastructure: 


i.           Key relationships and activities involving faculty and academic connections. In particular,  

       what work was done with relevant coursework, a minor, or other curricular integration.

Ø  Bonner Faculty Fellows—We established an advisory group of faculty called the Bonner Faculty Fellows from departments across campus—Mel Hawkins (religion), Mark Borchert (film studies), Susan Karr (environmental science), Ray Dalton (sociology), Kara Stooksbury (political science), Maria Clark (foreign languages), Ernest Lee (English & Appalachian Studies), Sheila Gains (library services), Rodney Dyer (career services), Bethany White (English), Mary Ball (ecology), Jim Wilson (campus ministries).

Ø  Job description for Bonner Faculty Fellows—1. Review and advise regarding the academic requirements for the Bonner Scholar program on an annual basis to assess if we are on the right track or if changes are needed.  This would involve one meeting per year, probably in the fall.  2. Be willing to integrate a community-based learning component in at least one disciplinary course that you teach using good service learning practice principles; be willing to write up a brief description and assessment of that course component for our annual end-of-year report to the Bonner Foundation.  3. Be willing to participate in and/or co-lead an on-campus faculty development initiative addressing how to integrate community-based pedagogy across the curriculum once a year, probably in the spring.  4. Be willing to attend a relevant national Bonner Foundation-related conference or institute--not every year but once in a while.  5. Advocate on behalf of community-engaged learning in matters pertaining to the college mission, general education, faculty advancement, etc.  

Ø  Developed new civic engagement minor—We proposed and were approved for a new minor in social entrepreneurship.  We are approaching social entrepreneurship as an interdisciplinary strategy for civic engagement including community organizing and community-based & policy research.  This area of study is described in more detail through a new Facebook group we recently organized as the Carson-Newman chapter of the Association for Social Entrepreneurship (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=20425924435).

Ø  New Bonner academic curriculum—We have proposed and were approved for a beefed-up Bonner curriculum to begin this fall semester.  It includes a 2-hour Bonner freshman seminar, “Be the Difference: A Beginner’s Guide to Changing the World,” that is part of our new Liberal Arts program.  Sophomore Bonners will take a 1-hour course, “Social Entrepreneurship Seminar.”  Juniors will take a 2-hour course, “Social Entrepreneurship Practicum.”  And seniors are to complete a senior capstone experience that can be for-credit in their major (research, internship, etc.) or an independent, non-credit experience.

Ø  Bonner presentations to faculty—About 20% of the C-N faculty met with Bobby Hackett on his campus visit in the fall to learn about how the Bonner program was evolving and express their support for it.  Dr. Osborne & Dr. Vanlandingham made a fall presentation to the faculty explaining the Bonner program changes and the endowment process and a spring presentation complete with hand-outs explaining the difference between direct service and the kinds of service-learning we are emphasizing as Bonner students progress in their studies and Bonner Student Development Model (community-based & policy research, etc.).

Ø  Faculty participation in new Bonner Coordinator search—Two Bonner Faculty Fellows served on the Search Committee and helped review credentials, conduct the phone interviews with the semi-finalists, and interview and evaluate the finalists.  Four faculty (not Fellows) made their classes available for class presentations by the finalists and gave us their feedback.

Ø  Collaborated with a computer graphics class to produce a new generation of recruitment materials for the Bonner program

Ø  Social Science faculty integrated policy research & advocacy into their teaching—Public policy research & advocacy as a part of coursework has become a priority in the Division of Social Sciences under the leadership of our new dean, Dr. Laura Wadlington.  Dr. Wadlington herself integrates such topics and research assignments as day care policy, Federal laws governing disability classification for children, and the impact of deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill into her psychology courses from the freshman year on.  In her capstone senior seminar, psychology majors prepare for and conduct a pro-con debate on a current public policy issue relevant to the field.  Other faculty in the division who integrate similar kinds of topics and research assignments include Osborne (psychology), Vanlandingham (history), Stooksbury (political science), and Dalton (sociology). 


ii.         Key relationships and activities involving other departments or divisions on campus (for

       example for recruitment, student wellness or retention, financial aid, and so on).

Ø  Board of Trustees—Approved encumbering $2M in unrestricted gifts to the college to serve as the institutional match for endowment by the Bonner Foundation.

Ø  President & Provost—Dr. Osborne & Dr. Vanlandingham maintained regular communication with President Sloan and Provost Arrington during the year, including emails and face-to-face meetings on important matters including the transition experience, the new Bonner Coordinator search, moving ahead with Bonner House renovations, and approaching the Board of Trustees about approving the $2M match as part of the endowment process.  Both were extremely supportive of the Bonner program in all matters we presented to them.

Ø  All departments & offices—C-N Recycles was entirely Bonner student run and depended on across campus cooperation.

Ø  Admissions—Excellent collaboration with Bonner staff in recruitment of Bonner students including distributing program and application materials, developing new materials, and meeting with Bonner staff and student leadership to devise new and effective recruitment strategies.

Ø  Financial Aid—Excellent collaboration with Bonner staff in making Bonner scholarship awards and withholding awards for students on probation; helped explain the financial aid process to Bonner staff; worked to insure full institutional compliance with Bonner Foundation guidelines for the awarding of financial aid.

Ø  Athletics, Music, etc—Regular consultations between Bonner staff and advisors in departments and programs that compete for the time commitments of Bonner students to insure students’ academic and athletic responsibilities are met but without compromising their Bonner responsibilities.

Ø  Career Services Office—Working with Bonner staff and students to develop a Nonprofit Career Fair and a grant-writing workshop to be offered in 2008-2009.

Ø  Grants & Foundations Office—Working with Bonner staff and students to develop a grant-writing workshop for students.

Ø  Campus Ministries—Many excellent collaborations with Bonner staff and students in planning direct service kinds opportunities for the campus (Operation InAsMuch, Fall & Spring Community Service Chapels, MLK Day, alternative spring break, Earth Day Chapel, etc.).   Jim Wilson (currently campus minister) is moving into a new position effective 2008-2009 in which he will oversee Church Missions and Vocations.  Jim’s new office will be located upstairs at the Bonner House which will make future collaborations even more convenient. 


iii.            Unique initiatives (such as events or strategic planning) that have enhanced 

          institutionalization of service and civic engagement on campus. 

Ø  Secured the $2M match for endowment of the Bonner Center for Service Learning & Civic Engagement as authorized by the C-N Board of Trustees in May.

Ø  Occupied and renovating the Tipton House which officially became the Bonner House—Renovations now fully underway during the summer and will be completed by Freshman Orientation for Fall 2008 semester; this facility is approximately 2,500 square feet and includes a large multi-use meeting room; kitchen; small group social/meeting space; office/work space for the Bonner Center Director, the Bonner Coordinator, the Bonner Administrative Assistant, and Community Connections (student-led, Bonner program facilitating campus-wide volunteerism, faculty implementation of service-learning pedagogies, and campus-school partnerships); conference room; and extra space for work study and possible future VISTA workers. The building has already become popular as a gathering place for students for monthly Fair Trade Coffee Houses and community groups needing meeting space.  It will be put into use as a pleasant gathering place for faculty who will come for interdisciplinary conversations and workshops around the themes of integrating service-learning, community-based research, and policy advocacy into their teaching.

Ø  Created the two permanent faculty/administrative positions of Bonner Center director and co-director

Ø  Established the Bonner Faculty Fellows and Bonner Community Fellows advisory committees

Ø  Faculty approved the new minor social entrepreneurship

Ø  Faculty approved a Bonner-only section of LA 101 Liberal Arts Seminar

Ø  Faculty approved a community service requirement for all students beginning Fall 2008 through the LA 101 Liberal Arts Seminar

Ø  Faculty approved a new four-year Bonner academic curriculum

Ø  Organized SEFE: Students Encouraging Further Education to develop partnerships in communities with schools serving at-risk students to mentor them in college readiness and serve as an effective recruiting tool for our Bonners program

Ø  Began planning our first annual Nonprofit Career & Graduate School Fair for the campus in collaboration with our Career Services Office (evolving into a new Center for Life Directions beginning 2008-2009)


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