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Academic Connections

Page history last edited by Ariane Hoy 5 years, 10 months ago

Home | Suggestions for Action | Definitions & Language | Current Activity | Models

"Students as Colleagues"

Fostering Academic Connections: Resource Handbook for Students

What does academic connections mean to you? It may mean participating in service that pertains to your major, getting faculty involved in service related issues, designing educational service trips or developing service-learning and community based research projects. Regardless of the strategy, creating academic connections will take your ordinary service projects a step further. Let’s do it!


1. Evaluate what’s happening at your campus. What kind of activities is your school doing to build academic connections? What kind of activities would you like to see your school doing? Even if your college has several different activities—including student involvement in service, faculty involvement through a few courses, and community involvement in a few academic projects—there is probably another level of involvement that can be attained. Check out the table below and then you can decide what kind of activities will take your campus to the next level!


Note: This chart is adapted from the matrix on Civic Engagement developed for campuses to use by Barbara Holland.


Level One
(lowest levels)
Level Two
Level Three
Level Four
(highest levels)
Student Involvement Student involvement is mostly part of extracurricular student life activities Campus has organized support for volunteer work (like a center) Students have opportunity for extra credit, internships, practicum experiences Service-learning courses integrated into the curriculum; student involvement in community based research
Faculty Involvement Campus duties; committees; disciplinary focus Pro bono (volunteer) consulting; community volunteerism Tenured/senior faculty pursue community-based research; some teach service-learning courses Community research and service-learning a high priority for faculty; interdisciplinary and collaborative work
Community Involvement Random or limited individual or group involvement Community representation on advisory boards for departments or schools Community influences campus through active partnership or part-time teaching Community involved in designing, conducting and evaluating research and service-learning


Suggestions for Action

6 Suggested actions for connecting your college or university's academic resources to service and civic engagement.


  1. Realize your own power. Faculty may listen to YOU (THE STUDENTS) more than to others in the institution.
  2. Create a partnership with a professor.  Ask a faculty member to be an advisor or mentor for you. Initiate individual options, like an added credit, independent study, or capstone project.
  3. Design a trip and get a faculty member to be a part of it.  Seek out a faculty member who might be able to provide relevant education, because of what they teach or are interested in.
  4. Work with your center director or Bonner Program coordinator to engage faculty, for instance through a board or a "faculty fellow" role.
  5. Create a Course/Class.  (Some schools have departments or programs where students can design a course).
  6. Help teach or be a "teaching assistant" for a faculty member in a course.  Help them plan the connection with a partner and projects. 
  7. Help to develop an academic program or sequence, like a Minor or Certificate.  Look at the models here.  Sit down with staff and faculty to discuss.  Offer to spend a semester or summer working on it, for instance through a summer internship.

Read about each suggestion more in depth here.


Helpful Definitions & Language 

What is "Service Learning" and/or "Community-Based Research"?


What is Bonner Doing Now?

More information about different Curricular activities/models the Bonner Foundation and Bonner Schools continue to develop and implement.


Campus Models

 Berea Service Learning.pdf - "Service Learning Class: Service, Citizenship, and Community," Berea College

 Berry GEAR.pdf - "Grassroots Education Alliance of Rome," Berry College

 Middlesex Research Corps.pdf - "Service and Research Corps at a Soup Kitchen," Middlesex County Community College

 TCNJ Research Corps.pdf  - "Trenton Youth Community-Based Research Corps," The College of New Jersey


Back to Curricular Implementation Guide Index.

Back to the general Implementation Guide Index.



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