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Berea Annual Report

Page history last edited by Luceara W. Cross 12 years, 2 months ago

 

Berea Annual Report – Programmatic Section


Implementation of Student Development: 

How did you implement the developmental model this year within your co-curricular and service activities? (suggested one page text):

  1. The role of trainings, courses, & meetings 
  2. First Year Trip
  3. Second Year Exchange
  4. Third Year (and beyond) Leadership Roles
  5. Senior Capstone & Presentation of Learning

 

 

i.                    Trainings, courses, & meetings

 

Student development and cascading leadership are core operating principles of the Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service (CELTS), which houses the Bonner program as well as 13 other student-led service programs, many of which are led by Bonners.  The Common Commitments and the Five E’s were introduced to First Year Bonners, beginning with our traditional orientation retreat planned and led by the Senior Intern, Freshmen Coordinators, and BSP Coordinator. This year, we added more challenge-based team activities to enhance their initial bonding experience.  During the month of September, the First Years met for two hours each weekday to receive intensive training to prepare them for service as tutors and mentors.   For the remainder of the semester, training was implemented during weekly meetings led by the First Year Leadership Team.  In the January “short term,” we conducted daily, midyear training.  This year, the training focused specifically on diversity and social justice advocacy.   While upperclassmen receive less formal training, they attend “weekly” labor meetings, and are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities for training, in CELTS and around campus.  Their understanding of Bonner values is deepened by practice in service, and augmented by informal mentoring by CELTS staff and community partners, who serve as co-educators in the developmental process.

 

 

Although the First Year training plan is more formalized, all Bonners participate in training through their placement sites, and are required to attend “All Bonner” meetings on a bi-monthly basis.  In these “business meetings,” usually accompanied by family style dinner, we address policy or procedural changes, and give time to each class to gather to take care of needed business (elections, planning updates).  In between business meetings, Bonners are encouraged to attend service events, Center events, and other enrichment activities counted as “class meetings.” Last year, in an effort to create more cross-Center communication about events, as well as other information sharing and collaboration, we formally created a Student Leadership Team consisting of the Bonner Senior Intern, CELTS Student Director, and Service Learning Program Associate.  In addition, the Senior Intern and Freshman Coordinators will be considered part of the CELTS Core Staff team (the Program Managers of the student-led community service teams, and they will also attend the CELTS program staff retreat in the Fall.  These changes support the interdependent nature of our programs and have proven to aid in communication and program planning.

 

 

 

i.                    First Year Trip   

 

 

This year marks the third year that the First Year Service Experience (trip) was coordinated in partnership with Laughlin Chapel in Wheeling, West Virginia.  The team that traveled to Wheeling during Spring Break included 19 Bonners (13 Freshman, three new Sophomore “replacement” Bonners, and two Sophomores and one Junior who served as team leaders) and two staff members (the BSP Coordinator and the CELTS Associate Director).  As usual, the experience was wonderful and challenging.  For almost a week, students worked in teams, morning, afternoon, and evening, with each Bonner serving on three teams daily and at a different site each morning.  The mornings were spent serving the homeless in a local soup kitchen, organizing furniture and clothing donations at a local Habitat thrift store, and providing physical labor in and around the chapel.  In the afternoons, the teams tutored elementary schoolchildren, and in the evenings they designed and presented enrichment programs for middle and high school students.  Morning reflections, evening planning sessions, and informational presentations by local community advocates in late evening and during lunchtime added to the experience.

 

 

Most significant was the shared process of working through actual and perceived differences in the population of children served in Wheeling compared to the ones back in Berea.  Although this was the source of much initial frustration, the experience led to deep reflection, and became the catalyst for the greatest joys and growth.  Over the course of our visit as a whole, physical and emotional fatigue gave way to excitement and inspiration, with many of our Bonners expressing a desire to return for the following year.  Even though Laughlin found itself in the middle of an unexpected administrative transition, the efforts of their “unflappable” Program Director and the flexible and open spirit of our students prevented the situation from marring our experience.  In fact, the first year trip was so successful that our students hope to bring a group of “Laughlin kids” to Berea for an enrichment weekend this Fall.  This trip, along with our intensive “jumpstart” activities, laid a strong foundation, not only for the first year experience but for the coming four years as Bonners.

 

 

ii.                  Sophomore (Second Year) Exchange

 

 

This year, Sophomore Exchange was a shared experience with the Sophomore Bonners from Centre College, in Danville, KY.  The weekend was organized primarily by a planning team consisting of the Berea sophomore Bonner Congress Rep and two Student Advisory Committee (SAC) members collaborating with leaders from Centre’s BSP.  On Friday night, Berea Bonners drove to Danville, and attended a Sock Hop for mentally challenged adults organized by the Centre Bonners and a community partner.   After decorating and cleaning, our Bonners spent the majority of the time dancing and socializing with the evening’s guests.  The following morning, the Berea Bonners left Centre, with a few of their Bonners, and drove to Lexington, KY to work on three Habitat for Humanity projects.  One team organized furniture and building supplies at the Habitat Restore, while two other teams worked on construction, cleanup and landscaping on two separate “builds” for new homeowners.  After reflection over dinner, we said our goodbyes and both groups of Bonners departed for their respective campuses.  The consensus from both campuses was to try to organize more shared events in the coming year.  Incoming Senior Intern Brian Owen has already begun the process of strengthening the ties between the two groups, and will be following up closer to Fall.

 

 

iii.                Third Year (and Beyond) Leadership Roles

 

 

In addition to the Bonner leadership positions, the Senior Intern and the three Freshmen Coordinators, CELTS offers a number of leadership positions for upperclassmen in the community service program.  In the spirit of cascading leadership, programs are run by student teams, led by a student program manager.  The elements of the developmental model are embedded in the communication, training, and planning structures of the program teams.

 

 

Currently, around 80 students hold labor positions in CELTS (as a work college, all Berea students are required to work 10-15 hours/week),   About half of the program team positions are held by Bonners, who are also represented among the program managers.  Although we have recognized for some time the value of BSP training, it became evident this year that Bonners are often much better prepared for working in CELTS than are many of the other students who volunteer in our Center.  As a result of the CELTS’s new, more integrated structure, the BSP Coordinator and the Coordinator of Student-Led Programs make a conscious decision to create more “Bonner-like” training and opportunities for reflection for the managers and members of the community service program teams. 

 

 

In terms of the individual Bonners, the effectiveness of the model of cascading leadership has meant that opportunities for leadership can begin as early as the Sophomore year.  Growth over the First Year is profound, as students move from learners to independent leaders.  Exceptional First Year students who demonstrate both maturity and the ability to motivate their peers may apply for a position as a Freshman Coordinator the following year.  At Berea, there are four student labor positions designated as BSP: three Freshman Coordinators and one Senior Intern; however, many Sophomore and Junior Bonners are selected for positions on the CELTS program teams (current members of the teams hire in the Spring to replace graduating students).

 

 

In these positions, they have leadership of and/or responsibility for some element of program implementation or volunteer coordination (recruiting, scheduling, and training.)  Positions as Program Managers are most often assumed by Juniors or Seniors but may, in rare instances be offered to Sophomores who demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and  developmental readiness to assume leadership.

Beginning in the Sophomore year, Bonners may also apply for community-based service positions that offer varying levels of leadership and independence.  In most cases, students acquire positions as the result of having gained experience with a given program or site as a volunteer during the Freshman year.  Service placements for upper-level students are never assigned, but are acquired by successfully completing a site or program based application.  Hiring is also dependent upon successful interviewing and evidence of adequate skills. While the BSP Coordinator and Senior Intern offer guidance and support, the majority of service placements for upper level students are obtained by individual initiative and persistence.

 

 

Reflecting the independent nature of upper-level leadership positions or service placements, Junior Recommitment plays an important role in sustaining Bonners’ identity as a cohort.  This year, the Recommitment was a simple but memorable event originally planned to take place on the “pinnacle” of one of the mountains owned by the college. Weather necessitated an indoor venue, but the event was still quite special. Each student was asked to bring an item to represent a significant Bonner experience, and to share the memory or story behind it. After sharing, each Junior Bonner lit a candle and offered a wish for the remaining two years of their shared experience as an oral “gift” to their peers. Each wish was recorded to add to a framed and signed collection that will eventually find a home in CELTS after the class graduates.

 

 

iv.                Senior Capstone and Presentation of Learning

 

 

Although the Senior Capstone is still in the developmental stages, significant ground work was laid this year.  Starting this Fall, each Bonner cohort will create a class project(s).  They will then be expected to document the progress of the project, and the participation of the class members.  In addition, each individual Bonner will write reflections each semester on their personal growth. The intent is to reinforce that “growing up does not equate to growing out” of Bonner, and that they need to be the “driver” of their own developmental journey. At the end of each year, an evening of Senior reflection will precede our annual celebration and awards. Seniors will also be encouraged to create a media piece about their Bonner experience to add to a digital gallery that we hope to design this year.  Another goal for this year is to investigate whether Berea’s new, required capstone seminar could be adapted for BSP seniors.

 

 

 


Implementation of Community Partnerships:

 

Please share a summary of your work with community partners, touching in particular on the following categories (suggested one page text):

  1. Orienting and managing community partnerships (orientation, site visits, meetings, strategic planning)
  2. Partners as co-educators and other unique initiatives (including new academic linkages)
  3. Integration of site-based or issue-oriented teams

 

                                                              

i.                    Orienting and managing community partners

Bonner community partners are a vital part of our success and are integrated into almost every aspect of our program. The primary role for our partners is as hosts for individual students and teams to engage in service. In order to determine the suitability of a community organization as a potential partner, the BSP Coordinator conducts an initial phone or face-to-face meeting with the organization’s staff member who will serve as site supervisor and, if possible, any persons who will serve as direct supervisors of our students.  The issues discussed include type of service requested, hours, environment, supervision, and potential barriers.  These initial meetings allow the Coordinator to assess the organization’s needs and capacity to manage one or more of our students.  This meeting also provides the prospective community organization an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Bonner program, our expectations and guidelines, so that they can make an informed decision about the appropriateness of the match.  Once it is determined that the partnership is viable, the program coordinator  is then  able to disseminate this information to interested students to determine interest, availability and best fit. Once established, communication with community partners continues regularly throughout the year. This is done primarily through email, phone conversations, and regular site visits.  The majority of our community partners are easily accessible and our placements have been quite stable. However, in the past there have been instances of inconsistent access, unreliable supervision, and/or administrative changes that require the Coordinator to reevaluate the sustainability of the site and placement. Such instances are handled individually and deliberately to assess the best outcome for all parties.  

ii.                  Partners as co-educators and other initiatives

In addition to hosting, our partners serve in a number of other capacities as well. Many of our community partners have been supporters for several years, and have the historical understanding of our program goals and expectations that makes for stronger relationships. Due in part to the size of our community and the overlapping nature of CELTS programs, it is not uncommon for a seasoned partner to have multiple relationships with our Center. For example, two of our local schools’ Resource Center Directors each serve as site supervisors, Advisory Board members, and training facilitators for different programs. One is also the parent of a child in one of our programs. This level of connection makes them an excellent source of feedback and information in a number of areas: recipient population and their perceptions, program design and effectiveness, student performance, environment, and Coordinator support.  Much of this assessment is done informally as a regular part of “checking in”; however, in the coming year, elements of the assessment will be in hard copy format. This past year, we established four new partnerships that resulted in student placements: Diversity Peer Education Team Coordinator, Parks and Recreation Intern, Volunteer Coordinator for a school-based mentoring program, Middle School Theatre Intern and Local Foods Intern.  This coming year, 13 Bonners will be serving in community-based or campus/community-based settings beyond those placements administered by our Center.

Some of our community partners play a significant role as co-educators with academic service-learning courses.  For example, the Berea Community School has collaborated for several years with Professor Rob Smith in the Department of Psychology.  In his course on Abnormal Psychology, the students present a week-long unit on mental illness at the high school, creating posters and activities to increase the students’ awareness and understanding.   One of our long-time partners at the site, the Resource Center Director, helped bring about the new collaboration.

iii.                 Integration of teams

As partnerships grow, they often “create” or give birth to new service opportunities at the same site. These additions do not always lend themselves to the development of teams owing to the individual nature of the work and the targeted interest of our students. However, with multiple placements at a single site,  there is a noted shared commitment to the organization’s work and its constituents and by default a bonding between the Bonners serving that organization. Examples of this would be partnerships with Save the Children, TRIO, and Berea Community School.  The goal for next year is to continue to increase the exposure level of our students to opportunities available with area agencies and other non-profits.

 


Campus-wide Culture and Infrastructure: 

Please describe key elements and progress in the development of campus-wide infrastructure and the role of the Bonner Program in enhancing (or being enhanced by) campus-wide culture and participation in service, touching on the following (suggested one page text):

  1. Key relationships and activities involving faculty and academic connections.  In particular, what work was done with relevant coursework, a minor, or other curricular integration.
  2. Key relationships and activities involving other departments or divisions on campus (for example for recruitment, student wellness or retention, financial aid, and so on).
  3. Unique initiatives (such as events or strategic planning) that have enhanced institutionalization of service and civic engagement on campus.

 

i.                     Key Relationships Involving Faculty and Academic Connections

 

CELTS coordinates and helps to support service-learning courses across the Berea College curriculum. During 2007-2008, twenty-four service-learning courses were offered; seventeen of these courses were designated service-learning courses.  CELTS administers the application process for faculty to request that their course receive the service-learning designation; the Center also makes the final decision.  Any course formally approved as a Designated Service-Learning course meets the Active Learning Experience (ALE) requirement of the General Education program. Each Berea College student is required to complete one ALE; completing a designated service-learning course is one of several ways for students to complete this requirement. 

 

Thirty-seven faculty and staff members have now completed the CELTS Seminar in Service-Learning. This intensive seminar leads faculty through readings, discussions and assignments related to the many aspects of service-learning.  During the seminar, each participant develops a service-learning course, which they commit to teach within the next academic year. 

 

CELTS is currently completing the first year of a three-year Learn and Serve America Community-Based Research Innovation Grant, titled “Energy and Empowerment in an Appalachian County.” The grant is administered by the Bonner Foundation and Princeton University’s Community-Based Learning Initiative.  The CELTS grant has focused on mobilizing multiple community partner organizations and faculty members working on energy issues, to increase their communication and coordination.  The grant has already had a significant impact in the community.  Two well-attended workshops in Berea brought together community members and college faculty and staff to share information, coordinate efforts, and explore community-based research projects. This summer, three energy-related Community-Based Research (CBR) projects, funded by the grant, are taking place, with additional projects planned for the coming academic year.

 

This CBR grant, and the Kentucky Campus Compact, helped make it possible for CELTS to host an AmeriCorps*VISTA position during the past academic year. The VISTA focused her efforts on the CBR Innovation grant. CELTS plans to host another AmeriCorps*VISTA position for the 2008–2009 year;

 

Our Provost and President continue to be strong advocates of service-learning. Service-learning is identified in the promotion and tenure guidelines for faculty as an example of an innovative pedagogy and has been highlighted in the tenure portfolios of several faculty members who have been granted tenure.

 

 

 

ii.                  Key relationships involving other departments or divisions

 

 No one can do this work alone, and here at Berea we are lucky to have a number of campus friends and supporters who help to make our program successful. Our relationship with the Office of Admissions has always been important, because they are the initial source of our applicants.  Beginning in January, we receive admission lists on a rolling basis, and we use these for our sequential rounds of recruitment.  During Carter G. Woodson weekend, an annual admissions event aimed at minority recruitment, we have an informational display.  This year, we added a presentation by the BSP coordinator to students and parents, and the participation of Bonners on “straight talk” panels in student-only sessions.  From our Woodson “interest” list, we generate additional letters and direct prospective students to our program website.  Also during the admissions process, the International Center makes recommendations to us, from which we select international Bonners for each class.  Throughout the year, Bonners serve as Admissions “hosts,” offering year-round information about our program.  Currently, we are working with the Admissions Office to develop a self- select “service interest” tab in their automated online system.

 

 

Other campus offices and departments, including Financial Aid, Student Labor, Academic Services, Accounts Payable,  Food Services and the Collegium (Residential Life) support our program, by arranging summer check distributions, managing financial aid compliance, providing  pre-retreat housing , and estimating food needs for service trips. Similarly, staff of the Black Cultural Center (BCC), Appalachian Center, Department of Child and Family Studies, and Office of Student Life support the BSP as training facilitators, service site supervisors, advisory committee members, and event co-sponsors.

 

 

A promising new partnership has developed between BSP and GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a federal grant program designed to encourage more young people from low-income families to consider and prepare early for college.  BSP and GEAR UP have developed the E-mentoring Project, in which Bonner Freshmen will serve as “virtual mentors “to students in the region.  Like face-to-face mentoring, the goal is to establish a trusting, positive relationship, but in E-mentoring, the relationship is conducted over a secure and monitored web-based platform (BlackBoard).  The hope is that the mentors will become role models for success in college, helping the “mentees” see college as a realistic and desirable goal.  The partnership is an exciting and easy fit for our First Years, who already serve as mentors to middle-school students.  We will conduct the training during September Orientation, and evaluate our success at the end of Fall term.

 

 

iii.                Unique initiatives

 

As a national leader in the area of community service and service-learning, Berea College was awarded The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.  The Honor Roll, launched in 2006, recognizes a select number of colleges and universities nationwide that support innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs.

 

Through its membership in Project Pericles, Berea College has offered opportunities for all students, including Bonner Scholars.  Project Pericles is a not-for-profit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments by invited colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of their educational programs, in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.  Dr. Meta Mendel-Reyes, the Bonner/CELTS Director, also serves as the Project Pericles Program Director. 

 

 

This year saw two major highlights:  Berea College took first place in the first-ever Debating for Democracy (D4D) Legislative Hearings, and the College was awarded a grant to develop three Civic Engagement Courses (CEC).    Berea College's legislative proposal, Coal-to-Liquid and Coal-to-Gas: Repeal of the Federal Funding for CTL/CTG Production, was awarded first place during the Debating for Democracy (D4D) Conference in New York City on April 3 and 4, 2008.  Out of 21 colleges and universities, the Berea team had been selected as one of six finalists, who presented their proposal to actual legislators, including former Senators Nancy Kassebaum and Harris Wofford.  Berea’s winning proposal focused on coal, an issue of great importance in the Appalachian region where several Bonner colleges are located.   The team received $4,000 to fund advocacy and education related to their proposal and civic engagement.

 

The professors teaching Berea’s three CEC courses (out of a total of 44 courses selected from 21 colleges) received matching grants to develop and teach their courses during the 2007-2008.  Bonner Scholars were among the students who enrolled in these courses, which included Political Communication and Questioning Authority (a required, first-semester freshman course).

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