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Bluefield Annual Report

Page history last edited by dtaylor@bluefield.edu 12 years, 5 months ago


Bluefield 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


     During the Spring of 2008, Bluefield College had the blessed opportunity to resurrect its two-year AmeriCorps Bonner Leaders Program.  Each week, five students met to begin the process of their two-year journey.  Meetings were held on a regular basis as a way for students to blend together and share their experiences.  We invited potential community partners to meetings to help them better understand the role of the Bonner Program in the community.  In return, Community Partners shared their hearts, passions and community needs, which provided an opportunity for Bonners to explore new pathways of service. 

     Because all five participating Bonner Leaders were in their first semester of service, students took the time to explore a variety of activities and experience small leadership roles in service sites that they felt most drawn to.  Students participated as mentors to at-risk children at the WADE Center, they raised campus and community awareness for building a much-needed youth center in South Africa, helped out at the Bluefield Regional Medical Center and participated in the local arts programs.

     As we look forward to our second semester as a Bonner Leader School, students are getting excited about the possible leadership opportunities they will be able to hold at their desired sites.  Two students hope to actually impliment their own program.  The program will provide an opportunity for home-schooled children to learn the art of film-making and writing scripts.  Another student hopes to form a college/community team for the Bluefield Regional Medical Center's "Relay-for-Life" held in April.

     Come fall, we hope to add another four Bonners to our growing program.  We plan on taking a retreat which will help students explore what it means to be a leader, to participate in their community and to find a topic or organization which they feel most passionate about.  Current Bonners will graudally take on more and more leadership roles, as they help to integrate incoming Bonners.


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


     The 2008 Academic School-Year has certainly been a growing year for community partners.  Since Bluefield College is currently in the beginning stages of its Bonner Leaders program, much communication and orientation was needed when dealing with community partners.  As of today, students have 30 potential community partners to choose from, each varying with different sects of the community.  With only five current Bonners, each community partner has not had the opportunity to host a Bonner Leader.  However, our leading community partners who are on board and exicted with the Bonner Program include: The WADE Center, the Bluefield Union Mission, Clinch Valley Mountain Mentors and literacy program, The Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, Mary's Cradle, The Abel Crisis Pregnancy Center and the Bluefield Regional Medical Center.

     Each community partner has been contacted via e-mail, snail mail or phone.  Ten sites were visited over the past months, which allowed one-on-on meetings and strategic planning between Community Partners and Bluefield College.  I sense that we are building a greater understanding of the importance of using Bonner Leaders in the community in order for everyone to receive mutual benfits.  Opportunities arise for students to link academics with service.  One such example is with a current Bonner Leader who is majoring in theatre.  She has had the opportunity to work in-front and behind the scenes of community theatre, which not only prepares her for her future career, but helps her to understand the importance of her field of study in the greater community.

     This past fall (October 2007) we had the opportunity to establish the Dan MacMillan Center for Service, Mission and Ministry.  With the establishment of a center we hope to increase the growth of community partners with Bluefield College.  It is our hope that the center will serve as a directory for partners to contact students and students to contact partners.  We also hope to grow our Freshmen Seminar program by requiring a service-based component, which would allow more community partners to establish a relationship with Bluefield College students.

     Up to this point, we have used the developmental model with our community partners.  Those partners who have active Bonner Leaders participating at their site understand the beginning stages of exploration and experience that the students hope to gain, and also understand the importance of allowing students to take on more and more responsibilities and leadership.  We hope to continue to open up more dialogue between partners and the College.


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.


     Currently, we are attempting to make the entire campus-body aware of the AmeriCorps Bonner Leaders program that has just recently been made available at Bluefield College.  We have realized the importance of making students, faculty and staff aware of the benefits that hands-on service learning can bring about to the classroom.  As we work as a campus-community to define service learning, we understand that three basic requirements are needed:  1.  Placements must meet a real community or school need.  2.  The Service must be integrated into the student's academic program.  3.  There must be time in the classroom for structured reflection. 

     We are hoping to begin key relationships of faculty and academic connections by establishing a "service-learning committee."  Up to this point, much research has been conducted on topics of service learning, as well as possibilities of integrating service into the classroom.  We are in the planning stages of re-vamping our Freshmen Seminar program, with the hope of providing a service-learning/civic-engagement requirement. 

     The establishment of the Dan MacMillan Center for Service, Mission and Ministry has also opened up an outstanding avenue to increase community relations.  Bluefield College has just recently developed a campus-wide strategic plan, which truly integrate the Dan MacMillan Center as a central objective.  The strategic plan is a five-year which includes a vision to "Create a culture of mission involvement and service learning experiences."  Objectives include:

1.  To Increase the number of AmeriCorps/Bonner Leader slots at a rate of three per year. 

2.  To foster strategies that will help the campus community understand civic engagement and service learning by creating discipline related projects.

3.  Position the Dan MacMillan Center as the focal point of coordination for all college mission and service opportunities

     Currently, relationships are developing with Admissions counselors so that they can promote the unique Bonner Leaders program to incoming Freshmen. 

     To-date, there is little understanding of the importance of the Bonner Leader Program on campus.  Therefore, it is our main mission and focus to allow current Bonners to stand at the fore-front of campus/community service during this upcoming school-year.

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