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Bluefield College 2009 Annual Report

Page history last edited by dtaylor@bluefield.edu 11 years, 3 months ago


Please add narrative text that responds to the questions in the four categories below.


Implementation of Student Development

  • The Structure for training, courses, & meetings
  • Cornerstone Activities including First Year Trip, Second Year Exchange, Third Year (and beyond) Leadership Roles, and Senior Capstone & Presentation of Learning
  • Roles of Student Leaders in integration of the Serve 2.0 initiative (e.g., developing and using web-based tools for service)


The Bluefield College Bonner Leaders met weekly for training, reflection and enrichment activities.  As a Bonner Leader school, most students choose only to participate in the program for one to two years.  Therefore, rather than focusing on a "four-year" developmental model, we try to meet each student where they are at in order to provide the most relevant training and enrichment opportunities for that particular student's developmental stage.  With only 9 Bonners this year, we decided to meet as an entire group each week.  This allowed for deeper discusions as we focused on Bonner's various common commitments.  At the begininning of each semester we provided each student with a "training and enrichment" calendar so they could be prepared for activities that lie ahead.  This year we focused our trainings around diversity, spiritual exploration, social justice, leadership, vocational building and student exploration. Many activities for our meetings came from the resource page of www.bonner.org.  We also brought in guest speakers who provided workshops on resume building and "finding your leadership style."  Each student was able to participate fully in reflection and discussion every meeting due to the small number of Bonner participants.  We also met with students one-on-one to better understand their personal goals.  Through these meetings we gained insight into ways to better challenge each student on an individual basis.  Unfortunately, Bluefield College has virtually no opportunities for service-learning in the classroom.  This makes it very difficult for students to integrate their classroom studies with that which they are learning outside of the classroom.  With good intentions, we had hoped to encourage students in the Bonner program to complete a mini-research project that would integrate their in-the-classroom experience with their particular service sites, but unfortunately were not able to implement this goal this year.  However, we think this would be a great opportunity to strengthen our student development aspect of the Bonner Program and look forward to creating a syllabus for the fall of 2009.


In regards to our cornerstone opportunities, again with us being a Bonner Leader school, we found it quite impossible to provide a first year trip, second year exchange and senior capstone presentations when many of these students are in and out of the program in less than two years.  Although our funds for travel were very limited this year, we were able to provide, for the first time ever, a weekend-long retreat!  Students had the opportunity to engage in service as well as a plethora of training and leadership activities.  During the weekend students were split up into two teams.  Each team was required to come up with a service project for the entire campus community.  Students learned how to take a leadership role and work together in planning teams.  They completed everything from the beginning stages of contacting and organizing the event to the actual execution of the event and follow-up assessments.  The students learned a lot about themselves as leaders and what they can work on to improve next year.  It was wonderful to see each of them plan an activity that affected the campus and surrounding community.


Finally, in regards to the Serve 2.0 inititiave, I noticed that on the Bluefield Campus, the students had very little interest in actually creating social media tools revolving around service.  We held a workshop on blogging and wikis and discussed how they might be used, but the students could not see the "big picture" of how it might effect the entire campus and esp. the entire community.  Instead they saw the initiative as "busy work" that would be added upon their already very busy schedule.  The students did complete some reflection activities using the Bonner Blog, but did not head up using internent tools for promoting the Bonner Program.  However, they did see the implications of creating videos and how they could tell stories to the campus and the community and therefore became very excited about working with the Bonner Video Project.  The students saw the effect the videos could have and stepped up to leadership roles.  They planned the movie topics, the storyline, the filming and even most of the editing.  The students loved this idea and would like to continue promoting the Bonner Program and campus issues through videos next year as well.  Many of them grew in their public speaking, creativity and video skills, all skills which they often don't get to use much in the classroom setting.


Implementation of Community Partnerships

  •  Arrangement and management of community partnerships and placements (orientation, site visits, meetings, strategic planning)
  •  How partners were engaged as co-educators, including academic linkages, courses, and student advising
  • Partnerships managed through site-based or issue-oriented teams, as well as other issue-based organizing undertaken
  • Capacity building initiatives for community partners (such as workshops, policy research, or resource development)


The Bluefield College Bonner Leader Program has spent a great deal of time researching solid community partners within the greater Bluefield community.  At the beginning of summer, letters were sent out to approximately 26 partners, informing them of the expectations and guidelines of the program.  Partners were asked to complete a form that included information about their site, number of volunteers they might accommodate, job descriptions and whether or not they could participate in the Federal Work Study Program.  After receiving approximately half of the partner's information back, I set up one-on-one meetings with each partner to prepare them for the AmeriCorps paperwork and Bonner expectations that lie ahead.  As Bonners enrolled, I specifically matched the students' passions, talents and goals with the various organizations.  Over the course of each semester I was able to make a site visit to speak with the students' supervisor and observe the types of activities the students were completing.    Unfortunately, Bluefield College has barely even skimmed the surface when it comes to fully engaging community partnerships.  Our program has had little opportunities for utilizing partners in our strategic planning process, policy research, academic linkages and implementing the Bonner developmental model. However, beginning this past fall, we successfully began focusing our attention on a specific community partner, the Wade Center, in order to begin researching how to come together as a campus and community, researching the specific needs of the Wade Center and brainstorming ideas to create issue-based teams to strengthen and grow already-exisiting programs.  Bonner students took the current after-school program for elementary and middle-school youth and began brainstorming, with Wade, ideas on expanding this program to high-school students.  Although the program was not implimented this year, we had great success in building a partner relationship and researching prominant issues within the community.


In the future, we hope to work on enforcing our community partners to truly accept and integrate the Developmental Model into the various tasks and duties they assign their specific Bonner Leader.  This can be accomplished through holding a community partner orientation, in which the partners will fully understand the various details of the Bonner Program as well as how they are an enormous asset to the educational growth of the students who participate in the progrram.  Secondly, it will be important to continue to involve the community partners in Bonner meetings.  This will provide an opportunity for the partners to see Bonners in an educational light and for the Bonners to understand that their partners support their academic and service connection.  Third, I would like to meet with partners on a more regular basis one-one-one in order to discuss the "atmosphere" of the opportunities and responsibilities they are providing for their Bonner volunteers.  Lastly, next year, we would like to provide an "Appreciation luncheon" for all the community partners.  It will become increasingly important to build relationships with these partners to continue the sustainability and integrity of our growing Bonner program.


Campus-Wide Culture and Infrastructure 

  • Key activities for faculty engagement and academic connections.  In particular, note any connections to curricular offerings that are linked to the Bonner Program.
  • Key relationships and activities involving other departments or divisions on campus (for example for recruitment, student wellness or retention, financial aid, and so on).
  • Unique initiatives (such as events, assessment, or strategic planning) that have enhanced institutionalization of service and civic engagement on campus.


This year we encouraged the Bonner Leaders to focus on providing campus-wide opportunities to promote service.  In years past, we had virtually no offerrings of service projects.  With the creation of our Dan MacMillian Center for Service, Mission and Ministry in October of 2007, we have been able to use the center as a hub for producing service opportunities for the campus and community.  It is our vision to continually publicize the center in order to encourage students, faculty, staff and community partners to contact the DMC to match their service needs with the needs of the community.  We hope through the promotion of service days and the DMC that faculty and administration will be supportive in moving forward towards creating a larger academic connection on campus.  To date, there are only two class courses that provide a component of service-learning.  These courses include Freshmen Seminar and the Education department.  Our Freshmen Seminar class is a requirement for every first year student at Bluefield College.  Within the semester-long course, students are required to complete three hours of service within the community and reflect on their time through writing a paper.  Having students participate in service off-campus provides them with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with local organizations and meet people in the area.  Integrating their service into the classroom setting allows for students to understand that service can be a great way to grow their leadership qualities and intellectual minds.  The Education Department is very active in service through the local school systems.  They often partner with our elementary and high school students to provide opportunities for enrichment inside and outside of the classrom. 


In the past year, we revamped our strategic plan to focus our efforts on strategically utalizing service, mission and ministry to enhance the educational experience of the students on campus.  Our purpose statement is as follows:  "The AmeriCorps Bonner Leaders Program at Bluefield College supports the mission of the College to transform students' hearts, minds, and lives by engaging students in enriching opportunities to serve their local an national communities in order to leave a lasting impact on a rapidly changing world."  Initiative in the future include: investing each semester in providing at least 3 new Bonner students and using the DMC as a platform to launch campus-community understanding of civic engagement and service learning.  At this point our efforts are focused on building a strong foundation within the Bonner Program, however, we hope to use the students who are enrolled in Bonner to influence campus and community opinions on service and education.  A survey has been created to test the "temperature" of the amount of support faculty and administration has for service-learning and will be executed sometime within early August.  From there, we hope to develop a team of faculty, staff, administration, students and community partners who will help in visioniong where our school might be headed in regards to service learning.


Finally, it is important to note that this year we have come a long way in involving our various other departments with the recruiting of new Bonners.  Through our financial aid office and admissions we had triple the applications from last year.  Because we were able to have each department on the same page, understanding the importance and benefits of Bonner, they were able to reach out to many more prospective students than ever before.  We look to continue this alliance and hopefully our numbers and service efforts will continue to grow.


Serve 2.0 

  • Link to your campus-wide service center or Bonner Program wiki ,web-site, or Ning site. Please explain how it’s most used and by whom.
  • Your integration with other social media tools (such as the Bonner Network Forum/Ning, Twitter, YouTube, the Bonner Video Project, PolicyOptions Wiki, or others)


This year, the Bluefield College Bonners attempted to participate as fully as possible in the Serve 2.0 initiative.  We set up a Bonner Wiki and a Bonner Blog.  The Bonner Wiki provides important information for Bonner students as well as other students within the Bluefield College community who might be looking for service, mission and/or ministry opportunities.  Our Wiki is designed to hold a calendar which many different organizations will share on campus.  Virtually any type of mission or service opportunity will be posted on our Wiki.  For Bonner it is especially helpful because it informs them of missed meetings, service days, and useful links.  To check out our service wiki pleas CLICK HERE!


We also found it quite helpful to utilize the school web-page in order to promote the Bonner Program to prospective students.  By encouraging incoming students to check out our website, they are able to see the "faces of Bonner" and find out a little bit about the service opportunities that might be availible to them.  Check out our Website!


As for our Bonner Blog, this was for Bonner students only.  Occassionally I would pose questions regarding a service project, news event, or training and enrichment activity in order for Bonner students to reflect about issues or their service outside of local meetings.  I hope to continue to utilize this over the summer due to the fact we cannot actually meet on a regular basis.  This will remind the students of the importance of reflection and allow students the summer to share their experiences.  To find out what students had to say CLICK HERE!


Finally, the Bonners fully committed to creating four outstanding youtube videos in response to the Bonner video project.  The videos provided a wonderful opportunity to give other students a look inside the Bonner Program as well as the chance to promote social issues.  Check out the four videos below:


Video #1:  Bonner Program Profile

Video #2:  Community Partner Profile

Video #3:  Training and Enrichment

Video #4:  Issue Awareness



Campus Issue Profiles

Add links to your completed or draft campus issue profiles here:


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