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Macalester Annual Report

Page history last edited by Civic Engagement Center 12 years ago

Annual Report 2007-2008

Programmatic Section


The 2007-2008 academic year marked the first year of Macalester's Bonner Community Scholars Program. Our primary focus this year was integrating student voice in building a strong foundation for the Bonner program at Macalester. Students recruited for Bonner Community Scholars 2007 were already engaged in the community and civic engagement through existing programs in the Civic Engagement Center and Department of Multicultural Life. The inagural group of Bonners was comprised of 10 students, first-years through seniors, representing six student leadership programs:

  • Leaders in Service – Volunteers who coordinate on-going opportunities for students at specific community sites and work-study employees working to educate the campus about social issues and building a culture of civic engagement.
  • Off Campus Student EmploymentWhere students earn their financial aid awards (work-study) while contributing to community change through dedicating a significant amount of time to working at a local nonprofit organization or elementary school.
  • Lives of Commitment – Engages a select group of first-year students in intentional reflection on issues of social justice, ethical and religious commitments, and the integration of values with work.
  • Opportunities Abound – Student volunteers who encourage the enrollment of promising Minnesota low-income students, many of whom are students of color/multiracial students, into Minnesota colleges and universities through campus visits and local outreach. 
  • Pluralism & Unity - Diverse group of first-year students engaged in dialogues about race and class issues and incorporates field trips into the Twin Cities communities in order to advance their understanding of their multiple identities and their ability to affect positive change in an increasingly diverse world.
  • Emerging Scholars – First-year student support program designed to increase the number of students from historically under-represented groups who are selected to receive future opportunities for study abroad, internships, scholarships, and admittance to graduate and professional programs.  


Implementation of Student Development: 


Trainings & Meetings

Our Bonner Community Scholars participated in monthly training and enrichment opportunities through both their individual programs as well as monthly all Bonner meetings. The Bonner meetings focused on establishing and building a Bonner identity as well as creating an infrastructure for the enrollment of 15 first-year students for 2008.  


Once students had an understanding of the Bonner Program as a whole, the focus of work for the fall semester was on the student development model. Taking the Bonner Student Development Model they identified skills and competencies within the model and where they fit within existing Macalester leadership programs and how we might tailor the Bonner Model for Macalester. Students felt that Bonner was an opportunity to increase students abilities to make connections between their civic and community involvement activities and academic courses. In considering how to further institutionalize our program the group decided for all Bonners take a common first year course to ground them in civic engagement and community based learning principles thereby setting the foundation of the student development model for the Bonner program. Students in the first year, they determined, would have be allowed to choose their sites from a smaller selection of community partners related to the first year course.   Spring semester started off with a one day retreat led by Bonner Foundation staff. The retreat focused on Bonner basics but also looked to developing the program for the future and building community. The retreat was an energizing start to the second semester where we focused on putting first semester plans into action and laying out a recruitment strategy and plan for prospective first-years.   


First Year Trip

Bonner students were eligible to participate in a year end retreat with the Lives of Comitment program. The aim of this two day retreat was to interact with our community partners from a new angle, learn how to facilitate reflection about service and talk about the difference between being a participant and a leader in a service program. Students stayed at the Urban Immersion Retreat Center located in the heart of Lake Street in Minneapolis that allows groups to live in the middle of the city where they can experience poverty, social services and urban renewal first hand.  


Usually students volunteer one-on-one with a child or immigrant or as a teacher in the classroom.  This opportunity furthers students’ culturally competency and gifts them with skills in teaching. It allows them to form close relationships with people who come from different backgrounds and invites them into communities they would otherwise not have access.  The Bonner service project was intended to be more hands on; by cleaning, scrapping and landscaping these sites, students would get to do more self-less tasks and a hopefully increase their sense of kinship with these communities.


Students who went to the Grace Trinity Tutoring Program scraped paint off the wooden entrance doors, cleaned out leaves and trash from the groundcover and landscaped bushes.  The students who worked at the Foundation for Immigrant Resources and Education (FIRE) sorted books, cleaned classrooms, and put together volunteer and learner folders.  Students who worked at FIRE were then taken out to coffee by a board member to talk about the benefits and struggles of being a non-profit that had no staff and accepted no government funds.  Students at Grace Trinity volunteered along side the pastor and parishioners the church learning more about their life and vocation.


After our service projects were finished we met back at the Midtown Global Market. This market provides immigrants with entrepreneurial incubators for their start up businesses.  We took time to explore and talk about the Market and then shared our experiences at our sites over a meal.  Students talked about the satisfaction of doing a project where the results were tangible.  They enjoyed the more unstructured time to spend with community leaders outside of the programs in which they volunteered. 


During the afternoon students had in depth conversation about the transition from being a program participant to becoming a leader.  Much discussion was had around what they learned from their current leaders, where their leadership strengths lie and what they needed to develop.  Students learned three small group facilitation models which they then practices using as we discussed –How do you make someone feel listened to?  How do you ask big enough questions? How do you negotiate what and how to share in a small group?  These leaders will take these skills and as sophomores lead monthly discussion with their volunteer groups. 


Second Year Exchange

As part of the Second Year Exchange we had two students attend the IMPACT Conference. Students benefited from not only conference content but the opportunity to meet other Bonners. As part of their participation in the conference students, we asked students how they would bring the information learned at the IMPACT conference back to the Macalester community. The students conducted mini-workshops for Macalester student organizations based on the workshops they attended. One of the students has also used her workshop experiences in helping to draft a communications plan for the CEC and has led a training for CEC student staff in this area.  


Third Year (and beyond) Leadership Roles

Leadership positions available to upperclass Bonners were for rising seniors the Bonner Senior Intern and for all returning Bonners serving as a Bonner Congress Representative. Both the Bonner Senior Intern and the Congress Representative attended the Summer Leadership Institute.   


Two Bonner internship positions were available for summer 2008 through our Lilly Summer Internship Program.   The Lilly Project provides the opportunity for a group of students to explore how they will live as global citizens serving their ethical and/or religious commitments in a complex world. Student interns and researchers live in intentional community in a house on campus, united by commitments to environmental sustainability, social responsibility, intentional community and vocational exploration. The program grants students space to try out new practices in relation to work, relationship, the local community, and the environment. Students live together engaging in research or an internship in line with their vocation, yet equally commit to learning, supporting and being influenced by other student’s work for the broader common good. Students work full-time on their projects for the 10 weeks of the program and attend a three-day orientation. Full-time internships are 35 hours per week.  In addition, a minimum of five hours per week is spent in facilitated group reflection.


A three-day orientation gave students the chance to share their personal narratives and meet with Celeste Dream, a young adult spirituality organization, to consider what it means to live a sustainable life and to live in intentional community.  Co-Director Karin Trail-Johnson facilitated a discussion about creating intentional community and the elements that form community.  The fellows created a community covenant and presented it to two primary staff leaders of the program, Eily Marlow, Program Associate and Lucy Forster-Smith, Co-Director. 


The program structure of weekly dinners with faculty advisors and community site supervisors as invited guest who speak with the students about their work, ethics and their vocation has been rich and inspiring.  Each week a student hosts their site supervisor or faculty advisor that student prepares the community meal.  In addition to the dinners fellows meet bi-weekly to discuss vocational discernment styles and issues related to research and internships.  This structured reflection provides program accountability.


Senior Capstone & Presentation of Learning



Implementation of Community Partnerships: 


Orienting and managing community partnerships (orientation, site visits, meetings, strategic planning) The Civic Engagement Center works with community organizations in a variety of capacities. The main way to connect with the CEC and Macalester students is though our clearinghouse of general opportunities. Additional opportunities may include the exploration of new partnerships, the maintenance of existing relationships and/or as a core partner.  


Macalester College is fortunate to be located in the Twin Cities. We have access to a wealth of non-profits, community organizations, and schools. Each of the Civic Engagement Center programs (Bonner, Leaders in Service, Lives of Commitment, Off-Campus Student Employment) all maintain community partnerships. Professional and student staff conduct site-visits, meetings, and both group and 1:1 orientations with sites each year. Strategic planning for the year and beyond occur on an individual site basis and are based on organizational need as well as program linkages within the Civic Engagement Center. The working relationships developed with our community partners emphasize the following:

  • Building and maintaining relationships over time
  • Reciprocal relationships
  • Consistency
  • Communication
  • Multifaceted connections


Partners as co-educators and other unique initiatives (including new academic linkages)

The CEC often calls upon our community partners in their area of expertise to lead workshops and trainings for our student leadership programs. Through Off-campus Student Employment community partners offer direct supervision and mentoring to students at their site. This is an area that is also being strengthened through our CBR initiatives. See next section.  


Integration of site-based or issue-oriented teams

The work carried out through Leaders in Service is structured in teams of Issue-based Organizers and Site-based Coordinators. The issue areas that students work under are College Access, Economic Justice, Environment & Sustainability, Global Opportunities, Health & Wellness, Immigrants & Refugees, Women & Gender, Youth & Tutoring.  


Issue-based Organizers serve as liaisons between the campus and local community organizations fostering a lifelong commitment to service in themselves and others. The work involved is geared towards increasing the capacity of community organizations and building strong sustainable community partnerships. This is carried out  by connecting organizations with student volunteers and college resources as well as bringing organizational expertise to campus through educational programming.  Further enhancing partnerships, Organizers spend two hours per week off-campus at an emerging or current partner to advance programming and the partnership. Issue-based Organizer positions are work-study employees, earning an 8-10 hour a week award in the Civic Engagement Center.


All Issue-based Organizers share the same basic job responsibilities: 

  • Develop and maintain positive relationships between the campus and community partners
  • Lead campus efforts in educating the campus and community about your specific issue:
    • Facilitate collaboration on campus between interested and/or involved parties in your issue area (including other Issue Areas, student orgs related to your issue, academic departments, International Center, Residential Life, and Athletics)
    • Plan education and awareness events around your specific issue
  • Assist in general CEC office tasks to further the actions of the CEC as a whole
  • Spend 2 hours per week off-campus working at a specific site


Site-based Coordinators are responsible for promoting and coordinating one specific volunteer program at a community agency. They act as liaisons between the agency’s volunteer coordinator, students, and the college on behalf of the Civic Engagement Center. Site-based Coordinator positions are voluntary and require a year long-commitment. Coordinators spend 3-6 hours a week coordinating the logistics for their site-based opportunities, including their volunteer time at the site. Site-based Coordinators recruit students for their site, lead a weekly group of volunteers at the site, hold reflection and/or training sessions for their group and additional student volunteers at the site. They maintain frequent communication with the Issue-based Organizer in their area, attend any all-issue meetings, and work with the Issue Organizer to meaningfully recognize volunteers.



Campus-wide Culture and Infrastructure: 

The Civic Engagement Center educates students on issues related to global citizenship, assisting them with their personal discernment of values, ethics and commitments towards contributing to the public good in meaningful ways. The Center works with the community in a spirit of respectful reciprocity and partnership. We connect the resources of the college with community needs and strengths from a commitment to institutional citizenship and to reinforce the capacity of local communities.


Service to society is a hallmark of the mission of Macalester College.  We believe that civic engagement enhances students’ understanding of issues of public concern, as well as their academic and civic development for a life of public contribution as global citizen leaders. 


The Civic Engagement Center is supported with 5 professional staff and 12 student workers.  We report through the academic line to the Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship who reports to the Provost. 


The values of the Bonner Scholars Program closely mirror the values and approach of our Civic Engagement Center, which was established in 1988.  Our existing civic engagement infrastructure has a curricular, co-curricular and institutional focus and we have a strong track record of rich community partnerships and quality programs.  We believe the Bonner Program builds on our history and strengths to create new opportunities for a more intentional developmental approach to student civic leadership programming and build on our institutional commitment to global citizenship. Bonner assists us to further develop our work with college access. 


Key relationships and activities involving faculty and academic connections

This past academic year, Macalester offered 36 courses with a civic engagement component in 13 departments.  The Civic Engagement Center (CEC) provided support with syllabi development, locating site partners, orienting faculty and students to the Twin Cities, assisting students with research, and disseminating public scholarship results.  The CEC also manages several academic support grants that allow us to provide resources and community contacts for faculty seeking a community based learning component to their class.  Civic engagement grants from Project Pericles helped fund a Political Science course taught by Julie Dolan and 3 Geography classes taught by Holly Barcus, David Lanegran, Birgit Muehlenhaus, and Daniel Trudeau.  Students in Julie Dolan's "Presidential Politics" course researched the electoral process and sponsored a model electoral convention for area high school students. The Geography classes collaboratively researched the environmental, social, cultural, and physical changes resulting from the expansion of the Twin Cities Metropolitan region into previously rural communities.  The classes created an annotated atlas that will be made available to civic leaders in these communities to help them understand and respond to these changes.   


Learn and Serve funding distributed through the Bonner Foundation helped support new and exciting initiatives in Biology and in Hispanic and Latino Studies.  Devavani Chatterjea partnered with the nonprofit Open Arms of Minnesota to develop information sheets on chronic diseases for volunteers and staff.   Students in Hispanic and Latino Studies completed oral histories of Latino elders, as part of a larger on-going project to document Latino history in Minneapolis. In addition, Roopali Phadke's Environmental Studies "Sustainable Development" class was supported by the grant in exploring development issues locally and internationally.  


Macalester College has also formed three new interdisciplinary concentrations in Global and Community Health, Global Citizenship, and Human Rights and Humanitarianism, and reformulated an existing concentration in Urban Studies.  Each of these concentrations will integrate components of civic engagement into its curriculum, as internships, community-based research, or service-learning.  There will also be a civic engagement fund set up for these concentrations that will  support projects, transportations for field research, and honoraria for community guest speakers.   


Key relationships and activities involving other departments or divisions on campus

In establishing the Bonner program at Macalester, we saw this as an opportunity to enhance the relationship between civic engagement, mulitculturalism and college access. Our Director of Financial Aid has had previous experience working with the Bonner program and has been integral in establishing the groundwork for implementing the program at Macalester. He has also been our link to working with Admissions as they share the same reporting lines. As most colleges, Macalester must employ a percentage of eligible work-study students in a community-based position. This has been a responsibility of the CEC through our Off-Campus Work Study program, Bonner allows for expansion of this program thereby increasing the college's ability to meet their given threshold. 


Unique initiatives that have enhanced institutionalization of service and civic engagement on campus. Through strategic planning sessions with various on-campus departments, internal strategic planning, and strategic planning with Ari and Gretchen from the Bonner Foundation we set the stage for admitting our first group of first-year students. The time invested in these processes led to the following plan for the 2008-2009 year.  


The CEC will continue its implementation of four-year Bonner Program at Macalester through admitting a first-year class of 15-16 with eight serving as Bonner Scholars and eight as Bonner Leaders. Strategic recruitment will focus on first-generation college bound students, including those representing St. Paul and Minneapolis schools. Relationships with local schools through college access programs will be enhanced and serve as locations for primary recruitment with emphasis on mentoring relationships and strategies to support students’ retention.   

The strategy below takes into account integration of Macalester’s existing co-curricular programs (and some curricular as well), but also makes modifications or new structures to meet the Bonner Program guidelines.  This strategy is intended to build on what Macalester already has and its long-term goals and capacity.


Placement & Service     

The new class of 15-16 Bonner Scholars & Leaders will participate in a First Year Seminar course that integrates students’ school year service requirements (8-10 hours per week) with their work-study placements. The first-year course will be determined through conversations with First Year Seminar professors offering a community-based component in the course and in conjunction with the Dean of Academic Programs. This preferred scenario integrates Bonners with LOC and Pluralism & Unity on a training & enrichment level in the second semester.


Training & Enrichment Meetings   

Topics to be covered include: race & identity, community asset mapping, site visits with potential partners, site/placement specific training (ie. tutor training or teaching ESL). The Bonner Senior Intern will pull together a calendar of Bonner friendly on-campus training and enrichment activities. There will also be overlap of Bonner meetings with co-curricular meetings offered through Lives of Commitment and Pluralism & Unity.


Intended learning outcomes 

The 2008-2009 group of first-year Bonners will focus learning outcomes on the exploration of self and identity, understanding of place and local environment, ethics of citizenship, especially in a new/localized environment and developing a toolkit for social change.


Cornerstone Activities          

The 2008-2009 year will begin with a Bonner Welcome and Orientation that will occur prior to the standard first-year Macalester Orientation. The Bonner Orientation will occur off-site and focus on Bonner 101 and team-building. Plans for a First Year Trip to be held at the end of the year will be discussed with the Bonners.

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