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High-Impact Initiative Sample Projects

Page history last edited by Ariane Hoy 9 years, 3 months ago

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Photos of the Display Boards (2014 Institute) about Projects

During the summer High-Impact Institutes, teams spend about half of the time working collaboratively to create their strategies and plans for making civic engagement and community engaged learning deeper, more pervasive, and more integrated.  This includes identifying new or existing high-impact educational practices (like First Year Experience or Internships) to connect with community engagement.  It also includes finding ways to create, deepen and enhance community partnerships so that they integrate high-impact community engagement practices (like Place, Voice, Reciprocity, Sequence, Teams, and Inquiry).  


Towards the end of the Institute, teams present their plans for feedback from other teams (peers) and coaches, reinforcing the learning community.  In 2014, teams from Cohorts 1 and 2 presented their plans visually, on display boards, and networked with others to explain them in a charette session.  Teams from Cohort 3, which began in 2014, then presented the next day verbally (not pictured).


These slides and photos capture some of the teams' plans and displays.



Examples of Projects and the Results


In 2011, we launched the Bonner High-Impact Initiative with nine institutions of higher education which formed teams made up of senior and junior faculty members, Bonner Program and campus administrators, community partner representatives, and students.  Half of the teams have involved senior leaders, such as provosts, academic deans, and deans of student life.  The teams and broader constituents participated in strategic planning for community and civic engagement, forging 3-5 year plans for community engagement.  Moreover, they generated plans for year one high-impact projects. 


In its design, the High-Impact Initiative relies on the cohort model and multi-year experience, recognizing that the types of changes and projects that campuses are working on are complex and take time.  


Cohort 1:

Three years in, below are a few highlights of the first cohort's work.  


  • Allegheny College (Meadville, Pennsylvania - partner involvement from Crawford County School District and Mental Health Awareness Program) has been working to integrate civic engagement in the core curriculum.  This has occurred through restructuring first and second year seminar series; integrating this work into faculty development seminars, hiring, and orientations; developing a center for local research; and creating a common text shaped by community voices.  This work is grounded in place and history to inform students about Meadville and the region and to promote deep, scaffolded engagement.  Allegheny's team created a "Community Listening Project" that involved deep listening with Meadville partners and residents (which has inspired other institutions to do similar work). The Values, Ethics, and Social Action minor was voted to become a Community and Justice Studies major.  In 2014, Allegheny then passed a graduation requirement in Civic Learning and are now working to launch the new Gateway center that brings this focus into students' undergraduate experience more centrally. Awarded Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement in 2015.
  • Berea College (Berea, Kentucky - partner involvement from United Way and Madison County Health Departmenthas focused on making civic engagement more pervasive and on building the depth of existing pathways.  In particular, they have built upon their existing Cascading Student Leadership model, a student developmental approach, but worked to enhance the depth of that engagement with partners, faculty, and students.  Berea's team has worked to expand faculty knowledge and integration of existing supportive policies (including tenure policies that support faculty engagement), including by presenting systematically about opportunities within more classes.  They are working to articulate a set of concrete Student Learning Outcomes for all of CELTs (the Center) and an assessment plan for them.  They have worked to deepen capacity-building with existing sustained partners.  They are working to create a minor or academic journey for highly engaged students.  Awarded Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement in 2015 and President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll 2014.


  • Berry College (Rome, Georgia - partner involvement from Rome County YMCA and Welcoming Hispanic Families) worked on community inventories and asset mapping to determine their focus.  They also focused on ways to deepen the intersection of community engagement with the college’s student work program, a distinctive element of the Berry College educational experience. They have crafted strategies to get faculty more deeply engaged and connected with partners, including faculty development.  They have also worked on restructuring work with their partners to include capacity-building and more dimensions that can connect to academic coursework.  They are now involved with efforts to expand social entrepreneurism and education for that on campus.  Awarded Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement in 2010.


  • Carson-Newman College focused on launching a series of interconnected high-impact projects tied to downtown partnerships and neighborhood development in the blighted areas of Jefferson City.  They sought to be active in addressing economic needs of Jefferson City (being "Stewards of Place") while enhancing the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (C-Nvolved) and institutional focus on service-learning.  They have found ways, such as an Appalachian Summit (held two years now) to bring together faculty, partners, and students for relevant education, dialogue, and planning.  Awarded President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll 2014.


  • Sewanee—The University of the South (Grundy County, Tennessee with partner involvement from Tennessee Outreach Project and Grundy County Health Education) focused on transforming the first-year experience of students in several seminars to include a place-based education component and immersion.  That project was profiled in an article in Inside Higher Education (August 2012) found here:  Resources from Schools.  As newer to the Bonner Network, they also focused on building the Bonner Leaders program to emphasize relationships in the community as central to sustainable, multi-year civic involvement.  They then chose to dive into collaborative, deep projects with partners on issues like health and literacy.  They are working on crafting these signature experiences and pathways.
  • Siena College (Loudonville and Albany, NY) created an issue-oriented large scale Community Forum as a strategy to mobilize greater engagement across campus and with sustained community partners.  The issue of youth development was identified as salient for their work in Albany.  Student leaders participated in a new community-based research class to learn how to design and lead deliberative dialogues and forums.  These students then mobilize other students who participate annually.  The Forum has been adopted as an annual initiative (and has now happened for three years).  In addition, Siena is working on expanding public policy focused dialogues and on creating an electronic credentialing system, using badges, to train students. Awarded Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement in 2015 and President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll 2014 With Distinction.
  • Stetson University transformed its multi-cultural graduation requirement to be linked to community engagement as a way to make civic engagement more pervasive at the institution.  Then, Stetson also worked on forging junior level undergraduate research projects tied to DeLand. In 2014, Stetson worked on deepening its integration of high-impact community engagement practices with sustained partners, through site-based teams, visioning retreats with partners, and other mechanisms.  They also launched new First Year Seminars that were collaboratively designed and taught by student and academic affairs and included a community engagement component.  Awarded Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement in 2015 and President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll 2014 With Distinction.


  • Washburn University worked on cultivating greater awareness by the large (6,000 student) campus about engagement opportunities by building an electronic hub on campus for Topeka non-profit partners to conduct outreach for volunteers, engage as co-educators, and build course connections at lower and upper division levels. They also have been working on several deep and engaged partnerships, such as a mobile health clinic, that link to courses and educational pathways.  They have positioned "high-impact community engagement" as the focus of the Quality Improvement Plan for institutional reaccreditation.  This year, they will work with the public television and campus station to make videos on the HICEPs (like PLACE), featuring the stories of their deep engagement.


We will soon add other examples from Cohort 2 and 3.

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