Beyond their First Year CEL experience, students are encouraged to find additional learning opportunities that also have a positive impact on the community. Currently, CEL II primarily refers to all other non-FSP classes that allow students to apply their additional knowledge and enhanced skills to address a community need, as well as develop their own civic skills.
The Bonner Model
The Bonner Center follows a “capacity building” or “deep” campus-community partnership model. The Bonner Center works towards two goals, the primary of which is to educate students so they are prepared to succeed in their private and public lives and to be engaged citizens who will help solve problems in their own communities. The second goal is help our community partners who work to change their neighborhoods, whether it is reducing recidivism, increasing home ownership in low income communities, raising graduation rates, eliminating homelessness, or other laudable goal.
The Center works with a network of non profit organizations and identifies the full range of their needs and interests that fall into one of the following categories: direct service, research, planning, communications/outreach, resource development and advocacy. The CEL II component mobilizes campus resources, such as research capabilities, to advance the goals of the partner organization while providing students with experiential learning opportunities. A Bonner Team might, for example, tutor and mentor urban youth at a site, while a Cost Accounting class analyzes the true cost of the program for future grant applications. Meanwhile, an Applied Sociology class might measure the impact of the tutoring and mentoring on the youth, while a computer science class develops their website. When all of these resources are concentrated on a community partner, it has the potential to build their capacity; at the same time, it creates a meaningful developmental path for the college students.
The goal is to enter into long-term and sustainable relationships with these organizations. In addition, it is clear that both sides honor and respect the knowledge and expertise that is both on and off campus, and share their resources and challenges together. Finally, there is a commitment to create new lines of communication and structures in place that allow both sides to have an ongoing dialogue to ensure that we all stay true to our goals and missions.
CEL II classes call for students to complete at least 17 hours of community engaged learning work during the course of a given semester. The ideal class-based project or experience is one that substantially builds the capacity of the community partner organization (which includes public institutions like schools)–and thereby offers the student a more advanced applied learning opportunity.
There is also a co-curricular track for CEL II. Students who participate in sustained and meaningful co-curricular experiences could satisfy the CEL criteria. The President of a student organization, or member of a four-year student development program, could work with the Bonner Center to document their participation hours. They would also submit a paper clarifying how they connected their academic lives to a community need–as well as deepened their understanding of their role as a democratic citizen.
More information on CEL II can be found via the Project Summary Links and on the Faculty Resource pages.