Bonner Pipeline Project

 Strategy  •  Background  •  Next Steps  •  Available Resources


We are in the planning stages for the Bonner Pipeline Project.  Our goal is to  a new professional development strategy for nurturing leaders of community and civic engagement programs in the Bonner Network and beyond.



More than ever before, campuses are seeking skilled and experienced staff who can lead their growing community and civic engagement efforts.  And with this growth has come an increased complexity in the leadership roles, with staff managing student development, community partnerships, and integration with faculty and other offices and departments across campus. As Robert Sigmon wrote in a 1992 report to the Bonner Foundation:

"Program directors are finding a stretch in their associations, as they necessarily have to become program developers, political strategists, communicators across many boundaries, counselors, learners, wisdom figures, interpreters, planners and problem solvers."

We believe the Bonner Program and national network offer an invaluable training ground for professionals in the field.  This is already happening on many campuses, with more Bonner Program alumni making up more than a third of Bonner Program coordinators and directors. 

Up until now, we have approached this potential pipeline informally and as an implicit goal of our annual meetings and other program development initiatives.  The intent with this initiative is to make the goals and strategies explicit while also seeking to identify and nurture Bonner students and young staff to identify leadership in higher education as a career path.

We are identifying the Bonner Senior Intern position as the first rung on this professional pathway.  The next is the entry level positions for coordinating the Bonner Program or other roles.  Then there is the mid-level professional roles which vary widely in campus-wide centers for community and civic engagement, with responsibilities that range from

Next Steps

We will design the Bonner Pipeline Project to provide interested students and staff with:

  • A comprehensive framework for professional development that starts with Bonner Senior Interns and moves to the level of campus-wide center director;

  • A portfolio template to allow professionals to track their own learning and accomplishments;

  • Mentoring from other professionals in the field;

  • Possible connections with graduate study or innovative strategies for working professionals to enhance their credentials, including links to the Campus Compact’s new Credentialing Program for Community Engagement Professionals;

These efforts will be integrated into our national meetings but also include webinars and other means of networking and supporting professional development of participants.

We will also highlight this initiative through new publications and stories on our website. 

  Available Resources

The annual Bonner meetings provide direct staff development opportunities: