Our High-Impact Initiative supports campuses to make community engagement deeper and more pervasive. The Initiative engages teams of students, faculty, partners, and staff to integrate high-impact practices with community engagement.
This initiative leverages the powerful research generated in the LEAP Report and College Learning for the New Global Century, as well as subsequent publications about high-impact practices. This research shows that engagement supports student success, persistence, and post-graduate outcomes. This initiative is one way that the Bonner Foundation is responding to the insights in A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, a call to action for higher education. We believe that we can build on our twenty year experience—while tapping the most promising research about the practices that result in student learning and success—to harness the power of community engagement.
The High-Impact Initiative builds on proven practices for high-impact community engagement, such as a cohort model, a focus on place-based learning, and developmental models. Drawing on the leadership of students, faculty, staff, and partners, each institution creates a vision and strategy to broaden and deepen engagement. By systematically linking practices such as first-year experiences, internships, undergraduate research, and capstones with civic and community engagement, the project seeks to help campuses spread effective community engagement initiatives that reach more students and maximize the meaningful impact for communities.
The institutions involved participate in strategic planning, data collection, intensive project planning, and assessment. The leadership team works to integrate with broader institutional efforts to foster engagement. Twenty-four institutions have participated in the first three cohorts.
Each cohort works on:
- Building a core team involving experienced program staff, senior and junior faculty members, senior leadership, community partner representatives, and student leaders.
- Attending a series of Summer Institutes to network with peer institutions and experts, including coaches from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Bringing Theory to Practice, and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE), which also participates in evaluating institutions for the Carnegie Classification of Community Engagement.
- Working collaboratively to map a plan for integrating high-impact practices and high-impact community engagement.
- Back on campus and in the community, they mobilize support of their peer and colleagues to implement their plans with the strategic support, resources and models provided by the Bonner Foundation and broader network.