Learning Outcomes


First developed in 2003-04 through collaborative efforts of students, campus administrators, community partners in the Bonner network and Foundation staff, the Bonner Skill Sets were created to connect to and complement both the Common Commitments and the Student Development Model. It is the hope that every Bonner graduate will have increased their mastery and grown in their ability in each of the skills listed below after four years in the Program.  To facilitate student achievement, we have developed an extensive series of training modules that comprise our recommended education and reflection training calendar.

Personal Skills

  • Active Listening
  • Goal Setting
  • Time Management
  • Reflection
  • Organization
  • Decision Making
  • Communication
  • Balance/Boundaries

Leadership Skills

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Working with Diverse Groups
  • Teamwork
  • Running a Meeting
  • Public Speaking
  • Planning

Professional Skills

  • Evaluation/Research/Assessment
  • Volunteer Management
  • Public Education/Advocacy
  • Networking
  • Mediation
  • Marketing/Public Relations
  • Grant Writing
  • Fundraising
  • Event Planning



The following knowledge areas were identified as topics to educate and broaden students' understanding of the often complex issues they may confront during their direct service experiences. Through the following lenses, students may examine root causes, which policy options work well and which do not, and what may be needed for long-term solutions: 

Public Policy

  • Structure and roles of government
  • Analyzing the implications of governmental policies
  • Ways to be involved in shaping public policy


  • Roots and conditions of poverty
  • Possible solutions
  • Implications

International Perspective and Issues

  • Worldwide distribution of wealth
  • Environmental concerns
  • Health care
  • Global distribution of food

Issue-based knowledge

  • Connected to direct service areas, such as of homelessness or hunger

Place-based knowledge

  • Connected to the community where the student is serving, such as knowledge of local context, history, economics, politics, and issues 



Over the past decade, the Bonner Foundation and colleges and universities in the Bonner network have begun to formalize a set of learning outcomes connected to the co-curricular, curricular, and integrative experiences associated with its four-year civic engagement program. The learning outcomes described below draws on rubrics developed as part of the VALUE initiative of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, including the Civic Engagement, Civic Values, Civic Knowledge, and Integrative Learning Rubrics. It is the hope that when students graduate from the Bonner program, they achieve the following post-graduate learning outcomes:

  • Civic Agency: Ability to take action to address an issue or promote the public good
  • Civic Identity: Sense of commitment and responsibility as a member of a community and society
  • Critical Thinking and Perspective Taking: Ability to analyze and synthesize diverse perspectives
  • Communication Skills: Ability to effectively communicate in diverse formats and forums
  • Diversity and Intercultural Competence: Understanding and capacity to learn from and with diverse others
  • Empathy: Ability to relate to and share feelings of diverse others
  • Integrative Learning: Connects relevant experience and academic knowledge
  • Leadership: Capacity to collaborate with and lead others to achieve a goal or common purpose
  • Place- and Issue- Knowledge: Understanding of facets of a specific community or issue
  • Social Justice: Abilities to examine and act to promote fairness and equity 

Beyond the benefits of co-curricular, curricular, and integrated community service and engagement for student learning shared above, the Bonner model and framework also provides structural supports for students to grow as leaders on campus and in the community, as well as civic minded professionals on and off campus. 

These supports include a cohort-based model, where students actively participate in an inclusive, diverse learning community characterized by active reflection, community building, and dialogue across difference. The Bonner program is also structured as an intentional, four-year developmental pathway, where students are trained to progress from direct service work to higher level engagement in the community, including capacity building and advocacy initiatives. Within this pathway, they are also supported in strengthening their campus leadership, so that they may serve in instrumental roles on campus that deepen campus-wide engagement and foster a culture of service on campus. Lastly, through strategic and targeted training throughout all four years, students identify, develop, and integrate service and civic engagement passions, academic studies, and career interests.