The Bonner Student Development Model supports students to develop academically and socially over four years. 

Students identify, develop, and integrate service and civic engagement passions, academic studies, and career interests. Students are challenged and supported to grow as leaders as well as demonstrate active citizenship. At service sites, in courses, in Bonner meetings, and in special roles (like Bonner Congress), students take on challenging responsibilities as they advance. 

The four-year student development model has five stages called the “5 E’s.” These are implemented in co-curricular, curricular, and integrated ways.  In service positions with schools, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations, students learn and apply a variety of skills and knowledge areas. Their work builds the capacity of programs, organizations, and communities.  In academic coursework and co-curricular trainings, students are supported to directly develop the skills, knowledge, and values (represented by the Common Commitments) that supports them and their work.  Reaching beyond a co-curricular model, many of the colleges and universities involved also engage students in an academic pathway, such as a civic engagement minor, certificate, or even related major.  In essence, students are involved in multiple high-impact education practices (like service-learning, internships, and research) by graduation.

The Five E's:


Bonner Programs intentionally recruit and accept students who show an interest in and commitment to community service and engagement.  


First-year students (and new Bonners) are intentionally involved in a variety of service sites and activities, which helps them to then identity their passions and make a long-term commitment to a particular place (community), site, and issue areas. 


Second-year students focus on developing more skill and knowledge within their given place (community), site, and issue areas.  They begin to understand more deeply the mission, operations, and programs of a particular agency and to develop greater understanding of community issues. 


Third-year students take on expanded leadership roles and responsibilities on campus and in communities (often local, national and global). They many lead and mobilize students at their site and engage in complex projects like related undergraduate research.


Students work on capstone-level positions, often in the site or issue in which they have engaged multiple years. They even initative program development or assume management.  Students often integrate academic studies, through capstones, and career interests. Students create a culminating public presentation, an opportunity to reflect on and share their entire developmental journey, learning, and accomplishments with peers, faculty, partners, and family.

Back to Integrated Approach

See the Bonner Resource Wiki for more information.