Coalition Resources

Shared learning among community engagement leaders in the Salish Sea Region.

Below is a selection of the resources that Community Engagement Fellows coalition members have produced and share. You’re welcome to use, adapt, and share them yourself.


Please mention where you got them, so others can discover these resources as well. 


If you’d like to be notified when new resources are added or changes are made to the existing documents, please join the coalition (see bottom of page). 

Coalition members are working to bring people together to learn from each other across boundaries, with the goal of building more interconnected, inclusive, and resilient communities.


A variety of frameworks and theories inform our work as social learning leaders, all of which point toward the need for more integrated and equitable social systems. 


Here’s a list of some of the most influential: 


Inspiration and Guidance for Social Learning Leaders 

The Ways to Engage infographic below is a simple tool that we use to explain to participants the kinds of social systems we’re hoping to help flourish. It’s a distillation of the numerous theoretical frameworks that have influenced our shared work.  


Our goal is to help people develop systems with the characteristics on the right side of the graphic, moving away from systems with the characteristics on the left. 


The graphic is framed around community-based learning systems, but the principles can be applied to any sector (healthcare systems, workforce development, agriculture/food production, etc.).


Ways to Engage Infographic

We seek to foster genuine friendships and professional relationships among participants. 


While important connections and learning can happen in a single event, it’s even more powerful to create ongoing opportunities for people to learn in a community of practice. 


Here’s a one-pager describing the concept:

What is a Community of Practice?

Social learning is new and unfamiliar to many people, which can make it challenging to recruit new participants. 


We’ve put together this list of tips for calling in new people to participate in social learning events:


Calling in New Social Learners

We try to give people a taste of what to expect from their social learning experiences 


To help new participants get oriented and empowered to participate, we’ve found it helpful to share the What is a Community of Practice? document as well as this list of advice from past participants: 


Advice for New Social Learners


People have many different ways of learning. 


We’ve had conversations around the question, “How can we design learning opportunities/systems that work well for people different than ourselves?” 


Here’s a series of documents with advice generated from those conversations:

Preparing the Self_(Design for Diverse Learners)


Listening_(Design for Diverse Learners)

Positioning Yourself_(Design for Diverse Learners)


Structure_(Design for Diverse Learners)

We create spaces where the seeds of new partnerships and collaborations can germinate and begin to grow, and recognize that healthy and enduring partnerships take a long time to evolve. 


We’ve produced these two resources for people to use as benchmarks/references as their partnerships are initiated and evolve:


Questions for Potential Partners


Signs of a Healthy Partnership

Design Clinics are a beloved and frequently used social learning tool. The process mobilizes the collective wisdom of a group in an equitable and energizing way, inspiring robust learning for all. 


We learned the basic format from Beverly and Etienne Wenger-Trayner, and continue to adapt it.


Here’s a description of the design clinic format:


Design Clinic Format


It’s important to take notes during a design clinic, so that the wisdom shared is captured and can be disseminated. 


Here’s a template for taking design clinic notes:


Design Clinic Notes_Template

Not all design clinics are equally impactful. The quality and clarity of the opening request for help makes a big difference. Same goes for the relative depth and richness of the inquiries during "Share more about...". 


Social learning leaders can use the three documents below to help participants produce great design clinics, and adapt the documents to support other inquiry-based activities.


  • This activity allows a group to develop a sense of the wide range of questions that would be worthwhile for them to explore through design clinics. It helps participants see how their particular interests/challenges are situated within the larger group context:


Engaging Uncertainty Activity


  • Help participants hone in on a simple, specific design clinic request with this document:

Crafting an Effective Design Clinic Question


  • This document supports participants in effectively inquiring during the "Share more about" section:

Tips for "Share more about..."

We want to know that our social learning leadership is making a difference.


One useful assessment tool is the value-creation framework created by Beverly and Etienne Wenger-Trayner and their colleague Maarten de Laat.


Here’s a brief overview of the framework, which includes a link to their publication that explores the framework in detail:


Value-Creation in Social Learning

We have used this activity to help participants articulate how they define success for the wide variety of people their work touches:


What Does Success Look Like?

Our social learning practices have evolved significantly over time.

In early 2018, we produced the first "Guide to Community Engagement Fellows" which provides a detailed explanation of the program philosophy, evolution, and structure at that point.

The "Guide" now functions as a useful reference and archive for the coalition, even though its language and explanations of our methods are not current.


Guide to Community Engagement Fellows (2018)


If you're interested in joining, email Travis Tennessen

to set up a phone call, video-conference, or in-person meeting.


This will help us learn more about our shared interests and related work, allow you to ask questions, and generally get the relationship off on the right foot!

Our programming takes place on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, particularly the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.

(For more information: WWU Tribal Relations)

Thank you to the numerous organizations that have empowered and continue to support this collaborative effort through co-sponsoring events and providing meeting space, expertise, and communication support. Special thanks to Eastern Washington University, Northwest Indian College, University of Puget Sound, Whatcom County Library System, and Whiteswan Environmental for their ongoing dedication to the work.

©2020 Community Engagement Fellows