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(This edition posted February 2018)
Community Engagement Fellows is a lively, effective way to build new campus-community collaborations that involve a wide variety of academic disciplines and community organizations.
This Guide is intended to provide a clear picture of the program, so that folks elsewhere could confidently convene a Fellows program and/or suggest how we can improve our practices.
Use the links in the Table of Contents on this page to browse the Guide, or start at the beginning and read through in sequence.
The Guide begins with the origins and evolution of the Fellows program.
We describe some of the social movements and development theories that inspired the program, how it was initiated in 2015, and adaptations that have been made in subsequent years.
This section ends with the Principles of Community Engagement Fellows.
The next section opens with a description of the resources needed to host the program, and then explores each of the program elements in turn, following the chronology of a Fellows annual cycle.
Each annual cycle of the program begins with an extended recruiting process. Once new Fellows are signed up, we schedule and assign Fellows to cohorts of 8-10 people. These cohorts will come together for a series of eight meetings during the academic year. Each meeting focuses on a different aspect of effective learning and community development design.
The program kicks off with a picnic in early October, an essential element that promotes a spirit of fun and hospitality. We also end the program with a picnic in the spring.
Cohort meetings begin in mid-October, and are the essential shared experiences of all Fellows. We have three cohort meetings in the fall, three in the winter, and two in the spring.
Starting in the winter, Fellows take turns workshopping questions related to their ongoing or emerging campus-community work.
In addition to cohort meetings, Fellows are invited to participate in thematic affinity groups, Community Engagement Forums, field trips, and social events.
At the end of the year, Fellows write a short reflection on the value that they've gained from participation.
Convening the Fellows program requires thoughtful email communication and wise data management, as well as careful consideration of how to incentivize and reward participation. We conclude this section describing our approaches to each of these elements.
Table of Contents
Origins and Evolution
Cohort Meeting Themes and Activities
Next, the Guide steps through the themes and activities of each of the eight cohort meetings.
This section is intended to inspire you to think about a flow of topics and activities that would work well in your context, not as a prescription or recipe.
Finally, we include several example emails. We hope they give you a sense of the tone and structure of our communication with Fellows. Feel free to borrow or modify to your purposes!
Please let us know how the Guide can improve to help you. We’re grateful for your interest, and look forward to learning together.