New Developments: Year 3 (2017-2018)
New developments in the third year of Community Engagement Fellows included:
Official partnership with Whatcom Community College
Whatcom Community College faculty have been involved since the beginning of the program, but this year it became an official WCC “Faculty Education Workshop.”
24 WCC faculty were Fellows, a much larger number than previous years. WCC’s service-learning coordinator Kristine Smith co-facilitated the program with Travis.
First Fellows from Bellingham Technical College
BTC faculty have been invited since the program began, but no one completed the program in the first two years. In 2017-2018, three faculty members participated.
Communities of Practice workshop attended
In July 2017, Travis attended a workshop on facilitating communities of practice hosted by the leaders in this field, Etienne and Beverly Wegner-Trayner, in their home in Grass Valley, California.
Through this experience, he became better able to explain the Fellows program as an example of this type of social learning community. He also learned tools developed by communities of practice around the world to experiment with in the Fellows program.
Kristine Smith has been involved with Community Engagement Fellows since it began, and became co-facilitator in 2017.
Wikispaces website launched
In contrast to the more static and public-facing cefellows.org, this website (https://cefellows.wikispaces.com/) is an evolving participatory space where Fellows share and update documents, record our experiences, find those with shared interests, and connect between meetings. The Wegner-Trayners demonstrated the use of this web platform at their workshop.
New design clinic format
We began using a new format to workshop Fellows’ collaboration ideas, based on a technique taught at the Wegner-Trayners’ workshop, which improved the quality of those conversations, made them more informative and engaging to all participants, and better captured the insights and suggestions provide.
Design clinic materials posted on Wikispaces
Fellows now post their design clinic materials on their Wikispaces personal page. In the first two years, Fellows would email their proposals to the facilitator, who would then email them to cohort members and print them for each meeting. The new system eliminates wasted paper and email correspondence, and allows Fellows to modify their materials until the moment of their design clinic.
More community-based educators
We included a larger number, and larger proportion, of community-based educators who work in non-profits, local government, or other sectors. Of the roughly 95 Fellows in 2017-2018, about 25 work outside of higher education.
Cascade Foothills Fellows cohort initiated
We began building a relationship with the staff at the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center in Kendall, Washington in January 2017. The center is 45 minutes outside of Bellingham, in a rural area.
We decided to co-host a Fellows cohort there beginning in November 2017, which involves both rural community leaders and Bellingham-based Fellows interested in working in our region’s rural areas.