C-N Conference to draw Hundreds of Bonner Program Reps from Across Country

Getting it Just So – C-N Bonner Scholars Julie Davis, of Oak Ridge, and Alex Dickenson (right), of Morristown, work together to create one of several banners to be used during next week’s national conference. The four-day conference will draw to some 350 students and program leaders from across the country.

Carson-Newman’s Bonner Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement will host some 350 conference participants June 4-7 for “Voices of Justice,” the Bonner Foundation’s Summer Leadership Institute. C-N organizers expect students, faculty and staff members from many of the Bonner network’s 75 affiliated campuses to attend.

The Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) offers participants educational and professional development opportunities to bolster the quality and effectiveness of campus-based service efforts. While program sessions will feature the theme of outreach to community agency partnerships, other elements will include Bonner’s High-Impact Engagement Initiative and international partnerships.

“The conference will be geared toward deepening community partnerships, supporting students to fully connect and help develop vibrant systems that foster campus-community engagement,” said Dr. Nicole Saylor, who directs C-N’s Bonner Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. “We are particularly excited to have the opportunity to introduce guests from around the country to our Jefferson County and Lakeway area service partners. It also affords us the opportunity to celebrate our recent honor at the top of the Presidential Honor Roll for General Community Service. We are so very pleased these things have coincided.”

Several conference tracks will be offered. Some will feature student-centric training designed to strengthen an institutional community’s culture of service, while others develop student leadership skills for future program management. There are opportunities tailored for faculty and administrators, to edify campus programs, cutting-edge initiatives and community-based learning, and for community agency leaders who wish to make their sites available to student site leaders and volunteers.

The 2012 Community Engaged Scholarship Symposium is designed for faculty, administrators, and advanced student leaders as a one-day conference on Tuesday, June 5. Offered through a partnership of C-N, Bonner Foundation, Bonner network staffers and Tennessee’s Campus Compact network, the daylong program will provide scholarly material and practical strategies for advancing community-engaged learning and academic-service connections. Beginning with breakfast at 8 a.m., the one-day micro-conference will include social entrepreneurism in the classroom, the use of quality enhancement plans (QEP) for service-learning and engaged scholarship, faculty development models, and how to engage students and community partners as colleagues.

The conference will also allow those affiliated with Bonner initiatives to connect with the roots of Corella Allen Bonner. An Eagen, Tennessee native who made her way north during the Great Depression, Bonner worked her way from an entry level cafeteria cashier to a college-educated manager. She ultimately transferred to New York with Statler Hotels.

Her 1942 marriage to businessman Bertram Bonner was the foundation of a philanthropic powerhouse. The pair established the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation in 1987 and committed $100 million to endow it. One of the nation’s larger scholarship programs, the Bonner Scholars Program supports some 1500 students on 24 campuses. The Foundation’s Crisis Ministry Program provides grants to religious, community-based hunger relief programs across the country while helping congregations build community relationships and outreach programs. Other efforts include the Bonner Leaders Program, the Bonner AmeriCorps Programs and the High Impact Initiative.

The couple’s benevolence has come full circle; C-N organizers say the week’s events will be replete with such evidence.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the significant impact Bonner Foundation resources have made for Jefferson County over the last 20 years,” said Saylor. “Students, faculty, administrators, and colleges and universities will have a firsthand understanding of how resources provided by the Bonner Foundation can be utilized to positively affect not only the lives of students, but also a college campus and a community.”

For more information, contact C-N’s Bonner Center at 865-471-3594.