Developing Student Agency Through Community Exploration, Reflection, and Engagement: Workshop Overview

This workshop and the research project that it initiates are based on the hypothesis that thoughtfully designed community exploration, reflection, and engagement can create the conditions under which students are more likely to realize why their own educational and life choices matter, both to themselves and to others, and to make those choices more actively and thoughtfully as a result. The workshop prepares participants to test the validity of this hypothesis through collaborative development of both assignments and activities for first-year students, and research plan for campus-specific pilot projects.

In first-year programs that seek to achieve an ambitious set of outcomes, exercises involving community observation, exploration, and reflection also serve as highly effective vehicles for learning that is integrative in two senses: it enables students to draw connections between classroom conversations and their experiences in communities; and it enables teachers to design assignments that integrate different skills and perspectives, and thus advance multiple student learning outcomes.The workshop seeks to achieve a similar form of integration by engaging participants themselves in community observation and exploration as well as "classroom" sessions on assignment design and assessment.

Workshop Goals

By the end of the workshop, participants should be able:

  • to design and implement effective community-based exploration and reflection assignments; and
  • to assess collaboratively the efficacy of community exploration, reflection, and engagement for fostering student self-awareness, agency, and responsibility.


June 16-18, 2010, beginning at 8:45 a.m. on June 16 and ending at 4:00 p.m. on June 18. See the workshop agenda for details.


  • during the workshop: participate in all sessions, on and off campus
  • after the workshop: pilot and assess assignments and activities


The FaCE grant covers the cost of transportation to and accommodations at the workshop, as well as working breakfasts and lunches. Non-workshop meals must be covered by participants.


The workshop will be held in room 101 of the Science Center at Beloit College. Directions from the Fairfield Inn to the Science Center are found here.

For More Information

Please contact Natalie Gummer ( if you have questions about the workshop or the project.