Communities of Practice

Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact is offering Communities of Practice (CoPs) beginning January 2024 to enhance individuals’ capacity to do community engagement work in higher education; identify resources, research findings, program models, insights, etc.; benefit a broader network; and build the field’s knowledge about CoPs as a model for professional development.

Those in a community of practice share a common concern or passion and learn how to advance that passion through regular shared interaction. The members of a community of practice share a domain of interest, engage in joint activities and have an ongoing, sustained interaction over time contributing to their shared practice. Communities of practice can serve varied functions, including solving problems, sharing information, providing experience, utilizing shared assets, coordinating and strategizing, building a case for action, documenting projects, mapping knowledge, gaining confidence, and more. (Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, 2015)

We are currently accepting participant applications for:

CoPs are a virtual experience formed around a specific issue in higher education community and civic engagement. The number of participants may vary depending on interest, but our ideal number is 8-12 participants each. CoPs will meet four times between January and May. Each CoP meeting will be 90 minutes long and take place via Zoom.

CoPs will be open to faculty, staff, administrators, students, and community partners affiliated with Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact member campuses. Campus Compact operates on the belief that regardless of formal role, we all have valuable knowledge to share and learning to do. The CoPs are designed to leverage connections and open conversations that might not otherwise occur. People interested in participating will complete a very short application. IAMNCC staff will promote each CoP, recruit participants, and review applications.

CoP topics are proposed by facilitators in the application process. Based on feedback from our network, we are currently prioritizing COPs that:

      • Focus on student mental health and wellness
      • Explore dynamics of community and civic engagement in an urban and rural context
      • Are specifically designed for advanced community engagement practitioners

We are also open to considering other topics that would be relevant to our network. Some examples include:

      • Development of Community Engagement Professionals (these can be linked to Campus Compact micro-credentials, but do not have to be)
      • Faculty development, specifically related to community-engaged and/or civic learning pedagogies
      • Strategic approaches to community engagement across campus (can include preparing for and/or implementing Civic Action Plans)
      • Election engagement and/or civic learning
      • Creating campus/community cultures of dialogue across difference
      • Equity and inclusion in higher education and/or related to community engagement
      • Creating student-ready campus cultures and meeting student basic needs
      • Community-campus partnerships
      • Community-engaged research
      • Community engagement as a strategy for deepening student learning and improving retention
      • Colleges and universities as anchors and/or place-based engagement efforts
      • Critical reflection in practice
      • Community-engaged learning online

We encourage those in faculty and/or staff roles and/or community partners to apply to facilitate a CoP. The deadline to apply is October 6, 2023.

What are the responsibilities of a CoP facilitator?

CoP facilitators prepare for and lead at least four group meetings, starting in January and ending in May, with the support of a Campus Compact team member. Facilitators set their own meeting schedule and participate in an orientation via Zoom video call in early November.

Facilitators will seek to create engaged learning communities where participants learn, grow, and build relationships. This can include:

    • helping participants build relationships and trust
    • facilitating discussion of principles, theories, or models and their practice
    • using story-telling to derive learning
    • guiding participants in completing tasks toward a shared group or individuals goals
    • generating and sharing resources within the CoP and beyond
    • Some facilitators may decide to have participants do a reading, have pair conversations, prepare a written reflection, bring a resource to share, etc. between sessions. Staff support will be available to all facilitators for planning and execution.

Facilitators will be paired with an IAMNCC staff member to provide technical assistance and support the success of the CoP in other ways as needed.

Co-Facilitation

While we are open to individual facilitators, our preference is for each CoP to be led by two co-facilitators because:

    • it is easier to attend to the range of dynamics at work in the group and develop questions and prompts to advance the group’s work together;
    • it presents a more diverse range of thought at the outset of the group and provides access to a larger arena of helpful resources and experiences;
    • co-facilitators can provide mutual support as they reflect on what’s working well and strategize about what could be better or what next steps make sense;
    • co-facilitators’ behavior towards each other can help model and set the tone for collaborative, power-sharing relationships among group members;
    • logistically, having two facilitators decreases the likelihood of needing to reschedule a session in the case of illness, emergencies, etc.

What are the benefits of facilitating a Community of Practice?

CoP facilitators will have the unique experience of collaborating with other change-oriented people from an array of roles and institutions across the region in a collaborative and asset-focused environment. They can expect to learn with participants and gain experience facilitating this type of collaborative learning process, including using remote digital engagement tools and harvesting resources and shared knowledge. In addition, facilitators receive a $500 stipend.

How will facilitators be selected?

Applications must be submitted online no later than October 6, 2023. Campus Compact staff will review applications and select facilitators using the following criteria:

    • demonstrated commitment to leadership on the issue you select or propose; experience facilitating collaborative group processes;
    • willingness to commit to the entire CoP program from orientation through evaluation (October – May);
    • interest in both developing your own leadership and co-creating resources and learning opportunities for others;
    • affiliation with an Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact member for those at higher education institutions.

How do I apply?

We are currently accepting and considering applications on a rolling basis. Those who have identified a co-facilitator can submit one joint application. Individuals can submit their own and IAMNCC staff will match applicants with one another.

Communities of Practice are open to faculty, staff, administrators, students, and communities partners affiliated with Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact as a part of campus membership. Typically each community has 8-12 participants.

We will strive to create diverse communities and to select those interested for their first choice. If you have a second choice community you can also indicate that in the application.

All CoPs are conducted on Zoom web conference and access to high-speed internet and a web camera is required. You must be able to commit to all four sessions.

We are currently accepting participant applications for:

Have questions? Contact Kara Trebil-Smith at ktrebilsmith@compact.org.