Newman Civic Fellowship Learning Outcomes

The primary goals of the Newman Civic Fellowship are:
  1. To support community-committed students from Campus Compact member institutions in their personal, civic, and professional development so as to prepare them for the long-term work of public problem solving and of building equitable communities
  2. To build a network of civically-oriented college student leaders and alumni characterized by vibrant and productive relationships

To advance these goals, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning opportunities for fellows through national and local gatherings as well as web-based offerings. Through a series of conversations, surveys, a focus group, and literature review, the following skills were identified as priority areas for fellowship learning opportunities.

Relationship building skills

To address the challenges facing our democracy and our communities – particularly exploding inequality and political polarization – we need leaders who can build relationships and collaborate effectively across lines of difference. The Newman Civic Fellowship is focused on providing learning opportunities to help a new generation of leaders develop the skills necessary to do this relational work. These skills include:

Awareness of self: An understanding of one’s own identity and the manner in which one’s identity impacts one’s experience and relationships. Key elements of this competency include: 1) understanding one’s own social identities and how those identities relate to systems of power and inequity and 2) being willing to receive constructive feedback and to engage in critical self-reflection.

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

  • participating in identity-based dialogue programs
  • exploring local events and groups that can expose you to new ideas, cultures, or perspectives
  • enrolling in courses or academic programs that address systems of power and inequity
  • engaging in activities that increase your understanding of yourself and that can help foster critical reflection (i.e. taking a free implicit bias quiz through Project Implicit)

Collaboration: The ability to work with others to reach shared goals and mutually beneficial outcomes. Key components of this competency include: a) ability to share power within teams b) knowledge of potential strategies to address group conflicts and c) understanding of and attention to group dynamics.

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

  • participating in a campus or community organization in which you have to work interdependently with other members toward a shared goal
  • participating in campus leadership programs that involve activities focused on collaboration and teamwork
  • explore opportunities for training in conflict resolution and negotiation to gain additional skills in managing group conflict

Cultural competence: An awareness of how individuals’ backgrounds, environments, and social identities can shape their views of the world as well as their interactions with others and with social systems. Cultural competence also includes educating oneself about cultures, customs, and perspectives that differ from one’s own and practicing empathy and humility when encountering situations or individuals whose cultural expectations, values, or norms differ from one’s own.

Social intelligence: Attention to the feelings and needs of oneself and others as well as an ability to navigate complex social situations.

We group these two competencies together because when working with diverse groups of people it can be hard to exercise social intelligence without also practicing cultural competence.

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

  • exploring books, articles, blogs, videos, that help you learn about individuals’ lived experience in cultures different than your own (while remembering that one individual’s story does not capture the story of an entire group or culture)
  • attending events that expose you to new cultures and perspectives
  • engaging in self-reflection to practice being attuned to your feelings and the feelings of others

Effective interpersonal communication: The ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with others. Key elements of this competency include: a) listening deeply to others b) engaging thoughtfully with opposing viewpoints c) viewing issues from numerous perspectives and d) articulating clearly one’s own perspective.

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

  • participating in identity-based dialogue programs
  • having respectful conversations with people whose views differ greatly from your own and practicing listening deeply to their concerns, perspectives, and experiences
  • participating in a dialogue training to learn more about effective communication and deep listening through organizations like Sustained Dialogue Institute, Public Conversations Project, Everyday Democracy

Networking skills: The ability to build mutually beneficial professional connections and networks.

The Newman Civic Fellowship helps students build this skill by providing opportunities for fellows to practice networking during portions of our national and regional events for fellows.

We also encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

  • attending networking events hosted by your campus or by organizations that you care about
  • taking advantage of opportunities to attend professional conferences in your area if possible
  • seeking out opportunities for informational interviews with individuals who are in fields that you are interested in pursuing

Tactical Skills to Facilitate Action

We aim to help our fellows develop the skills needed to effectively build relationships as well as the skills needed to apply what they have learned through those relationships in order to create positive change in their communities. The skills that we help fellows build in this domain are:

Asset mapping: as described by John Hammerlink in his article “Asset-Focused Leadership” asset mapping is “systematically finding out what skills, talents, knowledge, relationships, and other assets currently exist in the community.”

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

Attracting resources to advance a cause: A grouping of skills that are involved in attracting and sustaining the human and material resources needed to advance a cause or an organizational mission. Key elements of this competency are: a) ability to craft messaging that speaks to target audiences and an understanding of how to disseminate that messaging b) knowledge of fundraising strategies and finance management, and c) understanding of how to build opportunities that attract and engage others in your movement/cause.

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

  • taking on a role in a campus or community organization that will allow you to gain experience in representing your organization to external audiences or a role that would allow you to gain experience in managing an organizational budget & finances
  • helping organize a campus or community event that involves volunteer recruitment and management
  • participating in a training that helps you gain additional skills or expertise in knowing how to craft messaging that speaks to your audience and achieves your goals

Community organizing : Organizing people around a shared vision and goals in order to create change around a specific problem or set of problems. To do this effectively one must know how to move from vision to action and how to support others’ development as leaders so as to build a network of people working collectively to solve a problem.

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

  • getting involved in a local or national organizing campaign related to an issue that you care about (note: when joining an existing movement or campaign, please do so in a manner that is attentive to the expressed vision and goals of the individuals or communities leading the movement)
  • participating in an organizer training

Design thinking (borrowed from IDEO): a method for creative problem solving in which those who are developing potential solutions place human experience at the center of their process for designing solutions.

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

  • participating in design thinking workshops on your campus or in your community if available
  • taking a free online course in human centered design through +Acumen and IDEO.org

Root cause analysis: Thoroughly exploring the complexities of a problem in order to identify the underlying cause(s) for that problem.

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

Systems thinking: A method of analysis in which people examine an entire system rather than a single component of that system so as to develop more effective strategies for addressing a complex problem.

We encourage fellows to seek additional opportunities for building this skill outside the fellowship through activities like:

  • participate in a systems thinking training on your campus or in your community if available