Berkshire Community College spotlight

BCC presents at national Campus Compact Conference

On May 19th, a team of four from Berkshire Community College presented a model for using an asset-based community development approach to teaching civic engagement at “The Engaged Campus: Driving Innovation through Partnerships” in Dearborn, MI. This work is the product of a yearlong partnership, funded by the MA Department of Education’s Vision grant, involving six BCC faculty, 14 students, eight community partners from the Pittsfield Promise committee and Service-Learning Office staff. In the fall 2012 semester, the campus-community cohort learned about asset mapping principles and the steps to implement the asset mapping process.

Asset mapping is the process of cataloguing the resources of a community to identify available assets; map them; and promote dialogue, action and community building around issues. This project is a key strategy aimed at helping the community achieve the goal to increase 3rd grade reading levels in Pittsfield, MA to 90% by 2020. The cohort drafted survey questions and identified 250-300 individuals, neighbor associations, community organizations and businesses to be surveyed and built a database to house this information. Since fall 2012, 14 Service-learning students have conducted a series of one-on-one interviews to collect information on assets related to their course work. For example, students in Human Growth and Development interviewed early childhood organizations. Hospitality Seminar students interviewed hotels and restaurants and Sociology students interviewed neighborhood associations and community based organizations.

BCC faculty are assessing service-learning students’ civic engagement skills across disciplines using the AAC&U’s LEAP rubric. Pittsfield Promise partners are in the early stages of creating a GIS map with the existing data entered by BCC students. This asset mapping project will continue over the summer with students interns and resume as an ongoing academic service-learning project in the fall 2013.

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