High Impact Partner Initiative

The HIP initiative is an effort to build deeper, mutually beneficial relationships with community partners in order to strengthen the impact of Colorado College in the city of Colorado Springs. The Collaborative for Community Engagement (CCE) will support a consortium of around 10 community partners toward developing deep, multifaceted institutional partnerships with students and faculty in areas of need identified by these community partners. The project seeks to unite campus and community stakeholders in the work of co-creating partnerships: (1) in which students and faculty meaningfully contribute to organizational missions, (2) that provide developmental pathways that cultivate in CC students the habits and skills needed to be effective change makers in their post-graduate lives, and (3) that support the educational mission of the College though connections to teaching and research.

High Impact Consortium Values

The Collaborative for Community Engagement at Colorado College seeks to build a consortium of community partners in the Colorado Springs Community around the values listed below. These values reflect best practices in the fields of community engagement in higher education, and are also intended to establish the foundation for partnerships between the college and community grounded in mutuality and integrity.

  • An Asset Based Approach - Every community faces challenges. But every community also has numerous assets that can be cultivated and leveraged to address these challenges. We view partner organizations as assets in addressing community needs, and seek to develop relationships with organizations that take a similar asset based approach.
  • Place Based - The unique history and particularities of life in Colorado Springs is essential to our approach. We seek relationships with organizations who take an approach that is attenuated to the complex forces that have shaped and continue to shape this place.
  • Co-Creative - We take seriously the knowledge and skills of CC faculty and staff, but also believe our students and community partners have knowledge and skills to share. We believe the strongest approach to working on public problems comes through equitable collaboration among all of these stakeholders.
  • Community Partners are Co-Educators - Our community partners have detailed knowledge of the issues they work on day in and day out. We encourage our students to acquire this knowledge at community sites and in co-curricular learning spaces from community partners, and we believe this learning should be as rigorous as knowledge acquired through the academic program.
  • Developmental - We seek developmental growth both for our students and with our community partners. If we grow together, the relationship between the College and the community partner becomes stronger - leading to deeper impacts on community challenges.
  • Deep and Sustained Capacity Building - We seek to establish pathways for CC students that help them grow, from entry level opportunities to multi-year commitments with increasing levels of responsibility. The goal is to prepare students to add capacity to our High Impact Partner organizations.
  • Cohort Based: We seek to build a cohort of community partners that can learn from and with one another, building intra-community collaboration and facilitating shared work towards common goals.
  • Institutional Partnerships - We seek to build relationships with High Impact Partners that are institutional. The CCE will serve as the central College contact for assisting partners in identifying and taking advantage of resources and opportunities available through multiple venues at Colorado College.
  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion - We seek partners who prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion within their organization, and promote these as essential outcomes of their work.

How will it work?

Community partners will be invited to apply to join the High Impact Cohort at Colorado College. If accepted, these are the commitments we seek from community partners:

  • Attend a quarterly cohort meeting focused on dialogue, trainings, and problem-solving
  • Possibly participate in a shared activity, learning opportunity, or skill building exercise between quarterly meetings
  • Commit to creating mutually beneficial opportunities for Colorado College students and/or faculty, including ongoing positions for individuals, partnerships with groups, or project-based work (depending on need)
  • With support from CCE staff, co-create developmental opportunities for students that lead to increasingly complex skills and responsibilities over time -- from entry level work to capacity building opportunities that meaningfully enhance your organizational mission
  • Allow students to explore different kinds of work at your organization, in an effort to support their personal discernment of identity and future career pathways
  • With support from CCE staff, explore possibilities to partner with faculty through coursework and/or research projects
  • Commit to orienting students and/or faculty to your organization and your work, so they learn about the larger contexts in which they will engage
  • Commit to one event annually in which you share your area of expertise at CC; for example, this might be facilitating a workshop or serving on a campus panel
  • Join an email listserv and remain attentive to announcements that are distributed through the listserv

Benefits of Membership in the High Impact Consortium

  • Supportive community of organizations to help problem-solve, generate ideas, and share resources
  • Space to ask questions of, and share ideas, feedback, or concerns with Colorado College
  • Commitment of CCE staff to make efforts to deepen partnerships with your organization through making connections to people, resources, and programs; and communicate opportunities to potential stakeholders
  • Trainings on how best to access and utilize a range of students at Colorado College, including groups of volunteers, interns, and researchers
  • Trainings on how to leverage the resources available in higher education specifically at Colorado College, including campus spaces, researchers and faculty, and student workers
  • Trainings in how to work effectively with the Block Plan and with CC's student culture
  • Trainings on community engaged research and other project-based engagement to support teaching and research-based partnerships
  • Ability to advise the CCE in how to best mobilize and prepare students and faculty to work in the community
  • Ability to build relationships and collaborations with other community partners in the cohort
  • Opportunities to network with staff, faculty, and students at Colorado College

CCE Support

To facilitate this work, the Collaborative for Community Engagement will focus on deepening partnerships with your organization through: (1) making connections to people, resources, and programs; (2) communicating opportunities to potential stakeholders; and (3) increasing collaborations among offices on campus who support student community engagement -- with whom you already work or could work -- to organize efforts toward deeper collective impact.

Specifically, the CCE commits to the following:

  • Organize and coordinate quarterly High Impact Partner meetings
  • Provide opportunities to dialogue, problem-solve, and answer questions
  • Heavily promote opportunities at high Impact partner sites, especially to first year students, and build incentives to increase student commitments to HIP sites over time (e.g. pay, internship opportunities, or research opportunities)
  • Proactively seek to make connections with appropriate faculty, depending on need
  • Help resolve transportation barriers to ensure students can get to and from community organizations
  • Organize regular trainings for High Impact Partners, including best practices on facilitating community engagement for college students as well as how to work with the Block Plan culture and schedule
  • Explore the possibility of establishing a student leader or leaders responsible for connecting students to High Impact Partner site
  • Make efforts to collaborate more deeply with campus partners -- such as the Career Center, Financial Aid, and/or the Public Interest Fellowship Program -- to strengthen the intentionality and coordination of students working at High Impact Partner sites

here to view our current list of High Impact Partners!

For more information, please contact Community Partnership Development Coordinator Niki Sosa (nsosa@coloradocollege.edu).

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/17/2020