Model Project: The Immigrant in American Society”, research and submittal of a journal article.

Final Report : AY 2010-11 Model Project Dialogues on Immigrant Integration at CU

Primary Contacts: Ellen Aiken and Karen Ramirez

Sewall Residential Academic Program, UCB 353 (303-492-1822) (303-492-6042)

Description of Project

Dialogues on Immigrant Integration at CU facilitated conversations between immigrant Housing and Dining Services employees and residence hall students in order to promote an honest and respectful exchange of views on immigration and immigrant integration. The project built on the experiences that resulted from these exchanges to encourage and facilitate active student engagement in immigrant integration in the University and Boulder community.

The objectives of Dialogues on Immigrant Integration at CU were to

raise student awareness of immigration as a complicated issue that directly affects many members of the CU-Boulder community;provide an experiential component to the academic study of immigration and the immigrant experience;foster respect and understanding among participants so that they will be more comfortable communicating in classrooms, dining halls, and other university settings;

· provide students with opportunities to work with community organizations that focus on immigration issues;

encourage students to participate in local, state, and national conversations about immigration.


As an IECE Model Project in AY 2010-11, Dialogues on Immigrant Integration at CU expanded from its 2009-10 base of 6 RAPs/campus units to include 3 new RAPs (Honors, Communication, and Chancellor's Leadership/Ethnic Living and Learning Community) and 4 additional campus departments/units (Spanish Department, Center of the American West, Volunteer Resource Center, and Residence Life). The Model Project offered both Dialogue Day and in-class dialogue formats to participating RAPs/campus units; participating units chose the format that worked best for their specific circumstances. Over the course of AY 2010-11, the project garnered widespread support from RAP directors and instructors, residence hall employees, and Housing and Dining Services supervisors and administrators, and Residence Life staff.

For AY 2010-2011, a total of 596 students participated in Dialogues on Immigrant Integration at CU-Boulder (an increase of 96 students compared to AY 2009-10). Dialogue Days in AY 2010-11 involved 265 students; small-group dialogues involved 331 students.

Dialogue Days Held AY 2010-2011

Number of Participants

9-23-2010 Sewall RAP

90 students, 5 faculty, 25 H/D Services employees

10-20-2010 Global/Libby RAPs

175 students, 7 faculty, 35 H/D Services employees

In-Class Dialogues Held per Quarter AY 2010-11

Number of Participants

1st quarter: 1 dialogue in Program for Writing Rhetoric

25 students, 3 H/D employees

2nd quarter: 10 dialogues in Sewall, Libby, Baker, CLR/ELLC RAPs, Spanish Dept., Center of American West course, Volunteer Resource Center

197 students, 35 H/D employees

3rd quarter: 9 dialogues in Sewall, Communication, Honors RAPs, Residence Life, Volunteer Resource Center

109 students, 41 H/D employees


Dialogue Days

Dialogue Days are designed to engage large groups of participants in dialogue. Dialogue Days provided conversation/activities for 90 (Sewall RAP) and 175 (Global/Libby RAPs) students, and 30-40 Housing and Dining Services employees, and faculty/staff over a 3-4 hour time period.

Classroom and Small-Group Dialogues

In-class dialogues are designed to engaged 3-4 employees in conversation with one group of students during a class period. Small-group dialogues in non-classroom settings such as the Volunteer Resource Center facilitated communication between 10-15 CU students and service employees per dialogue.

Curriculum Development

Project consultants Ellen Aiken and Karen Ramirez worked with instructors and directors to tailor dialogues to course content so as to maximize student learning and cross cultural communication. Project coordinator Pilar Prostko also met with instructors and directors to develop dialogue topics. In addition, she scheduled and facilitated dialogues and met with employees in order to prepare them for classroom and small-group discussions.

Civic Engagement Opportunities

Ellen Aiken developed a Sewall RAP civic engagement course called The Immigrant in American Society (SEWL 1020: 711). The course was taught both fall and spring semesters; a total of 30 students enrolled. Each student volunteered 8 hours to community organizations that focus on issues of immigration and immigrant integration.

Instructor/Student Assessment

The project solicited feedback from participating faculty, students, and service employees through

· participant evaluation forms from Dialogue Days· student response forms from in-class dialogues· consultations with RAP/unit faculty and directors

Goals Accomplished AY 2010-11

· Expanded Dialogues to 3 additional RAPs and 4 additional campus units· Developed civic engagement opportunities through new RAP course,The Immigrant in American Society· Continued work on instructor/director guidelines for holding classroom or small group dialogues· Gathered data re: the ways in which student-employee Dialogues support diversity and encourage community engagement within the University· Formed a Steering Committee to develop a plan to institutionalize Dialogues in the RAPs and residence halls so that student/service employee dialogues become a part of the first-year student experience at CU

Barriers to Achieving Goals

The primary challenges we faced during Phase 2 of the Model Project were:

1) Creating an "Instructor's Information Guide." Over the past year it has become apparent that this goal was overly ambitious; neither Ellen, Karen, nor Pilar had adequate time to devote to this task. At this point we have an incomplete set of guidelines put together for specific classroom dialogues. However, we have come to realize that in practice dialogue formats varied so much from group to group that the dialogue template we had originally intended to produce may in the end prove less useful than we thought. Experience suggests that pre-dialogue, one-on-one consultations with faculty are needed as well. We have also discovered a need for orientation materials that can be given to service employees in order to prepare them for participation in a dialogue. As we move to institutionalize the project, we feel that the production of orientation materials should remain a component of the project.

2) Managing the program with a 20 hr/week coordinator. Although we succeeded in expanding the program, the Dialogues Project will need a full-time coordinator when and if it moves forward as a sustainable, campus-wide initiative.

3) Defining the nature and scope of the project and developing a conceptual framework for a journal article. Over the past year, this project has evolved to serve a broader constituency beyond its original setting in RAP classes. Within the RAP classes, the success of the project has depended on maintaining a strong academic focus. In other campus units, such as the Volunteer Resource Center or non-RAP residence halls, the project serves non-academic purposes. Although the ways in which different units have implemented dialogues has made producing a research article more time-consuming and complicated, we are still committed to writing and publishing a research article.

Project Evaluation

We are pleased and encouraged that Dialogues on Immigrant Integration has expanded from its base of 6 RAPs/campus units to include 3 new RAPs and 4 additional campus departments/units in its second year as an IECE Model Project. During AY 2010-11, the project engaged a total of 596 students in dialogue with immigrant service employees at CU (a 19% increase in student participants over its first year as a Model Project). Overall, the Dialogues Model Project has been enormously successful over the past two years. It has

· exceeded expectations in terms of the number of RAPs/campus units participating in Dialogue Days and in-class dialogues;· created an ongoing civic engagement course in the Sewall RAP that can also be taught in other RAPs;· fostered greater respect for individuals and a stronger sense of community in the residence halls;· garnered widespread support from RAP faculty and directors, Housing and Dining Services employees and administrators, Residence Life staff and administrators;· led to the establishment of a Steering Committee committed to institutionalizing the Dialogues Program at CU.

Reflections on Project Results

Overall, Phase 2 of the Model Project succeeded beyond our expectations. Our goal has been to provide a framework for ethical inquiry and civic engagement centered on immigration issues that invites participation from all members of the University community. The project has evolved beyond its original home in the RAPs to involve many additional and disparate constituencies within the University. It has sparked interest and support among students, RAP directors and instructors, Housing and Dining Services administrators, and service employees. Twenty-one members presently serve on the steering committee we formed in April to explore avenues for finding permanent funding for the Dialogues Project. Members of the committee range from service employees in Housing to the Vice-Chancellor of Administration, thus fully representing the University community. (For a full list of committee members, please see the attached roster). Based on such broad interest and support, the prospects for institutionalizing the Dialogues Project at CU look very promising.

Future Plans

After three meetings and much discussion, the Dialogues Steering Committee supports keeping the Dialogues Project anchored in the RAPs and residence halls while undertaking a measured expansion of Dialogues to additional interested departments/units. A sub-committee is currently writing a funding proposal for the consideration of the full committee. The funding proposal will include a request for a full-time coordinator to be compensated at the level of an instructor position. Once approved, members of the Steering Committee will present the proposal to selected unit, department, college, and University administrators for funding. If we secure permanent funding, the Dialogues program could be maintained in the RAPs and residence halls for the foreseeable future. Permanent funding also would enable the Dialogues Program to serve additional constituencies within the University.