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ERIC Number: EJ1081386
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-1559-0143
Writing toward Community Engagement in Honors
Camp, Heather C.
Honors in Practice, v11 p163-172 2015
On a late Sunday afternoon in 1934, a park superintendent entered the cage of two black bears that he tended at the park's zoo. His intent was to retrieve a purse dropped by a zoo visitor. The superintendent knew the bears well, having acquired them as cubs and raised them, and he didn't expect any trouble. But trouble was imminent. "ENTERED CAGE TO GET PURSE, ENRAGED MALE CHARGED HIM," the "Mankato Free Press" headline would read the next day. The story would go on to describe an unforeseen bear mauling, a series of futile rescue attempts, and an untimely death. Nearly five hundred people would turn out for the superintendent's service that week, congregating at the local Methodist church to mourn a loss felt by both his family and the larger community. This was the news story that Heather Camp's Honors English 101 course was handed as they launched into a community-oriented class research project. They had teamed up with the "Mankato Free Press" (circulation 22,000) to develop a story for their glossy magazine, sold at grocery stores in the area and distributed with the newspaper once a month. The editor of the magazine who had agreed to the university/community collaboration had suggested that the class cover the story, a historical piece commemorating the event's eightieth anniversary. The collaboration spanned the length of the semester and involved students in various facets of producing a feature article for a local magazine. Students oversaw the project, conducted primary and secondary research, wrote, edited, took photographs, and completed other supporting tasks. They interacted with the magazine editor in the classroom and by email. They also participated in two full-class critiques of the article-in-process. In this article Camp illustrates how their collective experience underscored the benefit of honors writing projects done in collaboration with community partners. Simultaneously, Camp points out, their collaboration makes clear that specific components are necessary in order for such projects to be a success: namely, student ownership and involvement, teacher orchestration, and community-member leadership.
National Collegiate Honors Council. 1100 Neihardt Residence Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 540 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588. Tel: 402-472-9150; Fax: 402-472-9152; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota