Cultural Agility Collaboration

A Minnesota Campus Compact Initiative Supported by the Bush Foundation

How can higher education’s community engagement efforts prepare students and others for inclusive, collaborative leadership in our increasingly diverse state? How can campuses and communities cultivate both courage and humility, build mutual understanding and trust, develop shared goals and share power? Such questions are critical to Minnesota Campus Compact’s work to advance civic engagement that contributes to students thriving, racial disparities diminishing, higher education institutions fully realizing the civic missions they proclaim, and all residents building their capacity to lead in their communities. Recognizing that the people most affected by racism and cultural misunderstandings must shape solutions, Minnesota Campus Compact was excited to organize the Cultural Agility Collaboration in 2014-16 and has continued to build on the lessons and relationships developed through it.

With support from a Bush Foundation Leadership Network Grant and the C. Charles Jackson Foundation, a diverse cross-racial group of college/university students, community members, and campus staff and faculty came together as a learning and leadership cohort. By talking, listening, and collaborating across generational, positional, and racial lines, participants gained new connections, insights, and skills, clarify their analysis of related issues, and then (with support from the project leadership team and Compact staff) defined and implemented strategies for influencing change in higher education’s civic engagement efforts—including developing the video above.

Learning and Leadership Cohort 

This diverse, cross-racial cohort brought together students, community members, and campus staff and faculty for collaborative learning and leadership focused on developing inclusive, equitable campus-community partnerships, leadership development and civic engagement programming. Read about the cohort participants here. Learn more about the application process through which they were selected here. 

Project Leadership Team

The Minnesota Campus Compact staff was delighted to work with four dynamic people on the project leadership team. Learn more about the team here.

Want to Get Involved?

We very much welcome opportunities to connect with individuals, networks, and organizations interested in related work. To express interest, share related resources, or ask questions, please contact Sinda Nichols at snichols {at} compact(.)org or 612-436-2080.

Minnesota Campus Compact

Founded in 1994, Minnesota Campus Compact aims to integrate civic work and learning into the curriculum and operations of its diverse network of colleges and universities, so students graduate with the determination and capacity to contribute to the public good throughout their lives—and higher education institutions are fully engaged with their communities, working together to educate citizens, solve problems, and build a strong democracy. We encourage campus-community partnerships that reflect institutions’ and communities’ distinctive priorities, cultures, and strengths, while also supporting joint initiatives. Leadership development for an increasingly diverse and interconnected world is a common goal for our members, which currently include all University of Minnesota campuses, all state universities, and many private institutions and community/technical colleges.

While presidents/chancellors officially join Minnesota Campus Compact, we work with many different people. This project builds partly on our experience organizing student civic leadership development institutes and year-long communities of practice with campus and community leaders. We are eager to advance more relational, asset-based, and change-oriented leadership; to recognize and value diverse sources of knowledge;to invest in people who seek to understand themselves and others—and to continue learning and working for change even when the work is hard.

Bush Foundation Leadership Network Grants

The Bush Foundation’s investment in building the capacity of individuals through fellowships began in 1965. Since then, more than 2,200 Bush Fellows and Native Nation Rebuilders have reshaped every aspect of the region from government to education to art to social services to business. “Creating the Leadership Network Grant Program was a natural extension of our fellowship work,” said Jen Ford Reedy, the Foundation’s president. “We want leaders to be better equipped and better networked to lead change. By partnering with other organizations who do this, we ensure leaders have a more options to discover and develop the skills and support they need to become more effective leaders.” The Bush Foundation will award nearly $1.7 million to 12 organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography, through its Leadership Network Grant program. The full list of Leadership Network Grant recipients can be found HERE.