C. Community Engagement Project and Paper Directions
Each semester this project will involve new activities. Not all of them can be planned in advance because it is important that students engage in real world experiences. This project requires that students attend community engagement activities, complete a journal of experiences and then write a summary report.Specific dates of activities will be provided throughout the semester as the information becomes available. Some are included in your detailed course outline above, but as the semester progresses students are expected to share with others in the class as they learn about events to attend.
- To assist students to understand the differences between the various kinds of social work practice (macro, micro and mezzo).
- To assist students to relate theoretical knowledge of communities with actual macro practice experiences.
- To provide opportunities to see how theory, practice and research come together.
- To provide opportunities to see the critical nature of social work practice as it relates to the profession’s values, norms and ethics and especially the emphasis on diversity
- To find ways to provide service to the community to enhance the learning process, as
time is available to do so based on each student’s personal circumstances.
To complete the course requirements students need to attend various meetings and KEEP A JOURNAL of the experiences. The journal will include details about the meetings and or activities on campus and in the community that students attend. Since students all have various schedules notices of possible meetings/activities to attend will be provided to you however you will need to attend them on your own. Notices about community and campus meetings will be provided in class and by e-mail when available. All students should share with the other students when they hear about meetings. Please check your e-mail often because notices may not have a long lead time. Students who do not live in the Terre Haute area can locate and attend similar meetings in their own communities. Students are responsible to make sure that these events are attended and some proof of attendance provided with the Journal Report (directions are listed below). It is advisable to attend meetings early in the semester in order to assure that the requirements are met. However, it is the students’ responsibility to find and attend the sessions.
- Attend a minimum of two (2) community meetings and a minimum of two (2) campus meetings or events and at least one (1) Student Social Work Association meeting (NOTE: A few activities are included on your course schedule based on what was known at the time of the preparation of the course syllabus). (Total of 5 events)
- Keep a project journal (Part I) of your experiences including the arrangements completed to locate meetings, find the correct rooms, etc. and your initial impressions of the activities and a summary of your experiences.
- What to keep in Journal The following information is required for each community or campus meeting attended:
- Date, time & location (ex. 10/14/09, 6:00 pm, ISU campus, Dede II, HMSU)
- Activity (ex. Pizza and Politics)
- Name of the organization or convening organization(s) (American Democracy
Project on ISU campus, Department of Political Science, Women’s Studies
- Summary of the Experience - What happened, did you get involved with the
discussions (for campus activities) (ex. “This activity provided some interesting discussions and debate because ...... I was impressed by the clear and detailed points made by a few students as compared to those .... “) Please note that this is the most critical component of the assignment. Just stating that an activity was interesting or not does not provide an indication that you were actually there. Provide specific examples from the sessions.
- Logistics and atmosphere (I knew how to find this room. The pizza was great. I found that the level of energy and excitement about the upcoming election was ......)
- Composition of the audience or organization members. (For example, describe the people there. “I walked into the City Council meeting and found that I was the only female in the room except for one woman who was taking notes. The men stared at me and I felt uncomfortable, but then......”
4. Provide a summary report on the entire project. This project is designed to provide a linkage between theories and mezzo/macro practice experiences. As with working with clients, it is important to focus on strengths and not just the problems associated with attending events. You will find that community meetings may not be as organized as you expect them to be. If you attend governmental meetings you might also be surprised by another aspect. For example, one student attended a city council meeting and concluded that she was more knowledgeable about an issue being discussed than many of the people on the council. This showed her that seeking public office might be a viable option at some later time. However, the feedback in the report should relate to the learning objectives of this assignment and the relevance to your class work, not only logistical concerns. Some of you may find the need to get around Terre Haute or your home town to find new buildings difficult and even frustrating. For those of you who are fortunate to have “smart phones” this should not be an issue like it has been in the past.You may feel uncomfortable attending meetings when you do not know anyone. However, social workers need to attend meetings all the time. It is through group dialog and various attempts to resolve issues that consensus can occur and changes can then be made. However, your role in community events is primarily as an observer unless requested to participate. On campus, please feel free to join in the discussions.
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