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The Alan E. Guskin Center for Community and Business Engagement at University of Wisconsin-Parkside has been providing faculty development to help increase both the quality and equity of experiential learning at UW-Parkside. This summer, the university held its fifth Community-based learning (CBL) Fellows Workshop, which, in response to the current situation, had a greater emphasis on facilitating remote experiences and reflection done in an online setting. The CBL workshop was held virtually for the first time this year, along with the first-ever faculty workshop for online internships
The goal of the summer CBL workshop is to help faculty conceptualize, design, and develop a community-based learning course in partnership with a community co-educator. By the end of the summer, participants will have completed the development of their course and submitted it for approval to be an officially designated CBL course. The workshop portion seeks to initiate a multidisciplinary community of CBL practitioners through interactive teaching and learning approaches: virtual discussions, guest speakers, readings, and reflective writing.
This year’s workshop featured a variety of activities and guest speakers, including:
- UW-Parkside’s own library staff, led by Instructional Design Librarian Shauna Edson, who created a virtual scavenger hunt that included info on CBL best practices
- Kimberly Jensen Bohat, Service Learning Program Director for the Center for Teaching and Learning at Marquette University, who had facilitated a session on reflection
- Roseann Mason, Antiracist Educator and Damian Evans, Assistant Dean of Students, Multicultural Affairs, who facilitated a discussion around diversity, inclusion and equity
- Previous faculty workshop participants (Dr. Jackie Arcy and Dr. Donna Hewitt) who shared their experiences and perspectives on implementing their CBL courses
- Community partners from Prevent Blindness Wisconsin, Shalom Center, Kenosha Public Library, and Racine Health Care Network who shared their advice and lessons learned from their perspective as community co-educators
Sarah Piña, Assistant Professor of Latina/o Literature at UW-Parkside, was a CBL fellow this summer. Professor Piña is planning to offer a course titled “Spanish for the Professions” in the spring 2021 semester. The summer workshop has been a major help in designing the course. “Spanish for the Professions” will equip students with the Spanish-language skills needed in professional fields. There will be an emphasis on specialized vocabulary, role play, and an understanding of Hispanic culture. Topics will include Spanish for law enforcement, social services, education, medicine, business, and communications, with community-based learning as a central component.
There are currently more than 41 million native Spanish-speakers in the United States. The US Census Office estimates that by 2050, the United States will be the biggest Spanish-speaking nation in the world. Because of that, Professor Piña feels that this course will be a valuable asset for students, to better prepare them for the job-market. And she is especially grateful to have participated in this summer workshop, to prepare her for launching this course.
“As a CBL fellow, I have acquired new skill sets and connections that will no doubt enrich the course on every level that I have envisioned for Parkside since I started teaching here three years ago,” remarked Piña.
As stated above, the university also launched the first faculty workshop for online internships. The Faculty Internship Workshop is designed to help faculty and teaching academic staff who are currently supervising or are interested in supervising academic interns. This internship workshop featured a panel of employers and interns, who shared their experiences with attendees. The panel included:
- The Chicago Shakespeare Project
- Gordon J. Maier & Company LLP
- Habitat for Humanity
- Good Karma Brands representing ESPN and WTMJ
Dr. Marianna Savoca, Assistant Director for Career Development and Experiential Learning at Stony Brook University and Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) Faculty Fellowship recipient, appeared as a guest presenter. Her research specialties include experiential learning, career development, and first generation college success. She also authored the book A Good Job: Campus Employment as a High Impact Practice. Dr. Savoca is the incoming President of the National Society for Experiential Education.
The Advising and Career Center at UW-Parkside was also involved, helping to identify UW-Parkside resources and contacts to support internship students. The Advising and Career Center also shared information about the upcoming Virtual Internship and Career Fair coming up this fall, as well as information about the services they offer to students, which includes resume writing, interview tips, and how to use the platform Handshake.
“Both [workshops] went well with ten faculty in each training,” said Community and Business Engagement Director Debra Karp. “The faculty members who attended are now well-prepared to guide students through these experiences in a way that they will truly be high impact learning. And their students will transfer these experiences to help them find and excel in future employment and community leadership roles.”
Helen Rosenberg, a professor in the Department of Sociology at UW-Parkside, feels empowered after having completed the summer workshop. Not only that, she feels that she has a more thorough understanding of the tools available and how to handle supervising an internship. This was thanks to the support she gained from the workshop, and because she had the chance to communicate with other faculty who have supervised interns previously.
“I have a much better idea of how to support my students in their internships,” said Rosenberg. “I learned that I should focus on learning outcomes that are agreed upon by members of my department, rather than create new ones for each internship experience. I’m looking forward to communicating more often with my students on their work, on providing more feedback to students and having more contact with my community partners.”
Rizvana Zameeruddin, a professor in the College of Business, Economics, and Computing at UW-Parkside, also found the internship workshop helpful and feels better prepared in structuring an internship. She had especially liked the e-portfolio concept, and plans to create a webpage for her internship, to act as a central hub for students.
“I did not realize that there were so many steps involved with even setting up an internship and how much continuous contact with the employer was relevant. The modules and course discussion helped me overcome any issues,” said Zameeruddin. “The instructors were exceptional, thoroughly prepared, and facilitated insightful discussions.”
Brian Gill, assistant professor of performance in the Theatre Arts Department at UW-Parkside, was also pleased to receive guidance for future internships. The Theatre Department has internships to Acting, Assistant Directing, Lighting, Carpentry, Production, and Marketing, so Gill admits that it is exceptionally difficult to apply a “one size fits all” mentality.
“It helped me with seeing a way to provide more specificity with the requirements of the varied internships, while maintaining the necessary flexibility to deal with each individual internship,” said Gill.
More information about Community-Based Learning and internships at UW-Parkside can be found on this page.