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Capstone Assignment: Community Engagement Template and Rubric

Purpose: This term-length Capstone project, Working with the Community, addresses American Honors themes of Collaboration, Leadership, Global Awareness, and Service Learning. Working in groups, students will explore a general theme found in their course (examples listed below), and then design a proposal for a project, activity, demonstration, or workshop that embodies or manifests their theme for a local community organization. The application must be realistic and fitting to the audience and organization. The groups will be inviting a member of their chosen organization to come hear their final presentations at the end of the term. Use the attached rubric to evaluate student performance.

 

Example Themes for an Art Appreciation course:

Place            Boundaries        Ecology           History            Loss and Desire
Humor          Power                Paradox          Spirituality       Change
Systems       Time                   Identity           Legacy            Consumption
Protest         Fantasy              Stories            Balance           Memory

 

Some examples to get you thinking:

  1. Ecology: Build a lesson plan for a park services representative to host an elementary school class at a local nature center. How could they demonstrate art in ecology and the reverse? What activities could the lead the kids in so they can create ecological art?
  2. Consumption: Work with a student group on campus that focuses on limiting food waste (Food not Bombs, Feeding America) to set up an art installation on campus that demonstrates food waste and the danger of excessive consumption. What would the installation look like? How could students walking by get involved or add to the piece?

Here are two professional examples of this type of proposal for reference:

 

Example Themes for an American History course:

American Diversity      American Identity       Culture Consumerism

Capitalism                  Globalization              Citizenship Civil Rights

Environmentalism       Diplomacy                  Suffrage

 

Some examples to get you thinking:

  1. Culture: Envision and plan a museum type storytelling installation for a local cultural organization in a room on campus. What is intrinsic to that culture? How have they shaped American history and how do they fit in today?
  2. Citizenship: Plan an event with a local voter registration organization that highlights the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship. How many questions from The Naturalization Test can most people answer? Who has the right to vote and who doesn’t? What is the history of voter registration are the voter issues that are still prevalent today?

 

Dates and Timeline (Note to Instructors: adjust for your individual class and include firm dates)

1st Week of Class: Groups will be assigned

2rd Week of Class: Groups will turn in a list of 3 themes they would like to use in order of preference.

3rd Week of Class: Instructor will inform groups of their assigned Themes, using preferences wherever possible and making sure each group is unique.

⅓ to ½ way through Class: The Project Prospectus Due

(+1 Week): The Project Prospectus returned with notes. Any major issues will need to be followed up with the group and instructor.

(+2 Weeks): Copy of Invitation Letter Due

Final Class Meeting: Digital Presentations, Written Proposal, Group-Work Evaluations and Thank You note due.

 

Deliverables

The Project Prospectus: This Project Prospectus is meant to help you get started on this practicum and make sure you have a well rounded idea that adequately addresses your theme. As a group, please answer the following questions in brief, well thought out statements. At the top, please include the names of all the group members and your assigned theme. While some details may need to change before the final is turned in, these elements should be solidified at this time.

  1. Proposed Title
  2. Community Organization (Include organization’s name, address, description, and mission statement, and the name and title of the individual most likely to carry out your plan, such as Events Organizer or President)
  3. Brief Project Description (What do you plan to do?)
  4. Project site/setting (Where and with whom will you work?)
  5. Audience (Who are you helping the organization reach?)
  6. Project Goal (What are you hoping the application will achieve?)
  7. What are your biggest concern(s) or question(s) about the practicum?

(Note on Grading for Instructors: the Project Prospectus is best left ungraded, and returned with your notes and comments, or included as a portion (5%) of the final project grade for completion.)

Invitation Letter: After making any necessary changes to the project prospectus based on instructor feedback, compose a letter to the organization inviting them to come see the final group presentations and receive a full copy of your proposal. Use the organization contact information, project description, and goal from your prospectus to write the letter in letter block form, no longer than 1 page. The contact information for one of the group members should be included for them to RSVP. This student will also be in charge of following up with the organization to encourage a member to attend, and informing the instructor of the guest’s name and title once a positive RSVP has been given. Your group should prepare one copy of the letter signed by all members with an envelope addressed and ready to mail, one copy for the instructor, and one copy attached as an appendix on your final paper.

(Note to instructors: When and how the students mail these letters is up to you, and depending on the quality of the prospectuses received, may be determined on a case by case basis. You may make notes on the prospectus that some groups will be good to mail their letters as soon as they have them written, or you may want to collect all the letters for a read through first and mail them yourself afterwards.)

Written Proposal: (Note to instructors: Alter qualifying statements to your preference.) The finished proposal should be 10-15 pages, double spaced, not including the Appendix, cover page, or references. On the day of the presentations, two (2) copies should be bound and ready for turn in; one to the instructor, and one to the organization’s representative. If a representative is unable to attend, the second copy will be mailed to the organization. A finished proposal will include the following:

    1. Introduction
    2. Analysis of the Theme (include representation through history, common imagery, main movements or individuals, time periods)
    3. Thorough Description of Application (include description of community organization, application activity, audience, site/setting, required resources and goal/objectives)
    4. Discussion (explain how the application fits in with the theme, why you chose the community organization that was chosen, how the application fits the goal/objective, and how the application serves the organization and the community at large)
    5. Conclusion
    6. Appendix (be sure to reference and explain appendix in the main report)
    • Invitation Letter

(Note to Instructors: Below are additional requirements that can take the project from hypothetical to realistic, based on your preferences. Recommended for larger groups.)

    • Resource Requirements & Assumptions List (Example: A permit will be required and for this proposal, we assume it can be obtained.)
    • Estimated Budget
    • Fundraising Ideas/Plan
    • Marketing Flyer
    • Event Program
    • Sketches/Mock Up/Concept drawings
    • Expansion Plan (how could the application be expanded to new sites, audiences, modalities in the next year)

Digital Presentation: Using a digital application, such as Prezi, Slides, Canva, or PowerPoint, create a dynamic presentation that goes over each of the sections in your proposal. Multimedia such as images, sounds, and maps, are encouraged as long as they help to illustrate your planned application to the audience. Each group member should have an equal speaking roll. You are expected to know your presentation and only use bulleted notecards for assistance. No reading off scripts! At some point during the presentation, the member of your group’s chosen organization should be introduced and thanked for attending. A copy of, or link to, the final presentation should be emailed to the instructor at: instructor@college.edu.

Group-Work Evaluation: After you have completed working in your practicum with the group, please take a few minutes to answer these questions. They should be turned in on your final day of class independently, and separate from your group-work. Please be specific and detailed in your examples, and answer in full sentences. (Note to Instructors: For extra honesty, you can require these be typed and anonymous if turning in during class, or use the ungraded, anonymous survey function of your LMS to collect answers and analyze the data. Alternatively, you can require names and check for completion. Do not grade.) 

  1. Overall, how effectively did your group work together on this assignment?
  2. Did all of the group members participate actively most of the time?
  3. Give a specific example or something you learned from the group that you probably wouldn’t have learned working alone.
  4. Give one specific example of something the other group members learned from you that they probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
  5. Suggest one change the group could have made to improve its performance.

Thank You Note:Prepare a simple thank you letter for the community organization member who will attend the final presentation. All group members should sign the letter and turn it into the instructor on the final day with an addressed envelope, but not sealed.

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Note for Faculty:Use the Rubric attached below to evaluate student performance. 

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