Capstone Experience--Community-B  Capstone Experience--Community-B  Capstone Experience--Community-B  Capstone Experience--Community-B  Capstone Experience--Community-B

Capstone Experience--Community-Based Research
C & E Soc 500

The web address for this syllabus is :

Professor: Randy Stoecker
Office:  Agricultural Hall 340
Office Hours:  by appointment
Phone:  608-890-0764
Fax: 608-263 - 4999

Community-Based Learning Fellow: Nadia Carlson

Fall 2014
Wednesdays 3:30-6:30pm
Room 106 Social Work


The idea of a capstone course is to provide you with a culminating, integrative learning experience.  A good capstone course should help connect the theoretical, methodological, practical, and substantive parts of your experience as a major.  It should also be a liminal, transitional experience as you move from being an undergraduate student into either the professional world or the graduate student world.   I attempt to do that be organizing the course around a real world project that provides you with the opportunity to both pull together things you should have learned in the major and professional skills like problem-solving, project planning and management, and the integration of research an action.

Facilitating a course that is designed to produce outcomes for both the community and the students is one of the most exciting things I do. It can be a bit unnerving at times, since the success of the entire project requires fitting so many pieces together in a tight timeline. But I have done it enough to know that it can work, and can have real impacts. So if you like learning by doing, are comfortable with  unpredictability, and like to work in collaborative contexts, this course is for you.


I have two goals for this course:

1.  to support the construction of "institutional memory" of Madison's Neighborhood House in ways that will enhance its future effectveness.

2.  to learn how to conduct community-based research by doing a CBR project start-to-finish, and to learn specific research methods and ways of working with community groups.


Please inform me if you have special learning needs so I can adjust the course to meet those needs.


When teachers realize they still have things to learn and students realize they have things to teach, and when everyone is in an atmosphere where teachers are encouraged to learn and students are encouraged to teach, everyone benefits.

My job is to create and maintain a learning atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable taking intellectual and interpersonal risks, and to help you do your part in maintaining that atmosphere.  I welcome critiques of ideas, especially my own.  But please practice respect for each other as people while you question and criticize each others' ideas. 


Please consult with me whenever you have a question about course assignments, lectures, discussions, readings, or project activities. I will gladly discuss questions you have about the course material. Please also fee welcomed to consult with me whenever you find yourself interested in the issues raised in the course and you want to discuss further or get more information.


There may be times in this class when the phrase "course organization" will sound like an oxymoron. Project courses like this are somewhat like a line of dominoes--knock one down and the rest behind them also fall over. Thankfully, there aren't that many dominoes, and they are easy to set up again. The timeline of this project is not dependent on just you and me, but on the university bureaucracy and the community organization we will be working with. For the most part, then, our class meetings will focus on troubleshooting where we are in the process. However, we will also be engaged in a variety of in-class training exercises. You will learn how to do research from start to finish in this class, and to connect it to real community work.


Academic integrity is normally defined as things like avoiding plagiarism (, not cheating on tests, and sometimes not collaborating.  Those issues will be complicated for us, since we may be using sources who wish to remain unidentified, we will not have texts, and we will be collaborating both with each other and with community members.  We will also be adding an academic integrity principle that isn't nomrally discussed in courses.  Because we are doing work that is responding to a request by a community organization, a crucial principle of academic integrity is for us to do our very best work on a very strict timeline.  This course must be a priority in your life, because other people will be counting on what you produce.  If you can't make this course a top priority, you shouldn't take it.  I also know that some of you are rapidly approaching graduation, with all its attendant anxieties and distractions of applying for jobs and grad schools.  If you are experiencing those or other distractions, please talk with me.  I may be able to help or at least connect you with someone who can.


In general, the workload for this class is average. The challenge is that it can be quite uneven so you need to manage your time effectively.

You will see that the first few weeks are heavy with reading and activity. I have, for the most part, "front-loaded" the preparatory work of the course so we can move into the project as quickly as possible. The formal reading load reduces more and more the further we get into the semester.

It is also possible that we will not meet at some points in the semester. During part of the course you may be spending time scheduling appoints, collecting data, and drafting a report. It will not be crucial for us to meet as a class during those times and I want to give you as much time as possible for doing the project work.


This class will be a group effort. My job is to be a project manager, trainer, and guide. Your job is to tell me what you need to learn to carry out the tasks of the project, what you need to have clarified to keep the project on track, and what skills you can bring to help troubleshoot when things go wrong.


Most readings are available on the Internet, though many require that you be logged onto the UW network, and some may be available through the online library reserve system. I take every effort to post links that will work from on and off campus.  When you are off campus, you will likely need to login to access some of the readings. 

There will be both required and recommended readings.  

Please print out the readings or bring your pda/laptop to class with an electronic version.


This course is supported online, at Learn@UW  This is the site we will use to manage online discussions, upload interviews and drafts, etc.  It will be a basic workspace.  It may take a little getting used to. Please let me know if you are unfamiliar with it and I will be happy to give you a tour.


Because this project is being designed jointly with you and a community organization, it is impossible to say for sure right now what we will be doing. There is a tentative ouline for the projectwith Neighborhood House posted on Learn@UW. The course calendar below will show the tasks that need to be accomplished as they become clear .

  1. "Weekly Questions" (1 point per week=13 or more points).  Each week you will need to submit at least two questions to guide our work for that class period. On weeks that we have readings your questions should focus at least partly on the readings.  On all weeks you can also include questions about what we are doing in the project itself. The purpose is to encourage you to read critically and to help me learn what is and is not making sense to you. This should be easy and you don't have to limit yourself to two questions.  If you are not curious enough to ask at least two questions every week then you're in the wrong place. Submit to Learn@UW dropbox (though we may switch to the forum if you want). Due before beginning of class each week (you can submit them even if you will be absent).  No credit for late questions.  You are responsible for making sure that you have successfully uploaded questions to Learn@UW, so verify that you succeeded. There are extra opportunities to ask questions if you need them.
  2. "Reflective Strengths and Weaknesses" essay (10 points).  This essay will be due the beginning of the second class meeting.  It should be about 500 words and should be your reflection on your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to the project (or at least what you know of it).  I won't grade you at all on your strengths and weaknesses--only on the extent to which you've made clear that you've reflected carefully on what they are.  You can see my example at the end of this syllabus.
  3. "Weekly Reflections" (2 points per week = 26 or more points).  Each week after we meet you will need to submit two paragraphs (roughly 250 words) reflecting on what happened in class and/or what is happening in the project and what you are learning or feeling confused about.  The purpose is to help you become conscious of what you are learning and to help me learn what I need to help clarify.  I will not grade you on whether I think you should have learned something but on the depth of your reflection and your use of your experiences and course readings in your reflections. Note that if you are not in class you will not be able to do this assignment. Submit to Learn@UW dropbox and verify that your upload succeeded. Due before the beginning of the following class each week.  -1 point for each day late. There are extra opportunities to do reflections if you need them.
  4. Project Participation (51 points).  This will be the bulk of your grade.  At this point I can say that we will be doing a social history for Neighborhood House, one of Madison's oldest community organizations, as they approach their 100th anniversary in 2016.  As we meet with community members we will develop a more specific project plan and we will then collaboratively divide up the labor and assign points to it.  We will also collectively hold each other accountable for completing the necessary tasks on time and at a level of quality acceptable to our community partner. 

    A professional skill for completing assignments:  If your strategy for succeeding in school has been about doing things at the last minute, you have learned a bad habit. You will find me relatively unsympathetic for requests for extensions if you use such a strategy.  Especially for the reflections, you will do better work if you do them shortly after class rather than waiting a whole week.  Additionally, completing assignments early helps avoid the problems created by mini-disasters

    Final grades calculation:

    A = 90-100

    B = 80-89

    C = 70-79

    D = 60-69

    F = <60


    **Remember to print out the readings or bring your tablet/laptop to class with an electronic version as we may be discussing them.

    **I will add readings as the semester progresses.  You can always find the most up-to-date list on the web version of the syllabus.

We will not meet, but you should turn in your final reflection essay at this time.

September 3:

Introduction to the Course--Community-Based Research and Service Learning


Stoecker, Randy. 2014.   “What if?” The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 6:166,1-166,16.

Stoecker, Randy.  2012. "CBR and the Two Forms of Social Change." Journal of Rural Social Sciences. 27:83-98.


Randy Stoecker and Mary Beckman, 2009, Making Higher Education Civic Engagement Matter in the Community.  Campus Compact.

Randy Stoecker and Elizabeth Tryon. 2009. The Unheard Voices:  Community Organizations and Service Learning. Temple University Press.  See chapter 1 at

Ward, K., & Wolf-Wendel, L. Community-centered service learning. The American Behavioral Scientist, (2000).43(5), 767-780

Pamela Rao et al.  2004.  Student Participation in Community-Based Participatory Research to Improve Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Health. Journal of Environmental Education.

Amy Driscoll, Barbara Holland, Sherril Gelmon, and Seanna Kerrigan. An Assessment Model for Service-Learning: Comprehensive Case Studies of Impact on Faculty, Students, Community, and Institution. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning vol. 3 1996.

Andrea Vernon And Kelly Ward. Campus and Community Partnerships: Assessing Impacts & Strengthening Connections.  Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning Vol 6 1999

Joseph R. Ferrari and Laurie Worrall. Assessments by Community Agencies: How “the Other Side” Sees Service-Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning Vol 7 2000.

Ethel Jorg. Outcomes for Community Partners In An Unmediated Service-Learning Program.  Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 2003 V. 10 #1

Jo Anna Tauscher Birdsall, n.d. Community Voice: Community Partners Reflect on Service Learning.

Carol H. Tice. Forging University-Community Collaboration: The Agency Perspective on National Service. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning vol. 1, 1994

Nadinne I. Cruz and Dwight E. Giles, Jr.  Where’s the Community in Service-Learning Research?  Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 2000 (special issue)

Nora Bacon. Differences In Faculty And Community Partners’ Theories Of Learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning Vol. 9 #1 2002

Brenda K. Bushouse. Community Nonprofit Organizations and Service-Learning: Resource Constraints to Building Partnerships with Universities. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 2005 v. 12 #1

Jones, S.R. Principles and profiles of exemplary partnerships with community agencies. In B. Jacoby & Associates (Eds.), Building partnerships for service learning (pp. 151-173). (2003).San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass


September 10:

Introduction to Neighborhood House and Settlement Houses

Note:  Class will meet at Neighborhood House, 29 S Mills St, Madison, WI 53715.z.


Till, Jo. 2013. Icons of Toynbee Hall: Samuel Barnett.

 Wald, Lillian D. 1915.  The House on Henry Street.  New York: H. Holt  read Ch. 1.

 Brieland, Donald.  1990. The Hull-House Tradition and the Contemporary Social Worker: Was Jane Addams Really a Social Worker? Social Work Vol. 35 Issue 2, p134.,uid&db=aph&AN=6656460&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Cohen, Rick.  2014. Death of the Hull House: A Nonprofit Coroner’s Inquest.  The Nonprofit Quarterly, August 15.

Neighborhood House, (explore entire website)


Daynes, Gary; Longo, Nicholas V. 2004. Jane Addams and the Origins of Service-Learning Practice in the United States. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 11(1) 5-13.

Begum, Shahana Subhan. 2011. Toynbee Hall’s Olympic Heritage. .

Deegan, Mary Jo.  1990. Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918.  Transaction Publishers.

Gell, Phillip Lyttleton. 1888. The Work of Toynbee Hall. Pp. 57-64 in Herbert B. Adams (ed.) Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Volume VII: Social Science, Municipal and Federal Government. Baltimore: John Murphy and Co. Printers.

Lasch-Quinn, Elizabeth. 1993. Black Neighbors: Race and the Limits of Reform in the American Settlement House Movement, 1890-1945. UNC Press.

Mieras, Emily. 2008. College Students, Social Responsibility, and Settlement House Work. Paper for the American Studies Association Annual Meeting. Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 2008.

Montague, F. C. 1888. Arnold Toynbee. Pp. 1-70 in Herbert B. Adams (ed.) Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Volume VII: Social Science, Municipal and Federal Government. Baltimore: John Murphy and Co. Printers.

Stevens, Charles. 2003. Unrecognized Roots of Service-Learning in African American Social Thought and Action, 1890-1930. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 9(2)25-34.

Sklar, Kathryn Kish. 1985. Hull House in the 1890s: A Community of Women Reformers. Signs. Vol. 10, No. 4, 658-677


  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • Turn in "strengths and weaknesses" essay
  • finalize work plan
  • Continue Human Subjects Research training at and send completion certificate to Randy

September 17:
Professional skills


Community Ownership (read at least one)

Spotting Community Ownership.

Lachapelle, Paul. 2008. A Sense of Ownership in Community Development. Community Development, 39, 52-59.

Group-Centered Leadership (read at least one)

Chris Crass. 2008.  Organizing Lessons from Civil Rights Leader Ella Baker

Colin Ward.  1966.  Anarchism as a Theory of Organization.

Mary Wandia.  2011. Challenging Structural Inequalities: The Vision of Feminist Transformative Leadership. BUWA! – A Journal on African Women’s Experiences

(read at least one)

Commnity Tool Box.  2014.  Developing Facilitation Skills.

The Role of the Facilitator.  n.d.

(read at least one)

Olivier Serrat.  2009. Working in Teams.

Page, Diana, and Donelan, Joseph G. 2003. Team-Building Tools for Students. Journal of Education for Business. Vol. 78 Issue 3, p125.

Hansen, Randall. 2006. Benefits and Problems With Student Teams: Suggestions for Improving Team Projects. Journal of Education for Business. Vol. 82 Issue 1, p11-19.

Project planning and tracking (read at least one)

Mochal, Tom. 2009. 10 best practices for successful project management. TechRepublic. July 23.

Duffy. Jill. 2013. Get Organized: Tips and Tools for Managing a Project. PC Magazine.,2817,2414461,00.asp


September 24:


Barbara Franco, May 1995 Doing History in Public: Balancing Historical Fact with Public Meaning.

Archival Research: 

Glenn A Bowen. 2009. Document analysis as a qualitative research method  - Qualitative research journa.

Using document analysis in analyzing and evaluating performance Jana L. Pershing  Performance Improvement Volume 41, Issue 1, pages 36–42, January 2002

Archival Science 2001, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 3-24 Archival science and postmodernism: new formulations for old concepts Terry Cook

Oral Histories

Interview as a Method for Qualitative Research.

Carolyn Boyce and Palena Neale.  2006. Conducting in-depth interviews.

Social Memory 

Social Memory Studies: From "Collective Memory" to the Historical Sociology of Mnemonic Practices Jeffrey K. Olick and Joyce Robbins Annual Review of Sociology Vol. 24, (1998), pp. 105-140

Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method Alon Confino The American Historical Review Vol. 102, No. 5 (Dec., 1997), pp. 1386-1403



  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • continuing refining research plan

Oct. 1:


Read: Read the remainder of the articles from September 24


  • Archives group determines workload
  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • Finalize research proposal to community

October 8:

  No Class


  • Archives group collects data
  • Optional: turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week

October 15:
We are meeting at Neighborhood House for the full class time on this day.


  Files in Box uploaded by archives group.


  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Optional: turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • Finalize interview questions/method and product with Neighborhood House.
  • continue archives work

October 22:

All of our class meetings from here on out will be working sessions.


Files in Box uploaded by archives group.


  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • Continue archives research
  • begin interviewing

October 29:

No class


  • Turn in optional "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • continue archives research
  • continue interviewing

November 5:
Working session


archive files and interviews



  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in optional "reflection" from previous week
  • complete archives research
  • complete interviewing
  • begin working on final product

November 12:

Working session


archive files and interviews, drafts of history sections



  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • Continue work on final product

November 19:

Working session--we will be meeting at Neighborhood House


drafts of history sections



  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • Report to Neighborhood House on progress on final product

November 26:
Working session--either meet your era group outside of class sometime this week or during class time.


drafts of history sections


  • Continue work on final product
  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week

December 3:
Working session


drafts of history sections 


  • complete draft of final product by December 6 at 9am
  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • TBD

December 10:
Working session--Meet at Neighborhood House


drafts of history sections


  • Present product draft to Neighborhood House
  • Do final edits on report drafts
  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week

Designated Finals Period:

 5:05-7:05pm Dec. 17.


  • Turn in final product drafts
  • Turn in "reflection" from previous week
  • Turn in "questions" for this week
  • Turn in final reflection


Strengths and Weaknesses Essay

Randy Stoecker

I have been involved with community change projects for over two and a half decades. I have also studied the process of making community change for the same amount of time. And probably the first thing I have learned about myself in the process is that I really like combining the making of change with the studying of change. In fact, I think combining them makes each stronger. So my main strength is my ability to transform the research process to serve the community change process.I can easily see what knowledge questions a community is facing and possibly ways that they can answer their knowledge questions.

Of course, for me, all strengths have a kind of yin-yang weakness associated with them, and I was reminded of this recently, when I helped with a community event that included an issue development process. I had forgotten that what seems obvious to me is not obvious to others and may not even be part of how they think in the world. So I didn’t do as well in working with a community leader to communicate the issue development process and we ended up causing some confusion in the group as a consequence.It wasn’t a fatal lapse, but was still humbling.

One of the other things I have become quite good at in just the past half-decade is getting a course-based community project from start to finish in a single semester. Without fail, by the end of the semester we have produced for the community what we said we would produce. Part of the reason for that is the students, community members, and myself all become involved in planning the project and shaping it as we go.

The complementary weakness of my success at finishing projects is that I am often a lot more comfortable with the early uncertainty of such a project than nearly all of the other people involved. In fact, I have the most fun when things are uncertain and we start designing a project. It is in carrying out the project where I feel the most stressful, because I can see when we risk getting behind and that causes me to push harder than others might like. In addition, I am not the best at detail work. I really like the big picture work, and really have to push myself to remember that accomplishing the big picture requires thinking ahead to the details—making sure that I know when community meetings need to be scheduled, and scheduling them two weeks ahead, making sure there are drafts ready for review a week before the meeting, and so on.

My final strength/weakness is that I am comfortable with the critical reflection process. I am hardly ever satisfied with my own work, and actually like the process of reflecting on how to do better. Sometimes I carry that over to how I reflect on the work of others without as much sensitivity as I’d like or I hold back because I worry about being insensitive. So I am still feeling clumsy about that.