Capstone Experience--Community-Based Research

~

C & E Soc 500

~

SYLLABUS

~

The web address for this syllabus is:

http://comm-org.wisc.edu/syllabi/capstoneclassf16.htm

 

Professor: Randy Stoecker

Office:  Agricultural Hall 340

Office Hours:  by appointment

Phone:  608-890-0764

E-mail: rstoecker@wisc.edu

 

Mondays 4-7pm

Room 3425 Sterling

Fall 2016

Community-Based Learning Fellow: Theodora Varelis, varelis@wisc.edu

Community Contact: Dr. Karen Reece, UCAN, kreece@nehemiah.org

 

WELCOME!

 

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 by 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 and 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.

 

COURSE GOALS

 

My overall goal for this course is to support the efforts of UCAN—the Urban Community Arts Network—in Madison to educate the broader community about hip hop music.  To accomplish that, we need to master a set of learning goals.

         Do research: We will be using a form of research called community-based research (CBR--it’s called lots of other things too), which will involve learning a variety of other skills.  Reading, written reflections, and in-class training will support this learning goal.

         Think critically: There are a lot of ideas out there about hip hop. We will attempt to understand the perspectives on hip hop and where those perspectives come from.  Reading, written reflections, and in-class discussion will support this learning goal.

         Communicate skillfully:  Since our task involves supporting UCAN’s efforts to educate the broader community about hip hop we will need to learn how to communicate our research process and results effectively for that broader community. In-class training, evaluation from peers, and evaluation from UCAN will support this learning goal. 

         Experience and appreciate diversity: Hip hop not only expresses a form of global diversity but there is amazing diversity within hip hop itself.  Understanding that diversity is important to our effort.  Readings, listenings, in-class discussion, and interaction with UCAN members will support this learning goal. 

         Manage projects:  Our specific form of CBR can also be called project-based research because we are supporting a community education project.  We will need to co-design with UCAN, and then deliver, a research project that supports their community education project.  Doing that will require effective teamwork, group-centered leadership, problem-solving, and other project-management skills.  Readings, written reflections, and in-class training will support this learning goal. 

         Prepare for Graduate School and the Job Market: Our department is asking students to complete portfolios for our department to use in assessing learning objectives.  We will be spending some time in class on those portfolios.

 

DIVERSE LEARNING NEEDS

 

People have diverse learning styles and come from diverse backgrounds.  So different people find different parts of each course challenging or engaging.  Please inform me if you have learning needs that don’t fit the course structure/process so I can adjust the course to meet those needs. You may also be able to receive support through the McBurney Center, http://www.mcburney.wisc.edu/.   There are a variety of other university support systems such as UW mental health services, https://www.uhs.wisc.edu/mental-health/, The Multicultural Student Center, https://msc.wisc.edu/, the LGBT Campus Center, https://lgbt.wisc.edu/, and a variety  of student-led groups searchable at https://win.wisc.edu/.

 

MY PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION

 

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 both students and teachers are encouraged to learn and 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.  In the end, the best learning comes from connecting through our differences, especially if we practice respect for each other as people while we question and criticize each other’s ideas. 

 

PROFESSOR CONSULTATIONS

 

Please feel welcomed to 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 and our community project. 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.

 

COURSE ORGANIZATION

 

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 and planning our next steps. 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.

 

STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

You should know that you have specific rights that include accommodations for religious observances, physician-documented illnesses, and disabilities.  You also have the right to appeal grading and disciplinary procedures that normally begin with contacting the chair of the department, Gary Green, gpgreen@wisc.edu or 608-262-2710.  If you do not feel comfortable contacting the chair you can contact the CALS Dean’s office at http://www.cals.wisc.edu/academics/.  Of course, my goal is to structure and facilitate the course in such a way, that you feel comfortable contacting me about concerns you have.

 

You also have specific responsibilities that include 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 tests, 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 normally 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.

 

Another right/responsibility you have in this course is to collectively determine other rights/responsibilities and I will facilitate a process during our first class meeting for that purpose.

 

COURSE WORKLOAD

 

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 with the necessary preparation. The formal reading load reduces more and more the further we get into the semester.

 

It is also likely that we will reduce our in-class time to two hours after we get through the first several weeks.  We will then shift to a mid-week check-in system where you will check-in by Thursday of each week on-line to note your progress and challenges in the project work. 

 

CLASS PROCESS

 

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.

 

READINGS

 

Al readings are available electronically, though some will require that you be logged onto the UW network or the UW library, 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 tablet/laptop to class with an electronic version.

 

COURSE WEBSITE

 

This course is supported online, at Learn@UW. This is the site we will use to manage online discussions, upload project research information, 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.

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING

 

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

 

1.       "Reflective Strengths and Weaknesses" essay (10 points).  This essay will be due the beginning of the first 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. Please upload to the week one dropbox at learn@UW and verify your upload worked. -1 point for each day late.

2.       "Guided Reflections" (2 points per week = 30 points).  Each week after we meet you will have the opportunity 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. Submit your reflections to the Learn@UW discussion module and verify that your upload succeeded. Please take care to submit to the correct discussion folder. Reflections are due before the beginning of the following class each week.  -1 point for each day late.

3.       “Mid-Week Check-ins” (1 point per week=12 points). As we get fully into the project work, I will ask each of you to submit a mid-week check-in by Thursday.  These will likely be group posts, requiring your group to check-in with each other and then post the notes of your check-in.  You can do your group check-in in-person, synchronously on-line or asynchronously on-line. -1 point for each day late.

4.       Project Participation (50 points).  This will be the bulk of your grade.  At this point I can say that we will most likely be doing a study of police calls to music venues in Madison from 2008-present, comparing them by type of music.  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.  Here are the tasks so far:

·       Upload to Learn@UW discussion forum a list of all Madison music venues, with full addresses, to first class on September 12 (5 points). -1 point for each day late.

·       complete human subjects research protection training, https://my.gradsch.wisc.edu/citi/index.php  (5 points).  If you've already done this within the last three years, good for you—just upload your completion certificate to the appropriate dropbox at Learn@UW.  If not, complete it and upload your completion certificate by beginning of October 3.  -1 point for each day late. IF YOU DO NOT COMPLETE THIS REQUIREMENT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY IN-PERSON DATA COLLECTION OR ANALYSIS AND THUS WILL RECIEVE NO CREDIT FOR PROJECT PARTICIPATION.

·       To be determined project activities:  40 points

·       There is not an attendance requirement, but if you miss a class you will miss the opportunity to engage in project work, since groups will establish project assignments in class.  It will therefore be up to you to catch up and find out what you need to do in the project.

 

A professional skill for completing the work in this course:  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—it’s a simple points system, not a curve:

 

A = 93-102

A/B = 88-92

B = 83-87

B/C = 78-82

C = 70-77

D = 60-69

F = <60

 

COURSE CALENDAR

 

**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.

 

Week 1, September 12: Introduction to the Course--Community-Based Research

 

Tasks:

         Upload "Strengths and weaknesses" essay by beginning of class.

         Upload list of Madison music venues dating back to 2008.

         Begin Human Subjects Research training at https://my.gradsch.wisc.edu/citi/index.php and upload completion certificate to Learn@UW before class time on October 3.

Read:

 

Stoecker, Randy. 2013. Research Methods for Community Change. Chapters 1-3. Available on Learn@UW

 

Stoecker, Randy.  2012. "CBR and the Two Forms of Social Change." Journal of Rural Social Sciences. 27:83-98. http://www.ag.auburn.edu/auxiliary/srsa/pages/Articles/JRSS%202012%2027/2/JRSS%202012%2027%202%2083-98.pdf

 

Optional:

 

Randy Stoecker and Mary Beckman, 2009, Making Higher Education Civic Engagement Matter in the Community.  Campus Compact.  http://www.compact.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/engagementproof-1.pdf

 

Randy Stoecker and Elizabeth Tryon. 2009. The Unheard Voices:  Community Organizations and Service Learning. Temple University Press.  See chapter 1 at  http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/2023_reg.html

 

Ward, K., & Wolf-Wendel, L. Community-centered service learning. The American Behavioral Scientist, (2000).43(5), 767-780 http://abs.sagepub.com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/cgi/reprint/43/5/767

 

Pamela Rao et al.  2004.  Student Participation in Community-Based Participatory Research to Improve Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Health. Journal of Environmental Education.  http://www.fachc.org/pdf/Student%20Participation%20in%20Community%20Research%20to%20Improve%20MSFW%20Health.pdf

 

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)

 

****

 

Week 2, September 19: Introduction to UCAN and Hip Hop Music

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection covering September 12-18 on the question “What do you see as the potential risks and benefits of a CBR approach to research for this project?”

         Continue Human Subjects Research training at https://my.gradsch.wisc.edu/citi/index.php  and upload completion certificate to Learn@UW before class time on October 3.

         Work on overall project design.

 

Read:

 

 Rebecca Laurence.  2014.  40 years on from the party where hip hop was born.  BBC.   http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20130809-the-party-where-hip-hop-was-born   

 

History of Hip Hop Music.  2016.  English Club.  https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/music-hip-hop.htm

 

Hip-Hop on Trial, prominent Hip-Hop heads debate whether the genre enhances or hurts society. 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3-7Y0xG89Q (view first 46 minutes)

 

Urban Community Arts Network.  http://ucanmadison.blogspot.com/ - - read all sections

 

Fight witnesses condemn Madison police as Brink Lounge stops booking hip-hop - http://isthmus.com/music/fight-witnesses-condemn-madison-police-as-brink-lounge-stops-booking-hip-hop/

 

Hip-hop Tiptoe: Local music scene seeks answers to longstanding tensions (2008) - http://host.madison.com/entertainment/music/hip-hop-tiptoe-local-music-scene-seeks-answers-to-longstanding/article_598b2bfe-eb11-11de-bc4a-001cc4c002e0.html

 

Hip-hop heroes: DJs and emcees demand respect for Madison's scene (2014) - http://isthmus.com/music/hip-hop-heroes-djs-and-emcees-demand-respect-for-madisons-scene/

 

Hip-hop ban replaced with a plan (2016) - http://isthmus.com/music/frequency-booking-hip-hop-ban-concert/

 

Optional:

 

The Hip-Hop Architect (2016) - http://isthmus.com/arts/the-hip-hop-architect-michael-ford/

 

Panel discussion on Hip-Hop and literature: https://www.c-span.org/video/?407484-1/panel-discussion-hiphop-literature

 

Cal U Hiphop Conference 2010 Keynote Panel Presentation (Part 2) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk3a_-A5tEQ

 

Cal U Hiphop Conference 2010 Keynote Panel Presentation (Part 2) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va8c2j4gtxg

 

Hip Hop Futures: A Lecture and Discussion - http://www.cornell.edu/video/hip-hop-futures

 

Commentary about various aspects of Hip-Hop from artists and community activists: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/features/examining-hip-hop-culture/

 

Style Wars (1983) Documentary http://www.stylewars.com/

 

The Art of Getting Over: Graffiti at the Millennium (1999) Book Author: Stephen Powers https://www.amazon.com/Art-Getting-Over-Stephen-Powers/dp/0312206305

 

Marley Marl On The Bridge Wars, LL Cool J And Discovering Sampling (2013) http://www.npr.org/sections/microphonecheck/2013/09/11/221440934/marley-marl-on-the-bridge-wars-ll-cool-j-and-discovering-sampling

 

Kurtis Blow on The Birth of Hip-Hop, Evolution from the DJ to the MC (2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqVUyNDTP7w

 

Commentary on Hip-Hop becoming part of pop culture: http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/how-hip-hop-has-permeated-pop-culture-news.9854.html

 

Origin of Hip-Hop: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20130809-the-party-where-hip-hop-was-born

 

Blog- everything from Hip-Hop History to current news that is relevant to the Hip-Hop community: http://www.daveyd.com

 

Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity by Marc Lamont Hill - https://www.amazon.com/Beats-Rhymes-Classroom-Life-Pedagogy/dp/0807749605

 

http://www.daveyd.com/raptitle.html

 

Week 3, September 26: Professional skills

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection covering September 19-25 on the question “Based on your life experience and the course materials, what challenges do you think we face in portraying hip hop accurately in this project?”

         Continue Human Subjects Research training at https://my.gradsch.wisc.edu/citi/index.php  and upload completion certificate to Learn@UW before class time on October 3.

         Work on overall project design, bringing in professional skills

         Midweek check-in due September 29.

 

Read:

 

Group-Centered Leadership (read at least one of below)

 

Chris Crass. 2008.  Organizing Lessons from Civil Rights Leader Ella Baker http://www.anarkismo.net/article/7645  

 

Colin Ward.  1966.  Anarchism as a Theory of Organization. http://www.panarchy.org/ward/organization.1966.html  

 

Mary Wandia.  2011. Challenging Structural Inequalities: The Vision of Feminist Transformative Leadership. BUWA! – A Journal on African Women’s Experiences http://www.osisa.org/sites/default/files/sup_files/Challenging%20Structural%20Inequalities-%20the%20vision%20of%20feminist%20transformative%20leadership%20-%20Mary%20Wandia.pdf 

 

Facilitation (read at least one of below)

 

Community Tool Box.  2014.  Developing Facilitation Skills.  http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/leadership/group-facilitation/facilitation-skills/main

 

The Role of the Facilitator.  n.d. http://www.virginia.edu/processsimplification/resources/Facilitator.pdf

 

 

Teamwork (read at least one of below)

 

Olivier Serrat.  2009. Working in Teams.  http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/intl/184/

 

Page, Diana, and Donelan, Joseph G. 2003. Team-Building Tools for Students. Journal of Education for Business. Vol. 78 Issue 3, p125. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=4&sid=09b41523-7970-4c18-a102-a0244ec11ec2%40sessionmgr4007&hid=4101&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHVpZCZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#AN=9944602&db=aph

 

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. http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=5&sid=bfe861ec-9586-4602-b856-30523a6fac19%40sessionmgr111&hid=119&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHVpZCZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=23328224  

 

Project planning and tracking (read at least one of below)

 

Mochal, Tom. 2009. 10 best practices for successful project management. TechRepublic. July 23. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-best-practices-for-successful-project-management/

 

Duffy. Jill. 2013. Get Organized: Tips and Tools for Managing a Project. PC Magazine. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2414461,00.asp  

 

Week 4, October 3: Research Methods

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection covering September 26-October 2 on the question “What can you imagine are the challenges to successfully using group-centered leadership, teamwork, project management, and facilitation skills in this project?”

         Complete Human Subjects Research training at https://my.gradsch.wisc.edu/citi/index.php  and upload completion certificate to Learn@UW before class time.

         Work on project design, bringing in research methods

         Midweek check-in due Oct. 6.

 

Read:

 

Optional:

 

Week 5, October 10:      TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection covering October 3-9 on the question “What might be the challenges you could face in trying to analyze the data for this project and what are ways of dealing with those challenges?”

         Continue project work--Learn how to use Excel

         Midweek check-in due Oct. 13.

 

Read:

 

Week 6, October 17: TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project and your own learning in the class during this past week.

         By this time we will hopefully have the data we need and we can get to work on the actual analysis.

         Midweek check-in due Oct. 20.

 

Read:

 

 

Week 7, October 24:  TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project during this past week.

         Continue project work

         Midweek check-in due Oct. 27.

 

Read:

 

Week 8, October 31:      TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project during this past week.

         Continue project work

         Midweek check-in due Nov. 3.

 

Read:

 

Week 9, November 7:    TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project during this past week.

         Continue project work

         Midweek check-in due Nov. 10.

 

Read:

 

Week 10, November 14:              TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project during this past week.

         Continue project work

         Midweek check-in due Nov. 17.

 

Read:

 

Week 11, November 21:              TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project during this past week.

         Continue project work

         Midweek check-in due Nov. 24.

 

Read:

 

Week 12, November 28:              TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project during this past week.

         Continue project work

         Midweek check-in due Dec. 1.

 

Read:

 

Week 13, December 5:  TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project during this past week.

         Continue project work

         Midweek check-in due Dec. 8.

 

Read:

 

 

Week 14, December 12:              TBA

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project during this past week.

         Continue project work

         Midweek check-in due Dec. 15.

 

Read:

 

 

             

Designated Finals Period:           **

 

Tasks:

         Upload to Learn@UW guided reflection on successes, challenges, and questions you have about the project during this past week.

         Complete project work

 

 

                            

Strengths and Weaknesses Essay by Randy Stoecker

 

Randy Stoecker

 

I have been involved with community change projects for over three 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, possible ways that they can answer their knowledge questions, and how to use the knowledge they get.

 

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 people 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 moving 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 stressed, 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.