AMCULT 321 - Practicum in the Multicultural Community
Section: 001
Term: FA 2007
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
One of the following: PSYCH 111, 112, 114, or 115.
Other Course Info:
A total of six credits of PSYCH letter-graded experiential courses may be counted for the Psychology concentration. PSYCH 325 must be taken for at least three credits to count as an experiential lab in the Psychology concentration.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course is designed as a two-semester academic and service-learning experience that will introduce students to themes of poverty, oppression, and economic disadvantage and their impact on the health, well-being, and development of children, youth, families, and community. Special emphasis will be placed on examination of issues of homelessness and engagement with community-based organizations addressing homeless and at-risk families and youth in the Ann Arbor area. Through both academic and experiential involvement, students will develop an understanding of helping systems and ways in which community-based organizations function as part of a broader system of community care. Student service-learning will involve individual, team, and community-building projects linked to a related community-wide initiative in Washtenaw County.

In the Fall 2007 term, readings, lectures, and presentations will examine the intersecting dynamics of community, culture, and social and economic justice; quality of life issues confronting homeless and economically distressed populations; and the implications of poverty and homelessness for community health, mental health, child development, and academic success. Service learning in the Fall 2007 semester will: a) focus on team-based projects in a limited number of selected settings (rather than one-on-one volunteering), b) require commitment of an average of one-two hours/week outside of regularly scheduled class; and c) seek to involve other students/peers in group projects, as appropriate. Also during this first semester, students will be introduced to the functions of community-based organizations in responding to community need via: a) site visits to organizations that will be “hosting” volunteers in the Winter term; b) guest presentations from community/organizational leaders and consumers; c) multi-media presentations; and d) experiential simulations.

During the Winter, 2008 semester, the course will shift emphasis towards student experience in community settings. All students will be expected to participate for an average of 2-3 hours/week in one of several community-based organizations serving homeless or at-risk youth. In this term, students will also be actively engaged in reflection on their volunteering experience – on-site in their host organizations, in a weekly class seminar, and through individual “portfolio” creations. Academic content in this second semester will focus more expansively on the dynamics of community-based organizations, evaluation of program effectiveness, cultivation of community leadership, and exploration of issues in community assessment, development and change.

In both semesters, course content will also give emphasis to developing understanding of social risk and protective factors, effects of race, gender, and class bias, interaction of community and personal dynamics, and strategies for social advocacy and change. Through both academic inquiry and personal experience, students will be introduced to the dynamics of voluntarism, and the realities of funding, staffing, and leadership in community-based helping organizations.

This practicum is designed primarily for junior and senior-level students in Psychology and other social sciences. It presumes some degree of familiarity regarding basic concepts of child and family development, social and community organization, and social and community interventions. Instructor permission is required.

AMCULT 321 - Practicum in the Multicultural Community
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
W 10:00AM - 12:30PM
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