The reflection papers are an opportunity to reflect on your civic engagement and relate it to class topics, the readings and larger societal issues. While you may choose to write on any topic of your choice, below are some suggested themes and questions to focus your paper. Each paper should be 2-3 pages, double-spaced, although there is no page requirement (Feel free to write more if you so desire). Each paper should contain a works cited page and reference literature from class and/or outside resources. You may write in first-person for your paper, but it is not required.
The first paper you may choose to write about your experience in general and/or one of the themes listed below. Be sure to incorporate some thoughts and references to the class readings.
The second paper should address some issue that relates to your service organization and how your organization contributes to the community or larger society on that particular issue. You will be required to do a little outside research as well as do some first-hand research by visiting the website, interviewing workers at your organization, etc.
For example, if your service site is MANNA, you may want to research hunger at the city level, state level, national and/or global level. You also may want to delve into the history of MANNA and the various ways it has combated hunger. Finally, you should consider what needs to be done by your organization, policymakers, and society at large to effectively work to improve the specific problem.
The due dates are as follows:
Due Date: Monday, May 13th online or in class before this date
Wednesday, June 5th online or in class before this date
I will set up an assignment tab and you can hand them in online, or you may hand a hard copy to me in class. You may also drop a hard copy off in my box located on the 3rd Floor of Macalester in the Department of History and Politics.
These questions can also serve as a source of reflection for your papers. Also, these questions are not mutually exclusive. You may find a way to write a reflection paper that incorporates a variety of these questions. (They will also serve as discussion questions in the upcoming weeks).
How is your civic engagement participation? Describe your assignment? In what ways are you helping the organization and community? What are some of the challenges and difficulties of your particular work? To what extent is there a need for your work in the community? Who benefits from it? Why are people in need of the NGO and its volunteers service? (You may want to do some research on the community as well as the issue that this organization serves).
In what ways is your organization helping to solve the issue/problem it is working on ? What else needs to be done to help persons? Can you imagine a day when your organization is no longer needed? You may also want to consider: What are some interesting things you have learned about your organization in the ways that it operates? How long has it been in existence? How does it secure its funding? How does it reach out to the community?
Is volunteering enough to be civically engaged? Discuss. (In this question, you may want to consider the benefits of a civic engagement course as well as any drawbacks. For instance, is it a good idea for service to be mandatory?)
Is there a level playing field in the US? Does everyone have equal access to social and economic mobility? Are there some groups that are more privileged than others? How do these issues relate to your particular service? What have you learned about inequality or equality during your volunteering? This is related to the White Privilege article and Power Walk exercise.
In what ways can the university serve the community? What are some of the ways that Hahn, et al discuss in the piece on Universities as Economic Anchors? What are some of the challenges? What do you think is most important in order for an university to positively impact its surrounding community?
- For the first paper, you should reflect on your experience overall. Don’t be afraid to mention both positive and negative experiences. You may or may not center your paper on one of the questions above.
- Superior papers will not only reflect on one’s experience, but incorporate ideas and concepts from at least two readings and the class. It should be well written.
- Above average papers will incorporate concepts from 1-2 readings and ideas from class. It should be well written.
- Average papers will just reflect on the experience. It should be well written.
- For the second paper, you should discuss at least one issue that relates to your organization. For instance, if you work tutoring youth, you may want to focus on one of the following issues: education, disparities in education, youth development, challenges youth face in an urban community, funding for schools, parenting challenges, etc. It may be best to just focus on one. Also you should consider possible solutions to the issue as well.
- Superior papers will focus on an issue that pertains to your organization, provide research on the issue, relate it to one’s experience and consider solutions. This paper should incorporate ideas from at least 2 readings from class as well as two outside sources (not Wikipedia). It should be well organized and written in a coherent manner.
- Above average papers will focus on one issue or more as mentioned above. It will incorporate concepts from 1-2 readings and at least one outside source. It should be well written.
- Average papers will just reflect on one issue and the experience. It will just reference one reading from class and one or less outside source. It should be well written.