Projects and Papers

Required Projects and Papers: Each student will write an autobiographical analysis of the highlights of their learning and development over the years, personally and professionally. This analysis will incorporate a discussion and critical analysis of key life experiences and milestones; books and articles that have been read and that have been significant to the learner; important people, jobs, academic experiences and community involvements in the learner’s life. Most importantly, this autobiographical analysis will include reflections on where the learner sees her/himself headed, and how her/his current direction(s) have been influenced by previous life experiences.

As an outgrowth of this, each student will write a preliminary educational plan, which, as part of the student’s engagement in critical and creative inquiry, is very much expected to change, perhaps a lot, as the student progresses through the degree program. This plan will articulate short and long-term goals, or possible directions, including questions and dilemmas about the best direction(s) to take, with which the student might be wrestling. This plan will include the student’s initial ideas about how their learning activities can build bridges to the next important things they do in their life. For example, they can explore various career options and do networking to build bridges for themselves to further their career and community involvements, taking advantage of the knowledge and networking connections of WISR faculty, alumni, students, Board members, and friends of WISR.  We will show the relevance of a variety of learning efforts–reading, interviewing people, reflection, writing and pursuing community involvements–and the importance, in all of these endeavors of remaining mindful of how these efforts may be laying the foundation and creating the pathways to what they aim to do next in their lives.

The plan must also include the student’s inventory of her or his strengths and limitations, interests and values, as well as their assessment of needs, challenges and opportunities in the profession and the world in which she or he wishes to make a difference. Also, the student is expected to discuss this plan in relation to the student’s plans to develop in the areas of WISR’s core meta-competencies, and in relation to WISR’s graduation requirements. [These meta-competencies are: Thinking and Communication; Becoming Conscious, Intentional, and Improvising Learners; Community Leadership and Collaboration—Practical Skills and Talents; Experience, Competence, Talent and Knowledge in One’s Chose Area(s) of Specialization; Participatory Action-Inquiry and Qualitative Research; Justice, Sustainability and Social Change; Multicultural Perspective.

For Doctoral Students Only . . .  Write a brief (five pages or so) essay on:

1) ideas and questions that have come up for you during this course that may have implications for how you plan to approach your EdD studies in higher education and social change at WISR, and  2) based on your reading ofImprovisational Competency-Based Learning.”   write down one or two ideas that are new to you from reading this article and/or write down one or two questions or criticisms you have of the points in the article. Then, further considering this article, think and write about your ideas and questions–are there any implications for your future (doctoral) studies?  You should write a brief essay about your thoughts and the possible implications–from the perspective of yourself as someone who is going to be studying a) how to educate others, b) how to create new knowledge, share that knowledge with others, and put it to use, and c) how to be a creative leader in your profession and the larger community.

As is the case with all papers submitted for faculty review at WISR, students should expect that faculty will give them some feedback, so that the student is able to make revisions and improvements in their paper before it is consider finalized.  Generally speaking, students can expect to receive faculty comments about a week after submitting the draft, so that the student can discuss the feedback with the faculty member and follow up by making many of the suggested revisions before submitting the paper as a final product.  In this course, all three papers–the autobiographical statement, the preliminary educational plan, and the self-assessment inventory–will be initially submitted as rough drafts, and then revised after the student discussions with the faculty member the suggested revisions or improvements in the paper.

Reminders! Students AND faculty should not only be open to changes in the plan, but should expect changes to unfold as the student progresses. To this end, students should consciously and intentionally re-evaluate the plan on a regular basis, and faculty should encourage and support students to be continually mindful of the importance of such re-evaluation!

Faculty expectations regarding the depth of critical analysis and the extent and details contained in the papers–the autobiographical analysis and the educational–plan will be assessed differently depending on whether the student is pursuing a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree at WISR.

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