Evaluating a Practicum - How to Determine Its Effectiveness
Victory in Education and Jobs
This is Section Four of a four-part HubMob Education weekly topic article about the practicum in higher education. The four parts include:
- What Is a Practicum? – How to Compile the Background
- Creating a Practicum – How to Develop a Program
- Using a Practicum – How to Implement a Program
- Evaluating a Practicum - How to Determine Its Effectiveness
At the end of a practicum, the student and the program are evaluated for their results and impact on the related field of study and career. Programs used in the practicum can be adjusted and changed over time to remain relevant and to achieve the best results for students and practicum sites, if students go off campus for work experience.
The following is a mock up of results and evelautions that includes Impact and Benefits, Factors Considered in coosing the experience, Drawbacks, and Implications for the Future.
(Other practicum programs may use fewer or greater numbers of headings or sections.)
Children and Dolphins Internship Program
Impact of the Student's Work
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The Practicum experience was designed to benefit both the practitioner and the organization. (AGENCY) received additional help free of costs, enabling the initiation of this special project. It also received enthusiasm, new ideas, energy, and the inquiring mind of a willing practitioner. The onsite supervisor used an opportunity to mentor a new entrant into the field of ex-offender reentry as a ministry and a social service. He benefited from the mentor-practitioner exchange and contributing to the growth and development of both a new generation of professionals and the profession itself. Other organizational benefits include:
International Conflict Resolution Practicum, Ecuador - 27 Days
- Learning current and new best practices in Urban Ministry and Social Services.
- Cultivating a group of key leaders and best practices within partner CBOs.
- Developing a common language and managerial framework for CBOs to carry out government reentry initiatives
- Developing and common knowledge and shared experience essential for effective team building
- Establishing a foundation for Strategic Human Capital plan within the Bridge of Cooperation and its member agencies.
- Supporting succeeding future planning efforts
Another benefit to (AGENCY) also profited the practitioner. The practitioner made a number of valuable contacts during this experience and learned about reentry programs of Illinois, how they work, and how they may partner for greater effectiveness. This provides a foundation for further rounds of work in the Practicum model and to advance into a more responsible paid internship position. Such an internship would capture the momentum gained in this completed experience.
A further benefit to both organization and practitioner came in the form of a job offer. The practitioner was offered and accepted a job with a CBO that will entail working with ex-felons to facilitate their reentry. This places him in a position to become a point of contact person for (CBO) in the Bridge of Cooperation for (AGENCY). In addition, this places him in a position in which he will collaborate with staff from local and state CBOs that may want to join the bridge in the future. He will be able to influence at least some CBOs to join this network and will be a source of continuity in providing a stimulus for cohesiveness among the partner CBOs and (AGENCY) Finally, he might possibly mentor and supervise a student practitioner of his own in this practicum model for serving reentering ex-offenders in Illinois.
An Urban Ministry Practicum/Social Services Practicum is a class and project that encourages the practitioner to apply his or her gifts, skills, and resources within a local area of service in an urban setting. It seeks to provide valuable services to, and enhance, the quality of life for members of the community – in this case, ex-felons who are reentering society. Through this Practicum, the practitioner was able to explore his career interests, develop leadership skills, and realize the power of civic responsibility and partnership. He did, in fact, obtain a considerable amount of learning and expertise, as well as personal and professional contacts that will further the cause of ex-offender reentry in the future across the state of Illinois.
There were three factors considered in choosing a Practicum area to serve. In doing so, the practitioner not only learned, but applied his learning successfully:
- The Practicum needed to be off campus in the greater community,
- It needed to include at least 30 hours of service, and
- It needed to include a mentor/supervisor at the Practicum site (AGENCY) as well as on campus to provide input throughout the work and learning experience.
This Practicum with (AGENCY) satisfied all three of these factors and set the standard and the precedent for a continuing Practicum to be filled by future practitioners. This practitioner chose (AGENCY) and its ex-felon reentry program to serve for 30 hours over the course of 6 weeks and was mentored by Sam Crawford. The practitioner created the beginning edition of a Reentry Service Directory targeting ex-offenders reentering society in the Chicago area. In the future, it can be expanded to encompass all of CookCounty and metropolitan areas across Illinois.
- The time required to set the Practicum in motion was much longer than estimated for a number of reasons listed in the examination of program implementation (Note: Section Three of this Hub Pages article).
- One practitioner cannot handle an ongoing project, but the Practicum is easily transitioned into an ongoing, repeatable program.
Implications For the Future
- The practitioner was able to develop the following suggestions for future related work:
- This successful Practicum model could become an ongoing activity for (AGENCY)
- The Practicum model might be adjusted and modified to be applied to the needs of other CBOs in Chicago and across Illinois in ex-offender reentry services.
- The Practicum model might be adjusted and modified to be applied to the needs of other CBOs in Chicago and across Illinois in other types of social and ministerial services.
- This Practicum model could be presented to the Illinois Governor’s Statewide Community Safety & Reentry Working Group’s Executive Committee Meeting.
- This Practicum model could be presented to the next meeting of various faith-based CBNO collaborative or councils of churches of various denominations. This would include not only Christian organizations of churches, but also Jewish, Islamic, and other groups of houses of worship and philosophical centers.
- CBO partners in the Bridge of Cooperation can collaborate in grant writing to fund joint ventures among the partners.
- Paid reentry-related student Internships might be established with grant funding obtained.
- Bennett, Larry; Bennett, Michael; Koval, John. Communities And Community Development In Chicago: Past, Present, And Future. DePaulUniversity. 2004.
- Blagojevich, Rod J. Illinois Governor’s Statewide Community Safety & Reentry Working Group’s Executive Committee Meeting. 2005.
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