Experiential Learning in African American Studies is an academic seminar for majors and certificate students who are working at internship or service sites related to African American Studies. Through course work and class discussions, students are challenged to integrate their experiential experiences with the interdisciplinary study of past and present African-American communities. To successfully earn credit for experiential Learning students must fulfill the requirements at the internship or service site, participate in a weekly seminar, and complete the assigned projects aimed at bringing together academic research, reflective work, and professional development.

The internship or service portion of the course requires students to work closely with their site supervisors. Students are required to fulfill the job responsibilities and work the number of hours per week that is outlined in their learning proposals. Site supervisors define specific job responsibilities and assignments, monitor their training, and evaluate their performance at the end of the semester by completing an evaluation form and submitting a letter of recommendation to be included in their portfolios.

Students are also required to participate in a weekly seminar and complete assignments that examine the relationship between classroom, work, and service experiences and to develop a final portfolio that showcases their work. The seminar will give students the opportunity to discuss their internships and how their experiences enhance or are enhanced by their understanding of African American studies. During the seminar, students will share information about assignments and give each other feedback. Students will evaluate their internship sites and the roles the sites play in black communities and in promoting social change.

Students will be graded on their performance at the internship site and on the following course requirements: reflective essays on their personal and intellectual experiences during the internship, a self-directed research project that connects their internship and their academic interests in Afro- American Studies, an oral presentation on their internship experience and research project, and a final portfolio. Assignments must be submitted on the day they are due or they will be lowered one letter grade for each day they are late. All work must be well written, organized, proofread, and typed and must meet length requirements. Students are required to keep all of their work on one computer disc and will be required to submit the disc periodically.

The course grade will be determined as follows:

  • Reflected essays -- 20%
  • Final portfolio -- 15%
  • Oral presentation -- 10%
  • Site supervisor's evaluation -- 30%
  • Self-directed research project or paper -- 25%
  • Reflective Essays

Reflective essays are to be two to three pages, typed and double-spaced. Some topics for essays are identified on the syllabus; others will be open. All journal entries should be well written, organized and creative (NOT limited to the guidelines and questions I have provided). Journal entries will be used for discussions.

Final Porfolio
The final portfolio will be a collection of work completed for the course and at the internship or servife site, brought together with an introduction and conclusion, that represents your progress during the summer. It can include, but will not be limited to, the following: edited versions of reflective essays, process paper about the research project, a letter of recommendation from site supervisor, your final evaluation, etc.

Oral Presentation
In addition to the weekly meetings all interns will be required to give an oral presentation on their internship experience at the end of the summer. In the presentations students are expected to evaluate the organizations in which they worked and to present their final projects and portfolios. AASD faculty, Career Center representatives, and site supervisors will be invited to attend.

Site Supervisor's Evaluation
Site supervisor's will evaluate the intern's work at the end of the semester using a written internship evaluation form and submitting a letter of recommendation to be included in the student's portfolio. It is the student's responsibility to obtain the letter of recommendation.

Self-Directed Research Project or Paper
Students must select a final research project or paper that is relevant to their internship experience and their academic work in African American Studies. The project must be approved. Some weeks students will be required to locate and report to the class on academic sources relevant to their projects.