The program culminates with an applied practicum project, where students synthesize their learning and integrate it into an innovative, practical solution for change. Students begin to lay the foundation for their Applied Practicum Project in the first semester, and continue to develop their project throughout the program. A faculty member with expertise in the students topic provides guidance and mentorship, and students are encouraged to identify mentors and learning resources within their own communities and regions. Past students have focused on topics ranging from organic farming, forestry management, peacebuilding among urban youth, and womens health action groups.
Students have three options for their Practica:
- Participatory Proposal Practicum: This option requires students to conduct a participatory community analysis process that encourages students and their communities to think about scaling up projects, longer-term projects, and conducting active reflection on how to build on past and current successes. This track may include a pilot project towards implementation.
- Project Practicum: This option focuses on taking a project designed to improve the students community from proposal through the implementation phase; this choice provides an action-oriented option for students with existing momentum in their communities.
- Research Practicum: This option provides an opportunity for students to conduct applied research in their community, putting into practice the theory and tools learned throughout the program.
Students may choose any of the three options, but are required to gain approval from their Practicum Advisor before starting. Students are supported and guided by faculty and instructors of the Graduate School, and are encouraged to maximize the participation and input that can be offered by community agents and peers. Students will work closely with their Practicum Advisor throughout the process.