About the Project
In Summer 2017, Alex Johnson Director of Community-Engaged Learning, was awarded an Assessment Grant for his project titled Assessing Student Learning through Public Affairs: Immersing in Milwaukee’s Growing Power. Alex Johnson explains, “I intend to address the need for appropriate thinking and writing prompts and materials to enhance student learning of the Public Affairs Mission. I intend to use the Public Affairs Rubric to identify strengths and weaknesses of the Immersion approach to student learning (coupling academic skills and community engagement with focused critical thinking activities based on culture and ethics).” When asked how the results of this project will be used for program improvement and how he plans to show evidence of student learning, he replied, “The results of this project will help to develop best practices for incorporating student learning, public affairs, and academic disciplines into Immersion Experiences. I plan to show evidence of student learning by comparing student work from the experience to the Public Affairs Rubric.”
Impact on Student Learning
When asked how his project impacted student learning, Alex Johnson said, “Students submitted reflections via blog posts and communicated their understanding of social issues and how to address them through service and advocacy. The group of evaluators discussed how students met the General Education goals, noting that student responses became stronger as the week of service progressed, and students relied heavily on group reflections to understand themes.
“After speaking with faculty and students about the immersion experiences and artifacts, the goal is to increase students’ understanding of goals and social issues before trips occur. Pre-trip education will extend to participants earlier in the semester to give them more time to engage with service initiatives in Springfield, MO before departing. This should strengthen on-trip reflections and post-trip activities.”