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University Studies Program: General Education for the 21st Century

Developing Quest III courses is an instructional opportunity like no other!

The USP Council and the Quest III teaching community will support you in this endeavor as you connect to community partners and move this incredible vision into practical reality.

Consider the possibilities...

Quest III: Community Experience Assignment Construction Guidelines

From the Accepted USP Proposal:

“The purpose of the community engagement project is to connect all students to the community, on or off campus, early in their college career to enhance their civic knowledge and provide them introductory experience in civic engagement....Community-based (or service) learning is a high-impact practice, demonstrated to affect student retention and academic success. Though students may have more substantive civic engagement experiences in their major coursework (e.g. internships), the Quest III project will introduce students to civic action, community partners and real-world challenges.”

To read the full description of Quest III Community Experience parameters see pages 21-23 of the accepted University Studies Program description.

From Current Collaborative Dialogue (to be continued in January workshops):

As you imagine the design of a Community Experience for a Quest III course, consider the following characteristics:

  • Reciprocity - partnerships that are meaningful for students and their communities.
  • Reflection - intentional, systematic contextualization of the community experiences.
  • Respect - demonstrated value for the voices of the community partners and the students.
  • Results - public sharing with the campus and community.

The Quest III teaching community will work with alumni to determine how best to optimize the use of alumni mentors in each of these courses.   

Register Now! Quest III Workshop Sessions

Dec. 3, 2012 Registration Deadline

Jan. 7, 1-3 p.m. Special session for participants new to USP (those who have not completed Quest I or II workshops).

Jan. 8 and 9, 1-5 p.m. Sessions focused on Signature Question content, facilitated by USP faculty coordinators Jordan Landry, Stephanie Spehar and Paul Van Auken.

Jan. 15, 16 and 17, 1-3 p.m. Sessions focused on Community Experience assignment development, including second networking opportunities with community partners arranged by Michael Lueder, community experience coordinator.

Meet the USP Council

The USP Council is comprised of members of the UW Oshkosh campus community who are supporting the early implementation of this new general education program (2012–2014). In the next several USP Updates, we will introduce members of this collaborative team.

Stephanie Spehar, Faculty Coordinator for Signature Question: Sustainability

stephanie

As USP Faculty Coordinator for the Signature Question related to Sustainability, Stephanie works closely with instructors to help them develop courses that integrate sustainability. Stephanie is faculty in the Religious Studies and Anthropology department and has been working on sustainability-related curriculum and faculty development at UW Oshkosh since 2008, when she participated in the first Winnebago Sustainability Project faculty college. She was appointed the University Leadership Fellow for Sustainability in 2010.

Stephanie received her doctorate in biological anthropology from New York University. She is a primatologist, and is especially interested in how primates respond to human-generated disturbances and what this means for designing effective conservation strategies. Her current projects are located in Indonesian Borneo and focus on the endangered Bornean orangutan and the recently “re-discovered” Miller’s Grizzled Langur. She works with stakeholders at many levels (local communities, international companies, non-government organizations, local governments) to coordinate and conduct this work, and credits these experiences with providing the background and initial motivation for her involvement with sustainability at UW Oshkosh.

“The first-hand experiences I’ve had in Indonesia - grappling with the complex and deeply interconnected environmental and social issues there, recognizing the connections between what happens there and here in the U.S., getting a sense of the tradeoffs necessary when you consider the needs of ecological and human communities…all of this continues to reinforce the importance of educating our students about sustainability and empowering them to go out and responsibly address these issues.”

Stephanie also emphasizes the importance of high-impact practices in educating students for sustainability. “I think that in the case of sustainability especially, how we teach is as important as what we teach. We want our students to become critical and creative thinkers who have the skills and confidence to go out and address these big, complex, global problems. We need to provide them with educational experiences that will prepare them to do that.”

She brings students with her to the field in Borneo every summer to assist her or to conduct their own research through student-faculty development projects, but she emphasizes, “I don’t think students have to go to Borneo to have these kinds of meaningful experiences. We can offer them the opportunity to connect with communities and apply what they’re learning right here in Oshkosh. That’s what I think is so cool about the USP program. We’re really trying to put these things that we know make a difference to students into practice. I’m really proud to be a part of that.”

Need Help?
For assistance, please use the following contact information:
email: usp@uwosh.edu
website: uwosh.edu/usp

Watch for the University Studies Program Update each Tuesday of the fall 2012 semester!
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
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