This is an experiential learning class, and as a result, you must engage with a community partner to demonstrate and practice your leadership as it develops throughout the semester. This is NOT a requirement to volunteer to stuff envelopes or serve meals at a soup kitchen; instead, it is an opportunity to evaluate your community partner’s operation, and find areas for innovation – potentially through technology, benchmarking, or other ways to improve the operation. This experience will be the foundation of your course assignments. A paper and presentation at the end of the semester will evaluate the experience with the community partner and will be presented not only to our class, but also to the community partners involved.
The purpose of this project is to work with a non-profit partner focused on a specific social issue, diagnose a need for the organization, come up with an innovative solution, and present the solution.
For the final deliverable, each team will present to the class and submit to the instructor a clear picture of their chosen non-profit organization and the issues it addresses, along with some areas of improvement and suggested solutions for the organization. Your goal in this part of the project is to do the very best job you can of educating the rest of us on your topic. You will be evaluated on:
- How thoroughly you research your topic and document where you obtained the data. Follow APA rules for citations.
- How well you compile and share that data with the rest of the class. Your reports will be graded on how well they are designed and written. Points will be taken off for grammar and spelling errors.
- How well your team presents. Presentations will be evaluated on their organization, clarity, professionalism, and how much work you put into making them interesting. Professionalism includes speaking skills, the quality of visual aids, and use of technology.
- How well you convey your team’s findings through a Q&A. It is not enough to master just one part of your assigned topic. You are responsible for being knowledgeable about everything in your team’s report.
Please refer to the syllabus and Canvas for due dates for submitting your paper and presentation to Canvas and presenting in class.
This project is about you practicing taking leadership responsibility. If you have questions about the assignment itself, please talk with your instructor. There will be minimal check-ins from the instructor, who assumes you are working with your team on this project throughout the semester.
Important Team Information: There is a slacker penalty on this project. Your team will evaluate your contributions and determine how much of the team grade you deserve. Sometimes, although rarely, students are fired from a team. People naturally have different skills and not everyone is capable of making the exact same contribution. But everyone can do their best to help create a great product and team experience. And everyone can take initiative and practice leadership in this project.
PART 1: RESEARCH PAPER
Report Format: You do not have to write a traditional report, but you do need to convey all the information you gathered in an easily understood format. There should be categories and bullet points and good graphic representations of what you learned. There is no page minimum or maximum, but the final product should be about 6-8 pages, double-spaced, using a 12 point font such as Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman.
Include the following in your research paper:
Your Chosen Topic Area and non-profit organization.
The key issues, in a comprehensive manner, in this problem area with facts and figures, meaning statistics and data (so that all of us end up with a good understanding).
Prioritize which challenges to the organization are the most damaging or threatening and why.
Your solutions related to this problem area
Typical team problems on the report assignment are members who do not do their assigned work, members who plagiarize and don’t cite information correctly, and a failure to edit the report as a team to ensure that all parts are uniform, correctly done, and well written. Come up with ways to avoid these problems in your team.