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Presentation by: Dr. Susan F. Hirsch Dr. Agnieszka Paczynska Dr. Andria Wisler for the FIPSE Project Directors’ meeting Nov. 7-8, 2011 “LINKING THEORY.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation by: Dr. Susan F. Hirsch Dr. Agnieszka Paczynska Dr. Andria Wisler for the FIPSE Project Directors’ meeting Nov. 7-8, 2011 “LINKING THEORY."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation by: Dr. Susan F. Hirsch Dr. Agnieszka Paczynska Dr. Andria Wisler for the FIPSE Project Directors’ meeting Nov. 7-8, 2011 “LINKING THEORY TO PRACTICE” AS A PATHWAY TO A CAREER

2 LINKING THEORY TO PRACTICE CONFLICT ANALYSIS AND RESOLUTION PEDAGOGY IN UNDERGRADUATE CLASSROOMS Undergraduate Experiential Learning Project (UELP) Funded by the U.S. Department of Education Through the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE)

3 UELP Project Team  Susan F. Hirsch, PI  Agnieszka Paczynska, Co-PI  Ned Lazarus, UELP Post- doctoral Fellow  Patricia Maulden  Lisa Shaw  Mara Schoeny  Leslie Dwyer  Andrea Bartoli  Paul Snodgrass  Andria Wisler, Project Evaluator 2011-12 Project GRAs, GTAs, Interns  Lori Ann Stephensen  Linda Keuntje  Gina Cerasani  Thanos Gatsias  Molly Tepper  Julie Minde  Gul Mescioglugur  Mariam Kurtz  Matthew Graville UELP PROJECT MEMBERS

4 Linking Theory to Practice builds the capacity of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (CAR) pedagogy to enable the inter-disciplinary CAR field to play a key role in improving undergraduates’ ability to apply theory to practice, and to achieve learning goals such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and perspective-taking. ABOUT THE UELP

5 The competency of linking theory to practice is one of the most challenging for educators to achieve, yet one that is especially attractive in the workplace.  The 2006 Conference Board report, “Are They Really Ready to Work?” recommends that post-secondary attention to teaching problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication and leadership skills would better prepare graduates for workplace success. (Casner-Lotto & Barrington 2006). THE CHALLENGE OF LINKING THEORY TO PRACTICE

6  “…academic institutions are not adequately preparing students for careers in international peace and conflict management. Curricula need to incorporate more applied skills, cross-sectoral coursework, and field-experience opportunities” (USIP Special Report, 2010).  Many academically capable graduates lack the ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real world problems. THE CHALLENGE OF LINKING THEORY TO PRACTICE IN THE CAR FIELD

7 1.Experiential Learning Activities (ELAs) 2.Service Learning Intensives (SLIs) 3.Best Practices and Outreach The UELP operates with a broad concept of experiential learning that includes simulations and role-plays, analytical activities, collaborative group work, and field-based service learning. UELP PROJECT INITIATIVES


9 Design experiential learning activities (ELAs) for undergraduate courses in CAR, including some suitable for general education ELA Learning Objectives  Develop students’ capacity to link theory to practice  cultivate critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving skills, and perspective-taking ability The UELP builds these objectives into ELAs and investigates the educational benefits achieved through their use in classes. Instructors’ guides will be made available with guidelines for implementing the ELAs across diverse curricula. INITIATIVE 1: ELAS

10  Conflict Mapping of the Voinjama (Liberia) Clashes (for introductory courses)  Conflict Intervention in Voinjama (Liberia) (Additional- for introductory courses)  Applying Analytical Models to the Conflicts in Matewan (film) (for intermediate courses)  Simulating Conflict Dynamics in an Appalachian Mining Community (for intermediate courses)  Envisioning Change in an Appalachian Mining Community (for advanced courses) ELAS DEVELOPED BY THE UELP

11 Advanced students design and implement a focus group (with fellow students) on conflict and social media and present results and recommendations in a public setting Learning Outcomes Research design (and limitations) Data collection and Analysis Application of theory and findings to real world problems Presentation skills Collaboration and teamwork These skills are of interest to a wide range of employers! FOCUS GROUP ELA

12  Students analyze conflict in small groups and develop a conflict map  Students sort through different types of data to better understand the parties, issues, grievances, trigger events and root causes of conflict  Students report out and compare conflict maps CONFLICT MAPPING OF THE VOINJAMA CLASHES

13  Ethnicity  Frustrated Youth  Political and Economic Marginalization  Religion “How does the information you have shape the analysis you produce?” Each group is given a packet that contains slightly different information. ANALYZING DATA

14  U.S. Peace Corps  Search for Common Ground  Interfaith League of Lofa County  National Commission on Human Rights and Reconciliation of the Liberian Government “How does your position vis-à- vis the conflict shape your intervention?” Students take on roles of third party organizations and design intervention strategies to address the conflict. THIRD PARTY INTERVENTION IN CLASHES IN VOINJAMA


16 Create a model for intensive service learning activities (SLIs) in domestic and international contexts. SLIs are short courses (3-6 weeks) that engage students in the application of theory to practice through service learning activities focused on CAR issues. INITIATIVE 2: SLIS

17  4 week course on Peace building in June 2011  12 students participated  Worked in partnership with a Liberian NGO, Don Bosco Homes  What the students did:  Conflict assessments  Conflict resolution trainings (development and delivery)  Facilitation of land dispute cases  Family re-unifications LIBERIA SLI WHAT THE STUDENTS DO

18  Advanced student understanding of the deep-rooted nature of the Liberian conflict while working with Liberian grassroots organizations  Allowed students to systematically explore the nature, origin, and type of social conflicts in Liberia  Created opportunities for students to learn from local partners to further their understanding of conflict resolution techniques and traditions in a non-US setting  Deepened student understanding of and appreciation for the complexity and the challenges of post-conflict peace building processes LIBERIA SLI WHAT THE STUDENTS LEARNED

19  Facilitation  Mediation  Dialogue  Assessment/Evaluation  Participatory Research  Conflict Resolution Training Development and Delivery  Application of Conflict Analysis and Resolution Skills in a Non-US Setting  Ethics in Peace building  Critical Thinking, Creativity, Problem-Solving  Application of Theory in Practice LIBERIA SLI THE SKILLS STUDENTS ACQUIRED






25  Liberia – Peace building  Colombia – Cross-Cultural Conflict Resolution Processes  West Virginia – Collaborative Skills Building with Community- Based Organizations SLIS PLANNED BY UELP SUMMER 2012


27 Promote best practices in designing CAR curricula so as to enhance students’ ability to link theory to practice, including models for strengthening partnerships between two- and four-year institutions and better aligning curricula across those institutions. INITIATIVE 3: BEST PRACTICES AND OUTREACH

28 UELP seeks to pilot ELAs in classrooms at other two- and four-year institutions and is seeking partners More materials (including instructor guides for role plays and other activities) coming soon and will be available via the UELP website LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH! Visit us on the web at:  home home

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