Course name: Appalachian Field Practicum/Research
Department, course #, level: Soc 487, undergraduate
Semester(s) and year(s) taught (without significant variation): Fall 1998
Institution: Union College
Instructor(s): Deborah Thompson
(606) 546-1324


SOC 487, Fall 1998

Appalachian Field Practicum/Research

Ms. Deborah Thompson
Lakeside Center, 114-A
Phone: 546-1324

This course is taken concurrent with SOC 345, 349, and 422, therefore the course content, objectives, and activities are part of a complex, extremely interrelated fifteen (15) hour block of study.


To gain an in-depth understanding of one aspect of Appalachia on an independent basis, either through an internship experience or a major research paper, beginning in week six of the semester and continuing until the end.


Most potential internship sites will be visited in the beginning of the semester. There are more sites that we will be unable to visit, and the instructor is open to consideration of other sites not on the "official" list. Individual conferences with the student and Director will be held to help the student decide on the most appropriate choices. The student should choose at least two possibilities and interview with the agency supervisors before making her/his final choice. The student, supervisor, and Director will discuss career and academic goals of the practicum and agree upon criteria for evaluating the student's performance. This will be documented in a learning contract which will be signed by all three parties.

Examples of possible placements:

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth??Head Start

Lend-A-Hand Center????Knox Co. Health Dept.

Knox Co. Historical Museum???Comprehensive Care Center

Church-related social service???Legal aid

State social services????Family resource centers


The student's performance in the internship will account for 55% of the grade in this course. The student will also keep a field observation notebook in which observations, biases, lessons, reflections, and experiences gained in the placement itself will be recorded. This will contain both free-writing and structured exercises and should be kept separate from the main reflective/reading journal required for the other courses. The internship field observation notebook will be reviewed periodically and will account for 25% of the grade in this course.

In addition, an 8-10 page paper is required which more formally discusses some aspect of the internship. The subject for the paper will grow out of the student's experience and/or journal writings, and will be discussed with the instructor soon after the internship begins. The instructor must approve the topic/subject. The paper will constitute 20% of the grade in this course and will be due on Monday, December 8.


GRADING:???Performance and Attendance??? 55%

????Field Observation Notebook??? 25%

????Internship Paper???? 20%

???? ??????100%


Internship Schedule:

August 25-September 15 (approx): visits at internship sites

September 7-15, 21-22: make appointments, interview

September 14-22 (or earlier, if possible): notify internship sites of your selection, begin work on learning contract, set up another meeting with agency supervisor to agree on learning contract (don’t sign until our three-way meeting, however!

September 29: begin internship, meet with supervisors to finalize contracts, set up three-way meeting for following week to sign learning contract

October 6-8: DT visit sites, sign contracts

October 9, 30; Nov 20: internship field observation notebooks due to be checked; returned the following Monday

November 16-20: DT mails evaluations to sites, students remind agency supervisors to fill out evaluation form before our meeting, make appointments for final three-way visit

November 30-December 3: students fill out internship evaluations, three-way evaluation visits

December 7: internship paper and field observation notebook due


If a research project is chosen, the topic will be selected in consultation with the instructor. This project can be an extension of a paper written in SOC 345, 349, or 422, or it can be a new topic. Since this paper will be a full-time task, it must utilize primary and original sources and be of sufficient length and quality for a semester's worth of work. A proposal of the topic with a preliminary bibliography will be due September 23. We will meet during the week of September 29-October 1 to create a plan and sign an independent study contract.. The student will meet with the instructor at least biweekly (every two weeks) during the final nine weeks of the semester. An outline or other evidence of significant progress and working bibliography is due Wednesday, October 28, with the final paper due Monday, December 7. The paper will constitute 100% of the grade in this course, although evidence of progress, attendance at and readiness for the meetings will also be taken into consideration in grading.


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