Faculty and Student Peers Interact About Substantive Matters
For students who have studied the course concepts before, the biggest surprise is usually how much better they understand those concepts after being forced to see them in operation in the real world. Their whole field of study, family science, comes alive in front of them, as they learn to really apply the cognitive schemas of their college learning to their everyday perceptions.
Students Experience Diversity Through Contact with People Who Are Different from Themselves
The community placements often put the students in continuing, semester-long contact with people who are different from themselves and their normal social world, in terms of economic class and ethnicity. This serves one of the goals of our undergraduate program.
Activities Have Applications to Different Settings On/Off Campus
The students aiming to become parent educators or preschool teachers see clearly that they are learning basic skills for their professions, but so do students headed in other directions, such as social work, clinical psychology, education, or occupational therapy. One student who had just been admitted to medical school realized, with surprise that the skill he was learning was exactly what a good physician must master in order to write a diagnosis: what you can objectively observe, and what you can diagnose from it, with a clear boundary between the two.
At the end of the term, each student packages a selection of their written observations into a newsletter for the community program, suitable for the program to use with its clients. The programs value these as solid professional products and actually use them. This demonstration of respect for their work often contributes to students transitioning in their self-concepts, from the self-concept of a student to that of a professional. That is the kind of high impact we seek, as a well-earned side effect of learning professional skills.