Civic Engagement Field Work


As an alternative or supplement to the "Practicing Democracy" experiments, you can participate in some community or school based "political" project. You may earn 10 points per hour of verified active participation for up to 4 hour per week. If you decide to take up this learning opportunity, you need to put in a minimum of 8 hours total over the quarter. Here's what you need to take up the civic engagement opportunity for learning. Read below for details:

A. Get Instructor Approval:  

  • PRIOR APPROVAL REQUIRED BY END OF WEEK 3: you must have prior instructor approval for any field work placement before you begin work to get credit. Click here for the APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL AND CONTRACT FORM. When you have completed the approval/contract form, upload it to the Catalyst site.
  • WHERE to volunteer? You can find a placement by signing up with one of the speakers who present in our class, through De Anza's Office of Community and Civic Engagement (ICCE), or you may also have some ideas of your own.
    1. "POLITICAL" WORK: Your placement should be "political" in some meaningful and substantial way. By "political" I mean that is should attempt to affect the social or political rules relating to the distribution of social, political or economic resources. ("Who gets what, and how?")
    2. "LOCAL" WORK: The activity you participate in should have a strong local component to it. It should also have an activist, community, non-profit, educational or government base and in most cases should not be a for-profit business enterprise.
    3. "ORGANIZING" WORK: The activity should generally involve grassroots organizing. This means that the project should be aimed at increasing the numbers of people carrying out social justice work in the world. It should be aimed at mobilizing people to action. There are a handful of exceptions to this requirement.
    4. MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM POINTS: You must commit to a minimum of 8 hours of work over the quarter for this placement and you cannot receive more points than 350 points total combined Civic Engagement Field Work and/or Practicing Democracy Points.
    5. TIMING: You should spread out your field work over the quarter. You may receive no more than 4 hours per week of civic engagement credit (with some exceptions made for some special events. But you need the permission of the instructor to exceed this 4 hour per week rule.)

B. Keep a weekly timesheet and do journals documenting your work: ( Click here for the weekly timesheet you should use.)

  • EACH TIME you do field work, you should write up a short journal entry describing a) what you did for your civic engagement, b) something new you learned and c) how your work helped you reach some aspect of this class's learning goals which can be found on the main "Syllabus" page of the class website (click on this link to go to the syllabus page). Each journal entry should be about 75-150 words. Keep it short and to the point. You will turn these  journals in with your  timesheet and your civic engagement reflective papers three times over the quarter at weeks 4, 8 and 12.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: You MUST turn in civic engagement journals and your weekly weekly timesheet along with each short paper to get credit for your hours. Failure to turn in your  journals and weekly timesheet in a timely manner will result in loss of credit for hours accumulated.

C. Three reflective papers:

  • Over the quarter, I also want you to write three reflective papers (300-600 words) addressing how your civic engagement work relates to the class you are taking.  Your three paper topics are as follows:
  • Topic #1: what is the community need your civic engagement work is helping to address? How is this a "political" problem? (Due the Wed of Week #4) Click here for the Template to use for Paper #1.
  • Topic #2: How have the class readings, exercises, and assignments helped you understand the underlying social, economic and political causes of the problem your civic engagement placement is helping to address as well as what solutions must be implemented to bring about effective change? (Due the Wed of Week #8) Click here for the Template to use for Paper #2.
  • Topic #3: Based on your civic engagement experience, what are the possible solutions to the issues addressed in your placement and what do you see as your role in the collective political effort to solve this or other community issues? (Due on the last regular day of class during Finals Week) Click here for the Template to use for Paper #3.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: You MUST turn in all three topic papers. Failure to turn in the topic papers will result in a proportionate loss of credit for your work hours (1/3rd for each paper). 
  • If you have ideas about new placements...please see Nicky about this. You may earn extra credit for successfully establishing an ongoing new civic engagement placement.