Civic Engagement Project

PS355 – Winter 2019

Civic Engagement Project


The core of this assignment is for you to practice “engaging yourself and engaging your civic community.” Your goal should be multi-layered – to bring change in one social issue that is of concern to you in your community, to develop your knowledge and skills related to civics, and to challenge yourself to reach outside of the classroom to learn and then bring your knowledge back to the classroom to share with your classmates.

You will need to (1) choose and research one substantial social issue at Western Oregon University or in your surrounding community, (2) define a problem found within the issue, and (3) devise and implement a local solution to that problem. If the type of project you choose does not allow for implementation during this quarter, you must submit a detailed proposal of how your project would be implemented with additional time.

You will present your project to the class (a) briefly in Week 4 to gain feedback (January 28th), and (b) the complete project at the end of the quarter (classes during Week 9 and 10 of the quarter, plus on final exam day if needed). In addition, you will need to turn in progress reports and hold brief meetings with me to discuss your efforts. You may work alone or in a group (if you work in a group, you will receive a group score). You will have a great deal of latitude in the project you choose. However, you will work closely with me in planning your actions, and determining what is sufficient progress based on the project and problem you choose.

As you begin work on the project keep the following questions in mind:

· What may prevent progress or help you succeed, and how can you plan for these challenges?

· Who will you need to work with (who are the stakeholders and what are their interests)?

· What will be most effective to change behavior?


Grades will be determined by the amount and quality of work you complete, not necessarily completing the project, as there is a time limitation of just one quarter. However, the average amount of time that should be spent on the project should be at least 40 hours (4 hours a week) as the assignment is 50% of the class grade. The 40 hours includes the time needed to write the Design, Project Reports, and Project Summary. In addition, you will be assessed on how well your project changes behavior. Therefore, you need to establish criteria for assessing the effectiveness of your project in consultation with me. You should focus on a realistic and pragmatic project design, and reasonable steps to implement your ideas. In addition, you must demonstrate increasing knowledge about the issue and effective measures. Discuss this with me if you have any questions – and we will discuss it in depth when I give approval for your project.

Assignments submitted should be of high quality (typed, double-spaced, 1 inch margins, spell checked and proof read, citations included, etc.)

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Assignment Components

The Civic Engagement assignment is worth up to 50% (500 points) of your total class score. The 500 points are divided according to the following steps. In addition, you will present your project to the class (and the community if it fits) worth up to 100 points.

1. Project “Problem” (10 points) – a short (one paragraph, no more than 50 words) definition of the issue area you have picked and the problem you have identified that needs to be addressed.

Due: Monday, January 14th

2. Initial Design / Data Collection and Analysis – (50 points) – a 4-5 page document that

(a) defines the social issue you have chosen,

(b) provides background research on the issue to identify the “problem” (2-3 pages). The background research should include citations in the text and at least 4-5 annotated sources you have researched that discuss the history, stakeholders, policy responses taken, needs, etc., provide statistics and relevant facts as a background to defining the problem.

(c) identifies 3-4 goals you want to achieve, and

(d) discusses an initial policy response you plan implement.

In addition, you need to provide, and

(e) defines data that you plan to gather, an explanation of why you want to gather this data, method(s) for gathering your data, and a preliminary discussion of the techniques you will use to analyze and interpret your data.

Initial Design DUE: at your Project Meeting during Week 3

3. Timeline and Assessment Measures – (15 points) – You need to provide a

(a) project timeline that documents the steps you plan to take and when they will/must be completed (how you plan to spend the 40 required hours),

(b) a list of “effectiveness assessment measures” that define how will you gauge the “success” of your project, and

(c) a list of stakeholder (experts and/or contacts in the community) you will meet with to obtain background information and/or to give recommendations to, as well as a very brief explanation of why you picked these individuals.

The easiest process to follow would be a standard policymaking design (define the problem, set an agenda, design your plan, implement and then monitor compliance/ performance). Timeline / Assessment Measures / Contacts DUE: January 28th


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