|Exercise Science||Social Work|
The partnership between Environmental Studies and the Piper Center began with collaboration on an environmental studies internship scholarship created to enhance student learning by funding a credit-bearing internship experience.
Since this initial collaboration, Piper Center staff members and environmental studies professors have continued to talk about how the Piper Center can more closely collaborate with faculty and students in this department to create and facilitate the hands-on learning environmental studies students desire. These conversatins continue as we work to build ever-stronger ties between academics and experiential learning.
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Exercise Science: Sean Goldsworthy
The Piper Center delivered an interactive presentation to the Exercise Science 374 “Biomechanics” class on approaches to and resources for a career research project. Students also learned about specific Piper Center resources to assist them with researching their post-graduation plans. Back to collaboration menu »
Psychology: Dana Gross
Piper Center staff developed and delivered a lecture and class discussion for Psychology 241: “Developmental Psychology.” It included specific content related to the major tasks of the ‘emerging adulthood’ developmental stage, focusing on educational attainment, particularly upon the impact of undergraduate education and liberal arts learning on life trajectory.
Psychology: Donna McMillan
Donna McMillan’s Psychology 271 “Psychology of Personality” utilized course components designed by Piper Center staff in several ways. Early in the semester, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was presented and discussed as a tool for understanding and applying Jungian psychology; later in the course, Piper Center staff were involved in a discussion of vocation, specifically as it related to Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer and other humanist theorists. Piper Center staff wrote an essay question related to the readings and facilitated discussion on vocation that was required for students’ final portfolios.
The partnership between the Piper Center and the SWFS department has grown steadily over the past nearly 20 years. The Piper Center is now embedded within both majors of the department, assisting students through
- course content,
- instruments for vocational discernment,
- career fairs and connections,
- networking with alumni in the field,
- the application of theoretical concepts in the field,
- and processes of reflection.
Students may first choose to explore their interest in service through the Interim course “I Want To Help People.” Early in the course, members of the Piper Center introduce students to the concept of vocation and work with them to identify their passions, their giftedness, and how they see themselves helping people. Piper Center staff have developed and infused reflection questions into their journaling assignments throughout the month. During the final retreat, we return to the idea of vocation, discussing students’ ideas of vocation and relating the ideas to written works. At this time, students craft a final vocational mission statement, revised from one written on their first day of class and impacted by the variety of experiences they’ve had in January. This course collaboration is partially funded by the Lilly Lives of Worth and Service Program.
In a beginning exploration of self, students in both Family Studies 242 and Social Work 254 take the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), learning how the instrument can help them discern their vocation. In “Family Relationships,” this examination of personality types and attendant characteristics is focused on the study of family systems theory, using type to understand the interplay of personalities within the family unit. In “Inclusive Practice: Individuals and Families,” the MBTI is used to examine one’s own giftedness and its relationship to the many facets of social work. Students consider their own gifts, as well as others', and learn to appreciate the differences inherent in working with a variety of people.
Each spring, the Piper Center and SWFS partner to coordinate a career panel, bringing alumni back to campus to showcase their career journeys. To prepare Social Work majors for their search for a practicum site for their senior year, the Piper Center provides guidance on presenting one’s self as a professional during Social Work 261; most of these juniors also take time to meet individually with a Piper Center staff member as they prepare to meet with various agencies.
As part of its annual workshop series, the Piper Center holds several sessions for students interested in social service careers. “Making It in the Nonprofit World” introduced students to the entrepreneurial skills necessary to make strategic decisions and play a leadership role in the nonprofit world. Another workshop, “Identifying and Searching for Careers in Social Service and Nonprofit Organizations,” illustrates strategies and resources valuable in searching for careers in the social service sector. The workshop also introduced several fairs that provide students access to nonprofit/public service organizations.
The culminating and most moving event in our partnership, also emanating from the Lilly Grant Program, is an annual spring conversation between senior Social Work majors who have recently completed an intensive practicum experience and alumni who are practicing social workers. The “Conversation on Social Work, Service and Vocation” involves participants in reflection and discussion of “their path of authentic service” and how their aspirations to serve have been impacted by the realities of service work. As might be expected, the insights shared in this evening come from the heart, relay emotions ranging from the joy of meaningful client interactions to the self-questioning prompted by difficult situations, and always highlight how the theoretical from social work courses plays out in the reality of service work.
To explore developing ways that your department can partner with the Piper Center for Vocation and Career, please contact Branden Grimmett ’03 at 507-786-3268.