Freshmen and sophomore students can obtain research experience on an Africana Studies topic of their choice by completing AFST 250 [Directed Independent Study; 3 credits] under the supervision of a faculty member of the department. Normally, students wishing to complete this course should present the faculty member with a written research plan for the topic of interest in the semester preceding registration for the course.
Students pursuing the standard option of the AFST major are required to complete six credits of faculty supervised Directed Independent Study [AFST 498; 2-6 credits] before completion of the major. Research proposals associated with completion of AFST 498 should pertain to significant issues or experiences that normally are not available through regular course offerings. In most cases, students are required to secure approval for their project in the semester preceding registration for the course. The approval process normally begins with the student approaching a faculty member with a brief written description of the project [minimum 1 type-written page] which includes a brief statement of the project to be carried out, a bibliography of works to be studied, and a statement of the expected outcomes or findings for the project. Once the faculty member approves the project and agrees to provide supervision for the student’s work, the student is eligible to register for the course. The course is also available to non-majors.
Students majoring in Africana Studies who opt for the Community Involvement concentration are required to complete AFST 490 [Community Internship Project; 6 credits]. This course is designed to provide students with practical work-related experiences in a community agency (e.g., community planning, health, welfare, legal aid, educational, correctional services, and other development agencies). Generally, students are expected to have identified a possible internship site before attempting to secure faculty approval to register for the course. If not, then consultation with the faculty member can often help the student identify an appropriate site for the internship. As a part of the internship experience, students are expected to complete in a satisfactory manner, all agreed upon work-related responsibilities as defined through agreement with the field supervisor at the site. In addition, students must complete a 20-page internship paper describing and analyzing the total internship experience. This paper, which is to be submitted to the supervising faculty member, should capture challenges and problems overcome, tasks, projects, and activities completed at the site, and describe the overall learning and educational benefits of the internship placement for future students. The supervising faculty member uses ratings of work performance by the field supervisor in combination with his/her assessment of the internship paper to arrive at the student’s final grade for the internship project.
The AFST 490 Community Internship experience has afforded many students the opportunity to enhance their marketability to employers by acquiring important work-related experiences in such agencies as law and legal aid offices, museums, public school administrative offices, community wellness centers, health clinics, and volunteer service and community development agencies, among others. The Community Internship experience is also available to non-majors.