Master's Practicum

The following is taken from the 15th edition of the UM Anthropology Department Graduate Student Handbook.

The practicum is the centerpiece of our graduate program, providing practical experience in applied anthropology. Students usually work collaboratively with agencies engaged in applied research, community development and/or community health, and use anthropological knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.

Students in practica typically engage in activities such as research, grant writing, data analysis and program implementation and/or evaluation for governmental and non-governmental, non-profit and for-profit organizations such as health clinics, schools, police precincts, churches and community development agencies at the local, regional, national, or international level.

To earn practicum hours, students register for 6 hours of ANTH 7985. These 6 credit hours comprise completion of at least 300 hours of practicum project work, plus a written report and an oral presentation in a practicum colloquium. Each student is also encouraged to present their practicum results at a professional meeting, such as the SfAAs or AAAs.

A. Proseminar

MA candidates are required to complete the 1-hour ANTH 7984 Practicum Proseminar in their first semester. The Proseminar prepares students on the practicum process (e.g. finding a partner organization, developing a practicum agreement, setting goals and objectives); performance (expectations, mentors, technical and writing skills, critical thinking); skills (data collection and analysis, technical writing); reporting (structure, content, presentation style, linking theory and practice); and professionalism (job search, vita, cover letter, interviewing, ethics), plus practicum planning exercises and attendance at the Practicum Forum.

B. The Practicum Project

The practicum project can be completed by working 20 hours per week for one 15-week semester. However, depending on the agency and assignment, students may arrange a more flexible schedule to fulfill required hours. For instance, students may work fewer hours per week over a longer period (e.g., 10 hours per week for one academic year), or they may work extended hours for a shorter period (e.g., 40 hours per week for 7.5 weeks during the summer). In some cases, students may be permitted to register for practicum hours in a given semester but complete their assignment during a different period.

In order to ensure that the practicum is a rewarding experience, students must work closely with a faculty advisor and an agency supervisor to plan their assignment. Students can ask different faculty members to serve as their practicum advisor and their degree committee chair, although typically, one person will fill both roles. While the practicum is usually undertaken late in the degree program, students should begin planning early in their graduate career, in consultation with their faculty advisor(s).

When performing a practicum, the student is an ambassador of the Department and the contracting agency. The practicum also creates a foundation for future collaboration between the University and the contracting agency. Therefore, it is essential that students fulfill all commitments and conduct assignments in a responsible and professional manner.

C. Practicum Agreement

Students should prepare a formal "practicum agreement," specifying all duties and obligations necessary to fulfill their assignment. The agreement describes what the student will do, how she/he will do it, what the student expects to learn from the experience, and who is responsible for evaluating the practicum performance. The student, their practicum advisor, and their agency supervisor should all sign copies of the statement; each should retain a copy for their records. Ideally, the student's full committee should be appointed before the practicum, though this is not mandatory. Once the committee is formed, all committee members should be given a copy of the agreement. A boilerplate for the practicum agreement is included in the appendix.

D. Practicum Report Policy

The program is designed to focus on the practicum experience. Upon successful completion of practicum responsibilities, all graduate students are required to submit a formal report. Practicum reports should follow the general structure outlined below. Students should work with their practicum supervisor to determine the appropriate report length. This report is an important department-specific product that is distinct from other practicum deliverables.

The practicum report addresses each of the program learning goals (see appendix). It is viewed as an essential record of the student's ability to apply anthropological theories, methods and ethical principles in the conceptualization, design, implementation, and analysis of a community-based research project, and to demonstrate effective written communication.

Due dates for a practicum report draft and submission of the final, approved report should be set by the advising committee chair. At a minimum, a full draft should be distributed to the graduate student's full advising committee at least six weeks before the end of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. Allow a minimum of two weeks for faculty members to review and return drafts with comments. All committee members must approve the final practicum report. Approvals can be made electronically (sent by email) to the committee Chair. Once approved, electronic copies of the final report must be submitted to the advising committee, practicum supervisor, and the Anthropology Graduate Coordinator, who will place the report on file in the Department's permanent digital record.

E. Practicum Report Structure

The report is typically 15-30 typed double-spaced pages. Below are specific guidelines for what you should include in your report. Because practicum assignments vary, students should consult with their committee for specific guidance on report preparation.

A Practicum Report Checklist is included in the appendix to further assist in its production. The report structure is as follows:

1. Title page. Provide a brief title specifying the agency, the nature of the assignment, and the student's name. Near the bottom of the page, include this statement: "This report is submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the Master of Arts in Anthropology." Below this statement the student should enter the semester in which the report will be filed (e.g., Spring 2017).

2. Executive Summary (1 page). Offer very brief bullet points summarizing items 3-6, below. This should form the second page of the report.

3. Introduction. Begin the report by summarizing the nature of the practicum (i.e., evaluation, grant writing, etc.). It should include a description of the supervising agency (the administrative context within which the practicum was conducted), an outline of assigned responsibilities (attach a practicum agreement, job description, or scope of work as an appendix), and a summary statement of the assignments goal(s) and greater significance.

4. Background and Theoretical Framework. Provide a context for the practicum, drawing on relevant literature, and provide the theoretical foundation for your work.

5. Practicum Assignment and Methods. Provide specifics on assigned duties and/or research methods used.

6. Results and/or Outcomes. Provide a detailed discussion of data, findings and/or outcomes achieved by the practicum.

7. Discussion & Significance. Prepare a substantive statement on the practical and theoretical value of the practicum experience, and explore the implications of any research or practical outcomes. Drawing on your results and outcomes section, discuss and critically analyze links between your training, anthropological literature and the practicum.

8. Concluding Remarks. Reflect critically on any challenges and discoveries, and any disparities between the outcomes you anticipated and those you achieved during the course of the assignment. Offer summary remarks which you feel are relevant to the general conduct and/or organization of your practicum. This statement should also offer recommendations for modifications in future comparable practica.

9. Appendices and attachments. These may be minimal or extensive, as appropriate and depending upon the nature of the practicum assignment. The practicum agreement, job description, and any materials prepared by the student as a part of the project should be included (e.g., grants, bibliographic references, reports, or evaluations produced as a part of the practicum duties).

10. Vita. Attach a copy of your current curriculum vitae.

F. Practicum Forum

The practicum forum is held every Spring semester and in Fall semesters as needed. The presentation allows students to practice their oral communication of anthropological themes and topics, and share what they have learned through the course of their practicum experience with other students and faculty. Presentation slots are 30 minutes in duration, with 20 minutes for a formal presentation and 10 minutes for Q&A/discussion. Students must present in the Fall or Spring prior to graduation from the program. In order to qualify to present at the practicum forum, students must have submitted a draft practicum (minimally to their Committee Chair) 3 weeks prior to the presentation date. Presentations should be tightly developed and well-rehearsed and cover the content of a student's practicum report. Following their presentation, students must submit any visual presentation (e.g. PowerPoint) and notes pages to their Graduate Committee (see Appendix II for Checklist).

G. Practicum Product Submission

To complete the practicum requirement, students must submit electronic copies of the following items to all committee members, plus the Graduate Coordinator and Department Chair: (1) practicum report (2) agency deliverables (3) Practicum Presentation Powerpoint with notes pages and (4) CV/Resume. Students must obtain signatures on their practicum checklist form (see Appendix II) and return the form to the Graduate Coordinator. Once the signed checklist form is received, the Graduate Coordinator will send notification to practicum supervisor to issue a completion grade for the practicum hours. Failure to submit practicum deliverables and the signed form will result in a delay in graduation.