Praxis is an experiential, community-based learning program that integrates theory and practice through student engagement in active, relevant fieldwork. The program provides consistent, equitable guidelines along with curricular coherence and support to students and faculty who wish to combine coursework with fieldwork and community-based research.
There are three levels of Praxis courses, which require increasing amounts of fieldwork but do not need to be taken successively. Praxis I and II courses are offered within a variety of academic departments and are developed by faculty in those departments. Praxis III courses are Independent Study courses and are developed by individual students, in collaboration with faculty and field supervisors. Students may enroll in more than one Praxis course at a time and are sometimes able to use the same field placement to meet the requirements of both courses. Praxis-style courses taken at other institutions are subject to prior approval by the Praxis Office and the Dean’s Office.
.A typical Praxis course carries one unit of Bryn Mawr credit (the equivalent of four credit hours at other institutions).
Praxis courses on all levels are distinguished by genuine collaboration with fieldsite organizations and by a dynamic process of reflection that incorporates lessons learned in the field into the classroom setting and applies theoretical understanding gained through classroom study to work done in the broader community. The nature of fieldwork assignments and projects varies according to the learning objectives for the course and according to the needs of the community partner. In most Praxis courses, students are engaged in field placements or working on projects are useful to the field partner. In other courses, the focus is on developing a relationship between the College and a community organization that will ultimately benefit the organization as well as the College.
The Praxis Program is coordinated by the Civic Engagement Office, located in Dolwen on Cambrian Row. The Civic Engagement Office builds relationships between the College and the community with an emphasis on collaboration, reciprocity and sustainability. The Praxis Program staff assist faculty in identifying, establishing and supporting field placements in a wide variety of organizations, such as public health centers, community art programs, museums, community-development and social service agencies, schools, and local government offices. Faculty members retain ultimate responsibility and control over the components of the Praxis Program that make it distinctly academic: course reading and discussion, rigorous process and reflection, and formal presentation and evaluation of student progress.