Timeline and FAQ: Creating a Praxis Independent Study
For Fall 2023
This overview provides information about the timing and steps involved in designing a Praxis Independent Study (PIS) course for next semester. Completing a PIS Course Proposal and eventually a Learning Plan are two essential steps in developing your course.
Please note that in-person fieldwork with local organizations is recommended but, in some cases, students may also design a course around a hybrid or fully remote fieldwork experience (in the US).
1. Review information on the Praxis Independent Study webpage.
2. Attend the PIS Information Session on Thursday, April 6, from 4-5 PM in The Well (173). Register in Handshake: https://app.joinhandshake.com/edu/events/1267912
3. Schedule a Praxis consultation with either Liv Raddatz (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tiffany Stahl (email@example.com) to discuss your interests and the PIS course development process. It is helpful to have this conversation prior to completing the PIS Course Proposal Form.
4. Have a conversation with your Dean and/or Major Advisor to discuss how a PIS course would fit into your course schedule next semester.
5. Submit a PIS Course Proposal by Friday, April 21, 2023, at 5 PM. You will be asked to identify your course learning objectives, potential field sites, and a potential Faculty Advisor for your course. A blank version of the proposal form can be previewed here.
6. Reach out to potential Faculty Advisor for your course. Discuss your interests and learning goals. Share your PIS Course Proposal with them.
7. Identify and contact potential field sites for your course. Please review the Quick Tips for Finding Praxis Field Placements document. If you find you are unfamiliar with the landscape of organizations related to your topic/field of interest, schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor in the Career & Civic Engagement Center to complete an internship search, drop in for Career Peer hours, visit the online Civic Engagement Directory of Local Non-Profit Organizations, visit the current and archived versions of the Praxis Blog, and talk with Praxis staff, friends, Major Advisors, other faculty, and Deans about your interests to learn more about what they know or with whom they have worked.
8. Secure a Faculty Advisor for your course and have them confirm their approval of your Course Proposal. They should confirm their approval via email to you and copy Praxis Program staff, Liv Raddatz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Tiffany Stahl (email@example.com) on the message. Due Thursday, May 4th, at 5 PM.
9. Attend the required PIS Learning Plan Development Workshop on Thursday, May 11, at 11 AM via Zoom. Click here to register in Handshake.
10. Secure a field placement: Communicate with potential field sites—once you have a field placement confirmed, let Praxis staff and your Faculty Advisor know. Work with your Field Supervisor to determine your responsibilities, work schedule, fieldwork learning objectives, and the skills you would like to develop through the fieldwork. You need to have a confirmed field placement by Friday, August 11.
11. Develop the Learning Plan for your course: maintain contact with your Faculty Advisor to finalize your course description, learning objectives, readings, assignments, and meeting schedule.
12. Submit a draft of your Learning Plan by Wednesday, August 30, at 5 PM
13. Submit a final PIS Learning Plan with Faculty Advisor and Field Supervisor approval by Friday, September 8, at 5 PM. The registrar will register PIS students following final approval by Praxis staff.
14. Attend the Praxis Independent Study Orientation (required) on Friday, Sept. 8, from 12:00 –1:00 PM in the Student Life and Wellness Building, Room 173.
15. Begin Praxis fieldwork the week of Sept. 11 (second week of classes).
Who can take a Praxis Independent Study course? Are there any prerequisites or restrictions?
Students interested in taking a Praxis Independent Study course should be sophomores and above and in good academic standing. There are no other prerequisites for taking a Praxis Independent Study course. (Students do not need to complete a Praxis I or Praxis II course in order to take a Praxis Independent Study course). Keep in mind that a student can take a total of two Praxis Independent Study courses during the course of her time at the college.
Where do I begin?
Many students come to the Praxis office with this question. It is best to begin the process of creating a Praxis Independent Study course by visiting the Praxis website. There, you will find stories and experiences of former Praxis students, which may help you to begin formulating your thinking about your interest in pursuing a Praxis course. It is also a great idea to attend a Praxis Independent Study information session. Information sessions are usually held one to two weeks before pre-registration, or just after fall and spring break. At the information sessions, you will have an opportunity to view a Praxis video, talk with students who are currently enrolled in a Praxis Independent Study course, and talk individually with Praxis staff who work with you throughout the process. If you cannot attend an information session, then you can set up an appointment to meet with someone in the Praxis office at another time.
What are the steps I need to take to design a Praxis Independent Study course?
It is best if you arrive at your Praxis meeting with an idea of what you would like to study. What are your learning objectives for a Praxis Independent Study course? You will have an opportunity to discuss these learning objectives with the Praxis staff, as well as consider ways in which you might reframe or broaden your questions to make your proposal more unique.
Praxis Independent Study credit is given from a department, so it is also a good idea to think about what department you would like to receive credit from. You will need to find a faculty advisor to work with throughout your Praxis Independent Study course. Have you already thought of someone? Who are you considering? Who will you be contacting?
You will also need to identify a field placement. If you have identified a particular site, have you contacted them? Have you made arrangements for your Praxis Independent Study course with this site? What arrangements have you made? If you have not identified a site, what are you thinking about? Keep in mind that faculty members and Praxis staff can serve as excellent resources when trying to identify a field placement opportunity.
You will use all of this information to create a proposal for your Praxis Independent Study course. This proposal must be approved by your Academic Dean and the Director of Praxis. After approval of the proposal, you will need to complete a Praxis Independent Study Learning Plan. This information must be approved and signed by your faculty advisor, your field placement supervisor, the field placement coordinator, and the Director of the Praxis program, before you can begin work at your field placement.
How do I register for a Praxis Independent Study course? Who should I contact if it is not listed?
Once your Learning Plan has been completed and signed, turn it in to the Director of Praxis, who will then notify the Registrar’s Office that the Praxis Independent Study Learning Plan has been approved. At this point, a course registration number will be created for the course. If you review your schedule and transcripts to find that your Praxis Independent Study course has not been listed, please contact the Registrar’s Office.
Can I get reimbursement for transportation to and from my field placement?
Yes. You are reimbursed 100 percent for Praxis courses. Additional information about travel reimbursement and forms for recording travel expenses can be found on the Praxis website and the Community Service website.
Is there a list of field placement opportunities available?
Due to the unique nature of each student’s learning objectives, their previous experience with community service or internships, ongoing partnerships between the college and the local community, and newly developing partnerships, there is not a list of field placements available to prospective Praxis Independent Study students. The Civic Engagement Office does offer a list of local service organizations which might serve as a useful guide for getting started. We cannot guarantee, however, that we have a partnership with each organization on the list or that the contact person will still be the same.
What is the difference between a Praxis Independent Study course and an internship?
Typically, an internship provides an opportunity for a student to gain real world experience in a setting outside of the classroom and acquire knowledge and skills that may benefit them when they enter the workforce. Many times, students who participate in internships do not receive academic credit for the work they do.
Praxis courses can be similar to internships, in that they place the student in a setting outside of the classroom, where they will gain real world experience and acquire knowledge and skills that may be useful to them when they enter the workforce. The difference between Praxis Independent Study courses and internships is that a Praxis course is created out of a set of learning objectives or questions that a student has around a particular theoretical concept and its application in the field placement setting. It is a highly academic, reflective course structured by the student’s experiences in the field placement. Students who take a Praxis Independent Study course do receive academic credit for their work.