Posted: July 18th, 2022
Service Learning Project
This course utilizes a problem-based, service-learning approach to familiarize you with the core theories, principles, and skills of public service and community leadership. As such, you will be working on a semester long project that will allow
you to apply the skills and knowledge from this course in a real-world context.
For this assignment, you will research and identify a current issue, problem or challenge that is affecting local government. By targeting “local government” it will allow you to focus in on a specific and identifiable item as opposed to the larger scale one at the national or international level. Being more local and specific will allow for greater depth to the project
and a better final result.
And of course, make sure to incorporate what we have read in the textbook as it can relate to the project.
For example, you might state something such as, “This action taken by Anytown, USA is a good example of how Guy and Ely present the
usage of ______ in Chapter XX of the textbook” or such similar examples. If you find other resources to use to support your papers of course use them too.
One important thing to remember: YOU CANNOT HAVE TOO MUCH INFORMATION OR DETAIL IN YOUR PAPER. I won’t take off points for telling me too much about the problem or the solution(s) or going over the page count, but you can
lose points for not telling me enough.
For this project, you will:
• Research and identify a local issue currently seen as a challenge to local government. Local government can be local to the immediate your area or can be local to a community you so choose. For example, if you are from out of state, your subject can be related to that specific community. (i.e., a northern local government may have a challenge of keeping roads clear in the winter to prevent accidents).
• You are completely open to identify any such problem that you like. Just keep in mind it has to be something of concern to the local government and has to be something they are working on in some fashion to address. For example, how any city or community is addressing the homeless population would be an example but not why the county hasn’t come out to fix one pothole in front of your house.
• In a 10+ page, double-spaced, APA format report, detail what you have identified as a current challenge to a local government. This report should include some of the following but of course more items if you think they are pertinent to the report (Remember, the more detailed the better!) The minimum is 10 pages, not including any title page or reference pages you may have. You can go over 10 pages with no penalty but less than 10 will affect your grade.
• The first aspect can be identified as the “Definition of the Challenge or Problem”. This includes aspects such as:
o Clearly defining the problem or challenge under consideration.
o This includes identifying the issue, defining its parameters (i.e., discussing the scope, magnitude, and
extent of the problem), and discussing any known or perceived causes of the problem.
• Your problem definition should be comprehensive and non-biased. In other words, you should look at the problem from all relevant perspectives.
o The specific location\local government identified (i.e., The Township of Anytown, USA not just “in Florida”
o The specific issue presenting the challenge (i.e., “The invasion of the invasive species of ducks in the main street park and how park visitors are being affected” as opposed to just “some wildlife in the city park”.
o Background of the problem…how long has it existed, what is being done so far, any policies in place to correct it?
o How many people does it affect? Is it street flooding that is affecting a few thousand or the ducks
mentioned above only affecting a few hundred that might visit that park?
o Provide evidence of the problem\challenge as documented by local news stories, articles, etc. Not just something that is affecting one or two people,
• In the next step you should include the “Identification of Relevant Stakeholders and Actors”. This process includes:
o Defining the affected community. This includes identifying all stakeholders who are impacted by the
problem and what their primary concerns/perspectives are.
o It’s important to consider all groups and individuals who might impact and/or be impacted by the
problem, regardless of whether the impact is considered to be primary, secondary, or tertiary.
• The overall goal is to identify a problem a local government is having to address and how it is affecting citizens of that area. Every day, local governments have to deal with issues from residents from potholes in roads, to street flooding to getting building permits issued, to stray animals, etc. And now you can of course see how local governments are having to deal with COVID testing and all the logistics related to that.
• Take the issue or concern you identified and develop a course of action for potential resolution.
• This step can be identified as the “Identification and Analysis of Alternatives” phase. In this step you should:
o Review the evidence gathered through your research in Part 1 and develop alternative solutions, potential effectiveness, best practices, etc.
o This is where you discuss potential actions that can be taken in/by the affected communities, what the
potential pros/cons (i.e., costs and benefits) of those actions are, and what’s been learned about these
potential actions in other communities.
o Use examples from other communities around the country to show what they did and if it worked or not.
Even failures by other communities are important as it shows you researched the topic, and much can
always be learned by what didn’t work somewhere else.
o This discussion should be evidence-based and should be informed by both your background research and your discussions/interactions with the community partners.
• Finally, your paper which can also be called a “policy brief”, should conclude with a series of no less than two or three evidence-based recommendations. This is known as “Recommendations and Rationale”. This should include a list of no less than two actions that you recommend the affected institutions, organizations, and/or communities may take in order to address the problem. Recommendations should be directly relevant to the assigned problem and communities and they should be informed by your research and discussed in light of the
relevant evaluative criteria (i.e., cost/benefit, efficiency, effectiveness, equity, feasibility, etc.). Think outside the box as if someone was paying you to solve the problem.
Hint for moving forward: Your paper should at least include sections of the four bolded areas above and within each area, all of the bullets points under that specific bold topic should be addressed.
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