The Action Research Seminar is a 300-level course cross-listed with Political Science and Sociology.
Every year, the seminar focuses on community projects that make a difference:
The class looked at the role of higher education in neighborhood revitalization. We partnered with the West Bloomington Revitalization Project to advance the strategic initiatives of youth, education, community wellness and safety, housing, economic development and greening.
Throughout the semester we meet with leaders in the community and resources on campus. Some classes are held out in the community.
Successful action researchers need an open mind, flexibility and creativity. Community development work can be chaotic and unwieldy. In this course, students will learn how to engage in the community, serve in a leadership role, and embrace the responsibility of citizenship.
We studied IWU’s civic engagement activities including individual volunteers and interns as well as athletics, Greek, and academic groups. The class created new ways for the campus and community to connect.
The class performed an Extreme Not-for-Profit Makeover at Western Avenue Community Center. We revamped the infrastructure of the agency including job descriptions, marketing materials, grant research, logic models and tracking mechanisms.
The team partnered with the Downtown Bloomington Association (DBA) while the downtown strategy was being considered by business owners and the city council. Students worked on individual projects that improved life downtown including writing the operations manual for the farmer’s market, studying small business recycling feasibility and hosting a college visit for at-risk youth from downtown and the Westside.
The seminar class studied how to improve the quality of life for youth on the Westside of Bloomington. The results of the class were captured in the Quality of Life Plan put forth by the West Bloomington Revitalization Task Force. The plan was later recognized with an award by the American Planning Association. ARC students continue to serve in leadership roles with the revitalization team including board members, committee chairs and even the interim executive director (twice!).