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Monday, November 7, 2016

CFD Course Getting Students Field Experience and Jobs

One goal of the course is to give students in-the-classroom experience that also fosters personal, professional and intellectual development.

The students are getting that. What many of them are also getting is jobs.

“The students have reported satisfaction and validation in sharing knowledge they have learned in their course of study in these experiences,” said lecturer Christine Muecke, who teaches CFD 597: Field Experience for the College of Education’s Child and Family Development Department. “A surprise to us is that nearly one half of the students have been offered positions of employment following their volunteer service.”

CFD 597 gives senior students work experience in child and family development by volunteering for 120 hours over the course of the semester in different field settings such as schools, hospitals, early childhood centers and other public service organizations. The experience helps them to develop their professional identity, makes them more self-aware of cultural differences and helps them to explore potential career goals. The students are under faculty supervision as well as supervisors in their chosen field.

The students also meet in small groups four times over the semester to share their experiences and lend support to their peers. Additionally, they reflect about their experience in weekly journals.

“I feel that these experiences have been and continue to be quite fulfilling for our seniors as they report learning about their career choice or learn of additional career possibilities they had not yet considered,” added Muecke, who currently has 21 students in the fall 2016 section of her class.

For Michelle Ferguson, who is currently taking the class, the course is allowing her to experience what her future career as an educator will be like.

“I am able to spend a significant amount of time in the elementary classroom, allowing me to truly get to know each of the students I work with, and interact with them in the most effective manner,” Ferguson said.

“I have been able to use the knowledge that I've learned over the past few years, and apply it in a real-life situation.  This fieldwork experience has allowed me to feel more confident and competent in front of a classroom, and has made me more excited to pursue a career in education,” she concluded.