Social Justice and Our Community

Social Justice and Our Community

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) will offer a service-learning course to all UMB students for the fall 2017 semester.

Students will receive hands-on, professional experience with community health programs by working with partner organizations in the community surrounding UMB.

Through service learning, students will learn how community health programs are developed, organized, implemented, and evaluated as well as how interprofessional teams successfully function, how to interact with individuals and groups living in our community, and how to report on their observations to peers and supervisors.

Students who wish to take this course will register through their school’s normal registration process.

Course Description and Requirements

  • Course Name: CIPP 970: Interprofessional Service – Social Justice and Our Community
  • Semester Offered: Fall 2017
  • Course Credit: 1 credit hour (tuition free)
  • Hosting School: UMB Graduate School
  • Instructor: Lori Edwards, DrPH, MPH, RN, PHCNS-BC
  • Email:
  • Office Telephone: 410-706-1929

Course Introduction & Goals

This course links the experiential with the theoretical by providing hands-on professional experience in UMB’s surrounding community. Students from all University programs are encouraged to enroll in this course.

Providing true service learning is the ultimate goal of this course in which students will learn by providing for the expressed need of the community. Students will learn how community health programs (broadly defined) are developed, organized, implemented, and evaluated; how interprofessional teams successfully function; how to interact with individuals and groups living in our community; as well as how to report their observations to peers and supervisors. Students will work with organizations with which the University has formed partnerships to meet the course learning objectives. Students will be required to reflect on the service-learning experience in formal written reflections.

Service learning is a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development. Reflection is a key element of service learning. It is one of the elements that differentiates service learning from community service. Equally important in differentiating service learning from community service is reciprocity between the person providing the service and the person receiving the service. Through the reciprocity associated with service learning, students gain a better sense of belonging to that community while community members are empowered to address and advocate for their own needs.

Course Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to explain the connection between course content and their service experiences.
  • Students will be able to paraphrase the definition of social justice.
  • Students will be able to give examples of the root causes of social injustice in the community in which they are doing their service project.
  • Students will be able to differentiate service from social change as they relate to their service-learning experience.
  • Students will be able to define characteristics and value of an interdisciplinary educational (IPE) approach to service learning.

Course Prerequisites

  • Successful completion of background check, if required by service site

Course Requirements

Students will be matched with a community partner and complete a total of 40 hours of service learning with the partner organization, a minimum of five hours of classroom training, and a series of assignments (see “Grading” below). The classroom content will include principles of service learning, community engagement and strategies for working in a reciprocal relationship with community partners.

Community partners will be selected from among community organizations with which UMB CBEL and faculty fellows have working relationships. Examples of partner organizations include: JACQUES Initiative, Southwest Partnership, International Refugee Committee, and Hollins House (mixed population housing).

Students will work in small interprofessional groups of three to five students for their community project. They will meet with the Community-Based Organization (CBO) partner during the first week of the semester to learn more about the CBO, the population they represent, and to discuss the projects that may be undertaken to meet the goals of the organization and community that they represent. The student team and CBO will jointly decide on an approach to the project that will utilize the student expertise and meet community goals. The students and CBO will establish a deliverable/”take home” product and make plans for meeting the course requirements.

HIPAA Statement

HIPPA regulations establish uniform rules for protecting the health information and privacy of our patients. You may not see or use protected health information unless it is required for your clinical assignment. Protected health information is any information that identifies an individual, could be used to identify an individual, describes the health care condition or payment of an individual, and/or describes the demographics of an individual.

Required Readings


Class Meetings

We will meet in-person three times over the course of the semester. Our first meeting will take place the week of Sept. 5, 2017 (day and time TBD) and will be an orientation to the class, principles of service learning, and your community partner. All meetings will take place in the Community Engagement Center. The second meeting will serve as a mid-semester group check in and peer mentoring. The final meeting will present your “take home” product and discuss your experiences in the course.

Grading Information

This is a one-semester pass/fail course where students will have until the end of the fall 2017 semester to complete the 45 hours of training, service, and reflection. Each project may require separate time commitments and responsibilities. Students will be evaluated on the completion of their service-learning project requirements including:

  1. Professionalism: The student maintains the expected level of professionalism during the course.
  2. Service-subject matter relation: Service activities allow students to apply what they have learned during their professional program.
  3. Class contemplates learning through service: The students must document service activities on a weekly basis as well as record reflections on their experiences in the community, submit a mid-semester sample weekly reflection, and submit a final reflection paper.
  4. Service recipients evaluate service: Sponsoring agencies will be asked to evaluate the service activities. A variety of survey forms are being developed (and may include student involvement in the development of these forms) that will involve focus group and possibly brown bag activity recipients.
  5. Interdisciplinary learning: students may learn from each other through different skills or attributes in providing information or in “people” skills or professional practice. In addition, the group reflection sessions will permit the students to learn from each other in different activities in which they have participated.

Grading Criteria

  1. Course preparation, attendance and engagement (10 percent)
  2. Weekly reflections (not graded) and final course reflection papers (30 percent)
  3. CBO mentor individual evaluation (20 percent)
  4. Group project report (40 percent)


Reflection is one of the most critical pieces of service learning. It is the structured time in which students move from participation into deeper understanding. We want students to think about their experiences not only in the context of what they actually did, but also about how their experiences relate to their lives in a bigger sense and the decisions they will make in the future. All reflection activities should come back to the central question of how the service is connected to the learning, and how it is connected to each student’s personal development.

Examples of student reflection activities*

  • Keep an ongoing journal with specific reflection questions throughout the project
  • Compose a letter to one of the service recipients, or to a politician
  • Write a poem that reflects your experience for that week
  • Explain what scientific knowledge would help you with the project and why; see if you can get that information
  • Compile statistics on your project and compare them to other data available for similar circumstances
  • Create a skit based on your project and perform it for the class/school/parents

*Adapted from Loyola University, New Orleans

Lori Edwards Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, EducationAugust 28, 20171 commentGlobal Health Initiatives, Interprofessional Service, University of Maryland Baltimore Graduate School.

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