Michelle Spencer

Interprofessional Program for Academic Community Engagement (IPACE) fellow is working to incorporate service-learning principles into her community health clinical course at the School of Nursing.

This is the beginning of a series from the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Interprofessional Program for Academic Community Engagement (IPACE) highlighting one of its inaugural fellows.

Michelle Spencer, DNP, RN, assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Health at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, is one of the inaugural IPACE fellows in the program that began in March.

As part of her fellowship, Spencer is working on incorporating service-learning principles into her existing community health clinical course. Each fellow is tasked with completing a project that enhances community engagement at UMB and for her project, Spencer is developing a storytelling assignment as a reflective activity for an existing community health clinical course taking place at Christopher Place.  

Her goal in this project is to use personal stories as a method to enhance students' awareness and growth in understanding the impact that economic, political, social, and demographic forces have on the clients they serve. As a fellow, she is supported by Dr. Lori Edwards, who is leading the fellowship, and by the other 13 faculty, staff, and community leader fellows. 

All the fellows have had to adapt to the new COVID-19 reality, but Spencer still plans to carry out activities between her students and the community with which they work, including having students interview residents residing at the clinical site. After the interview, they will write a short story that is inspired by the men they interact with. The writing could be a narrative, poem, video, or any other creative process. 

Because of COVID-19, this is just the beginning of the project. Spencer is still working on reflective activities for the students and a rubric. She hopes to fully implement this assignment into the course in fall 2021. 

To learn more about the IPACE Fellows Program and the work of the other fellows, please visit www.umaryland.edu/ipace/fellows-program-in-community-engagement/

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