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Practicum

I. Definition and Philosophy


The practicum in Hispanic Studies was established to ensure that students majoring in Hispanic Studies would have, before graduating, a mentored field research experience in Hispanic culture. The practicum is defined as an experience beyond the William and Mary classroom clearly linked to the Hispanic Studies curriculum; while it may be tied to a service learning opportunity or study abroad, it is always a mentored and scholarly endeavor.

The practicum is consistent with the College's mission "to provide a challenging undergraduate program with a liberal arts and sciences curriculum that encourages creativity, independent thought, and intellectual depth, breadth, and curiosity; to ... prepare students for intellectual, professional, and public leadership; to instill in its students an appreciation for the human condition, a concern for the public well-being, and a life-long commitment to learning; and to use the scholarship and skills of its faculty and students to further human knowledge and understanding, and to address specific problems confronting the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world."

The objectives of the practicum are to help students:

  1. Become aware of issues impacting the Hispanic communities with which they come into contact.

  2. Develop stronger connections with Hispanic communities, both locally and abroad.
  3. Apply their in-class learning to real-world situations.
  4. Develop frameworks for engaging real-world issues affecting Hispanic cultures.

  5. Perfect their fluency in Spanish language and culture by applying their knowledge through relevant first-hand experiences with Hispanic culture.

  6. Identify a meaningful set of experiences from which to draw on for their research projects in the capstone seminar.

If you plan to study abroad or to work in an internship with a Latino community, you should consider planning and submitting your practicum proposal for approval beforehand.

You can complete the work for HISP 400 while abroad, for example, but actually register for that course after you return to campus.  Ideally your  practicum would be related to the topic of one of the two  400-level courses that you will take in your junior or senior year -  that way you will have already explored a topic that you could develop into a research paper in a senior seminar or even an Honors Thesis.  We urge students who are going to study abroad to look carefully at the descriptions of these courses in the catalog numbered 413 – 493 for ideas and to speak with their major advisor about other possibilities.  The following is a list of tentative courses to be taught at the 400+ level in Hispanic Studies (please visit the on-line schedule for the most current information about courses offered):

Fall 2012:
HISP 489: Value, Money & Empire (Prof. Terukina)
HISP 493: El fraquismo y sus fantasmas, 1933-2012 (Prof. Cate-Arries)

Spring 2013:
HISP 485: Post-Franco Literature and Culture (Prof. Buck)

Fall 2013:
HISP 482: Love and Prostitution in Medieval Spain (Prof. Greenia)
HISP 417: Hispanic Cinema (Prof. Stock)

Spring 2014:
HISP 487: Pedagogy and Culture in Latin America (Prof. Root)

 

II. Putting the Practicum into Practice: Recent Cases in the Hispanic Studies Program


Faculty-mentored research projects conducted abroad:

  1. Hispanic Studies faculty members are often successful in obtaining grant funding in order to support undergraduate research abroad, in conjunction with the professor's own scholarly investigation.  Below is a partial list of  faculty whose past academic research projects have  been funded and who have included students as researchers:
    • Jonathan Arries, Nicaragua
    • Francie Cate-Arries, Spain
    • Regina Root, Argentina
    • Ann Marie Stock, Mexico
    • Silvia Tandeciarz
  2. Hispanic Studies courses that automatically count toward completion of the practicum are HISP 386 (summer abroad program in Cádiz, Spain) HISP 392 (only the Alternative Spring Break – Border Trip), HISP 399, HISP 498 (Internship, National Security Archives)
  3. Service-learning projects and extra-curricular experiences at home and abroad:  any of these  could serve as a foundation in which you explore the  expressive culture (art, literature, film, etc) that is relevant to your experience: 

a).  Medical interpretation Externship: Hispanic Studies has a partnership with Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. through which students can apply for a four-week summer externship as medical interpreters to work with health care professionals and migrant farmworkers.   Hispanic Studies majors, minors and Latin American Studies majors are eligible to enroll in the pre-requisite, a one-credit tutorial taught by Prof. Arries and to learn about the practice of  interpretation/translation and to learn the relevant medical vocabulary.  Alumna Kate Hibbs ('10) talks about her own experience in this externship, where she worked with pregnant women within the immigrant community in this video

b).  Students develop community contacts with local agencies in Williamsburg.  Examples are Olde Towne Medical Center, Avalon,  Literacy for Life, and other agencies that serve the Latino community.

c).  Students participate in W&M service programs in Latin America, and the U.S.  through the Office of  Community Engagement and Scholarship  or student organizations such as MANOSSOMOS, and Student Action with Farmworkers

d).  Two William and Mary rising juniors or seniors are eligible for the Embassy of Spain Internship in Washington, DC. This is an eight-week program supervised by the Consejero Cultural of the Embassy.

As a rule, the practicum should take you less than 20 clock hours and consist of less than 10 pages of writing. However, this is a scholarly project and some of that writing is an annotated bibliography so you will want to do some academic reading.  Here are the precise components that you will turn in to the professor who agrees to be your consultant:

  1. A list of the contacts that have been indispensable to your work. Include names, positions if applicable, addresses, e-mails, phone numbers of individuals, as well as relevant agencies and institutions.
  2. A reflection journal, written in Spanish, with a minimum of five entries. For the final entry, describe a particularly memorable aspect of your experience, using a specific example/episode to illustrate your remarks.
  3. An annotated bibliography of two or three works (books, articles) that are related to your fieldwork, and that have enhanced your understanding of the issues you have explored through your practicum.
  4. Directions for further research. If you were to develop an in-depth research paper shaped by this experience, what form/text of cultural production would you propose to investigate? Explain the rationale behind your choice.