I am a teacher.  Most of my teaching is in Emory & Henry College’s Department of Public Policy and Community Service, of which I am the chair. Part of my teaching also involves serving as the director of the College’s Appalachian Center for Community Service, director of the Emory & Henry College Bonner Scholars Program, and director of the College’s MA in Community and Organizational Leadership.  In my teaching, I seek to integrate who I am, the places I have known and in which I have served and work, people’s stories and memories, with the daily content of the course.  I ask the same of students. The Poco Field: An American Story of Place represents these same commitments and approaches.  The ideas and concepts that are the foundation of The Poco Field are woven throughout my teaching and my civic service.  My teaching cannot be separated from what this place has given me in my service.  It is in teaching that I have discerned ways to say and write clearly, what is at the core of the book.  Indeed, it would be nearly impossible to find where one ends and the other begins.

Persons who have been with me in classrooms and in other educational settings can tell you that I follow a relational model of learning following very closely on Paulo Freire’s problem-posing model. Building on the work of Parker Palmer, the learning communities I seek to facilitate are ones in which all persons are co-learners and co-educators together.  In the Public Policy and Community Service Program, all of my courses have connected with them an extensive civic engagement component in which students are applying classroom conversations and learning to the issues, problems, questions they confront in the places with which Emory & Henry is partnered.



I have included here a short description of several courses I routinely teach along with a link to the syllabi.

Introduction to Public Policy and Community Service  This course offers introduction to the College’s interdisciplinary program in Public Policy and Community Service, offering opportunities to explore the nature and meaning of service, justice, and place. Central to the course is the expectation that students will perform twenty-five hours of community service in one of several designated placements. These placements are designed to raise difficult questions that cannot be solved with a right answer, requiring instead honest responses. As a learning community we come to realize that these core concepts, and this tussling with right answers and honest responses forms the foundation of an effective citizenship of place.

Applied Civic Methodologies Together, participants in this class learn what it means to build strong community organizations and to apply specific civic skills in order to serve a particular place. Budgeting, finance, strategic planning, organizing community groups, meeting facilitation, interview techniques, fund development are a few of the topics we cover in this wide-ranging course.

Senior Practicum The senior capstone work in the Public Policy and Community Service Department is a two-semester experience. In preparation for the first semester, studnets write a detailed essay in which they explore the question of “Whom Am I?”. Instead of focusing on students’ career goals or professional objectives, while these are vey important, the course asks studnets to push themselves to come to understand who they are in the world and how they can use who they are, the gifts and talents they bring to the work of citizenship.  For some classes, the work associated with this course is that of a major place-based research project, for others classes, students are placed individually in agencies or organizations in which they can learn what it means to undertake effective work as an expression of their deepening sense of self.

Senior Seminar The final part of their capstone, this course provides graduating students in Public Policy and Community Service the opportunity to bring together all they have learned and come to understand and to begin to weave of life and career, the public and the private of who they are, a seamless garment.  Associated with this course is the senior project in which students undertake work on behalf of an agency, organization, or a larger place that draws on all they have learned, their self-understanding, and that offers significant, tangible good to the partners.

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Copyright (c) 2011 Talmage A. Stanley. All rights reserved.