For many students, finding professional workplace experience while in college is tough.
David Seitz, Ph.D., English professor, believes this shouldn’t be so. Seitz’s ENG 3000 Business Writing course teams students up with local businesses for a service-learning project that tasks them to write professionally to please a real boss.
“This course is all about flexibility and problem solving,” said Seitz. “In the real world, clients and bosses can change their mind at any time. Students need to know how to cope with those types of situations.”
This semester, groups worked with organizations and businesses like Owen’s Place, a project to increase local recreation for individuals with disabilities, and Home, Inc., an agency from Yellow Springs that promotes affordable housing in the region.
Seitz’s students assisted their chosen organization by designing or updating manuals and brochures, developing presentations and websites, working on newsletters, conducting interviews and collecting data.
To make the grade, they must work together for the entire semester to forge a professional relationship with a local business or organization.
“When our final group initially started as two teams, we had two completely different ideas,” said Tyler Romie, senior business management major. “Because we collaborated and combined our efforts, we made a better product.”
According to Seitz, students had to make a number of business communications. To better understand what their client wanted out of their project, the students had to develop a symbiotic relationship with their community partner.
By creating these communications, Seitz’s students are doing the types of assignments that are commonly taught in normal business-writing courses.
Along with receiving a grade for their efforts, students created materials that their community partner could actually use. In this way, Seitz’s class is a prime example of how service-learning can be mutually beneficial to both the student and the local organizations.
Lora Haber, a senior mass communication major, and her group worked with Home, Inc., an agency that creates opportunities for affordable housing in Yellow Springs through financing and homebuilding. Students learned about concerns of affordable housing and designed a brochure to interest potential members, donors or homeowner clients.
“For a small shop like ours, we encounter capacity issues—we can’t hire the people to produce brochures,” said Tom Clevenger, program manager for Yellow Springs Home Inc. “This service-learning class allowed my agency to work with the students through the multiple revision processes to get the type of brochure we really wanted.”
“The students got a real glimpse into the hectic time constraints of the real world and learned how to overcome communication issues to produce a final product that met my needs,” said Clevenger.