The History in Practice Project
The HISTORY IN PRACTICE PROJECT (HIPP) is an experimental project on studentcommunity engagement in curriculum design. Through a series of focused discussions and consultation workshops from October 2017 to February 2018, selected second and final year undergraduate History students and community-facing organizations will work together with the History Department's Director of Student Experience to design a new 30-CAT final year module for the History Department-including working out the structure, learning outcomes, assessments and aims of the module.
The module, which we anticipate will commence in October 2018, will focus on public history and include a significant component of student-community collaboration in the production of public history. This module will require students to engage with community and communityfacing organizations and to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice. As such, designing the module requires serious pedagogical consideration and consultation with both students and different organizations on how such a module might be successful for all participants, and still meet the rigorous academic standards expected from modules in the History Department. Student engagement in HIPP will help in shaping a module that attends to the needs of the learner, while the involvement of community-facing organizations that produce public history in this project is integral to ensuring a module that works well for these and similar organizations. Working together from the very early stages of development, student and community involvement in the HIPP will also provide a model for other academics interested in integrating student and community input in the curriculum. This project may also inform current efforts to diversify the curriculum and the rethinking of the educational function of arts and humanities degree. Through student-community partnership, HIPP aims to produce a module that is academically engaging, contributes to student personal development beyond the classroom, and also supports the production of local history and heritage.
What do you want your project to achieve?
The History Department at the University of Warwick offers a dynamic and intellectually challenging degree program to its students. It has consistently ranked among the top academic departments in the UK and has gained a reputation for innovation in research and teaching. Individual members of the History Department have always sought ways to encourage students to engage with community organizations, including taking students on field trips to museums, archives and local heritage centres. However, the integration of student- community engagement within the academic curriculum has been limited to these occasional and often one-off trips or projects. The HIPP aims to build on these individual endeavours by integrating students and community organizations in the development of curriculum within the Department in a more strategic way. By doing so it aims to champion innovative teaching and learning methods; build stronger and more lasting partnerships with a range of organizations; and serve as a model for student-community engagement initiatives throughout the Department and university.
The aims and legacy of this project are outlined as follows:
Development of third-year module
The primary outcome of HIPP is a third-year 30 CAT module in the History Department. This module will include one tenn of the historiography and theory related to public history. The second term of the project will focus on 'engaged learning'. Students will be required to work with a community or community-facing organization in the production of public history.
Best Practice Toolkit
The project will also result in a 'Best Practice Toolkit', which includes insights on how academic departments can work effectively and successful with community and community-facing organizations from the perspective of these organizations, and a listing of local organizations interested in working with undergraduate students.
Model for Student Input in Curriculum Design
Following the completion of the HIPP, a report will be produced, which includes feedback from participants. This report will be circulated among History Department staff, and other Department staff, as a guide for engaging students in the design of modules.
This project will result in a long-term module running year after year. It is also planned to impact on the way the Department of History works with community partners. In two years, we would like to explore the development of a Warwick University-based centre for student-community engagement and scholarship that involves multiple different departments, community organizations and students. We intend to seek the assistance of an IATL Strategic Fund to develop this innovative and interdisciplinary centre.
How many students will your project reach?
The project will initially involve 6 undergraduate History students in the development of the module. Once the module is developed, a minimum of 16 students will be able to take the module each academic year.
Which stakeholders will you involve?
From the beginning of the process, the HIPP will involve students in the development of the module, and will also include these students in the dissemination of the project. The project will also involve 5 representatives from community-facing organizations that will work on this module from the beginning to the end of its dissemination. Following the end of this project, there will be yearly meetings with students and organizations to assess the module and the academiccommunity partnership.
The following organizations have committed to taking part in this project and have submitted letters of support (see appendix):
Rugby Art Gallery and Museum
Rugby Art Gallery and Museum is a contemporary art gallery and museum displaying collections of Roman and local historical artefacts.
Warwick Country Records Office
Warwickshire County Record Office collects, preserves and provides access to documents recording the history of the county, its people and places. It holds records dating from the 12th century onwards and the collections cover a wide variety of historical documents, from old title deeds to recent baptism registers.
Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick
The Modern Records Centre is the main British repository for national archives of trade unions and employers' organisations, and has strong collections relating to pressure groups, fringe political parties and transport.
Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park
Compton Verney Art Gallery is an art gallery housed in a restored Grade I listed 18th century mansion surrounded by 120 acres of parkland which was landscaped by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. The Art Gallery is home to six permanent collections and has a programme of outreach and engagement with people in the local area via a series of outreach projects and art installations within the grounds. The special exhibitions programme offers both historic and contemporary shows and is designed to appeal to a wide audience.
Culture Coventry is the trust that manages three of Coventry's most important museums and historic sites: Coventry Transport Museum; Herbert Art Gallery & Museum; and the Lunt Roman Fort. Between them the attractions proudly tell stories of Coventry's unique and vibrant history.
Dr Meleisa Ono-George is the Director of Student Experience in the History Department and a senior teaching fellow in Caribbean history. In addition to historical research on race and sexuality in the Caribbean, Dr Ono-George is currently involved in pedagogical research on studentcommunity engagement and BME student experiences in HE.