OFFICE OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
Kate Shannon Biddle
Director of Student Affairs
Practica are faculty-supervised, course-credit team projects completed for a client organization during the school year that give students a firsthand opportunity to apply their policy skills to help address complex problems. Through these well-defined projects, students are able to analyze and evaluate programs, develop and administer surveys, conduct needs assessments, and engage in other policy-relevant research. Clients are able to use practica to enhance their own organizations' work, often to accomplish projects that they do not have the resources to address.
Occurring during the academic year, practica are faculty-supervised group projects initiated by client organizations for which students receive course credit at the project's completion. As with group internships, the School works with client organizations to design practica that are feasible and effective in meeting the goals of both the School and the client. Practica are typically designed for three to four students, providing each student 8 to 10 hours of work per week on their particular project. This work is typically done off the client site, although students communicate regularly with agency staff throughout the project and may meet occasionally as well.
Through well-defined team projects, students are able to analyze and evaluate programs, develop and administer surveys, conduct needs assessments, and engage in other policy-relevant research programs. Client agencies are able to use practica to enhance their own organization's work, often to accomplish projects that agencies do not have resources to address.
Recent organizations with which Chicago Harris has partnered include the Illinois Department of Revenue, Action for Children, Cook County Assessors Office, and Ceasefire Illinois.
All Chicago Harris MPP students will be informed of practicum opportunities via email approximately one month prior to course registration each quarter. Any specific information or requirements for practicum registration will be provided at that time. All students participating in a practicum must enroll in the course for the quarter, as it counts as an elective and one of three courses taken in a given quarter.
Chicago Harris staff will work with your organization to shape projects, determine feasible timelines and deliverables, and clarify what support will be required and provided to the project. Because of the short time frame for these projects (ten-week academic quarters) it is essential that projects are ready for students to begin work immediately at the start of the quarter. Therefore, all plans for practica should be finalized at least one month prior to the beginning of each academic quarter. The Fall Quarter generally begins in late September, Winter Quarter in early January, and Spring Quarter in mid-March. If your agency or organization would benefit from working with Chicago Harris on a practicum, please complete the application (the link is under the more additional information menu to the right).