Second-year students enrolled in the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service’s online degree program, Clinton School Online, are completing their final Capstone projects this spring.
The Capstone project is the culminating course designed to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their expertise and learned knowledge, employing an independent study format primarily overseen by a Clinton School faculty advisor. It is the final piece of a public service curriculum with courses that include Leadership in Public Service, Data Analysis, Program Planning and Development, and Philanthropy Leadership and the Nonprofit Sector.
"The professionals who are students in our online program are engaged in wide-ranging projects having positive organizational impact as well as enhancing their own individual careers," said Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III.
Through the Capstone project, students apply the knowledge, skills, and values gained from their Clinton School curriculum to a real-world problem or challenge. The students understand, engage, and seek to transform complex systems and produce a deliverable that meets an identified community need.
The current online cohort is scheduled to graduate in May 2021. The first group of Clinton School Online students graduated in May 2020.
Below is a closer look at some of the projects.
Patricia Ashanti (Helena-West Helena, Ark.) – Delta Circles
Ashanti is creating a toolkit for developing the SELF (Savings and Entrepreneurial Leadership Forums) program for Delta Circles, a nonprofit providing programs and opportunities to challenge the way African American women think about themselves, their finances, and their businesses.
Rinda Hall (Little Rock, Ark.) – EAST Initiative Education Programs
Hall is reviewing best practices for the development of a toolkit to aid in the establishment of a benchmarking performance measurement system highlighting key performance indicators for the EAST Initiative staff and individual elective programs. This toolkit will provide decision-makers at the organizational and school level a holistic view of program model fidelity and quality.
Eulea Kiraly (Monticello, Ark.) – Storybook Project of Arkansas
Kiraly developed an evaluation and monitoring toolkit for the Storybook Project of Arkansas, a nonprofit that aims to keep incarcerated individuals connected with their families. The toolkit allows the Storybook Project of Arkansas to evaluate the long-term impact of the program on inmates after they return to the community.
James Knudsen (Atlanta, Ga.) – Research on Emergency Management and Preparedness
Knudsen is conducting a qualitative analysis of the true cost of Hurricane Harvey on the residents and cities of the greater Houston, Texas area. This analysis will be used to develop a framework for disaster risk reduction and disaster response management to be applied to this area and other similar populous areas to lessen the loss of lives and livelihoods by investing in a multi-sector collaborative effort.
Pam Margolis (Philadelphia, Pa.) – Evaluation of Pedagogy Curriculum
Margolis has developed a program plan to examine the effects of deliberative pedagogy on children of color in after-school programs. She has designed a curriculum in which students exercise power over their learning. Part of the curriculum also requires students to act as co-researchers in defining a problem and collecting data through the Photovoice Method.
Jeff Meador (Granbury, Texas) – Granbury Independent School District
Meador will assist Granbury ISD to increase dual credit participation among economically disadvantaged students at Granbury High School. With available state and federal funds as well as a public-private partnership, this program will build upon and expand academic intervention and communication initiatives to guide and encourage these students through a successful head start on a college education.
Amanda R. Nipper (Little Rock, Ark.) – Pediatric Healthcare Organizations
In order to better understand how pediatric healthcare organizations are addressing opportunities around diversity, equity, and inclusion, Nipper’s review is conducting a survey of more than 30 children's hospitals. The results of this study will allow organizations to better understand the work happening across pediatric healthcare including how imperatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion drive organizational culture, patient experience, and patient outcomes.
Lisa Taylor (De Queen, Ark.) – Case Study on Community and Economic Development Project
Taylor’s project is a case study of a community and economic development project that took place in Sevier County, Arkansas in 2018, and its implications for community engagement.
Aaron Utley (Conway, Ark.) – Social Media and the Pandemic Response
Utley is conducting a quantitative study to draw any correlation between communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic and access to social media platforms being used by state and local governments and agencies used to disseminate information regarding updates and safeguarding against the pandemic. The goal is to identify and potentially utilize the data to help educate communities to ensure they are able to receive the most updated information through social media platforms.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.