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HUS 498: Senior Seminar in Human Services: Seminar Paper

A capstone course designed to integrate previous course work in human services. Through readings, written assignments, and oral presentations, students demonstrate their ability to integrate theory with human services practice and administration. Previous

Seminar Paper

Integrative Seminar Paper

Students are to submit an Integrative Seminar Paper demonstrating their ability to integrate knowledge obtained in the classroom with their field placement experiences. Furthermore, these papers are to demonstrate the students' understanding of and appreciation for the values and ethics of human service professionals and the Saint Leo core value of respect.

Consider using information from the National Organization on Human Services’ ethical code

Students will use their field placement agency to develop their integrative seminar paper. This assignment will help students to review information learned in previous Human Services helping skills, policy, research, and administration classes.

It is suggested that students arrange for supervisory meetings in their agencies to gain access to some of the material required to write this paper.

This paper can be done in parts with each part worth 10% or it can be done as a whole worth 30%.

I. Agency Report


A. Formal Structure

1. Mission statement

2. A detailed history of the development of the agency and its programs;

3. A detailed description of all of the services provided by the agency; and information about community resources available to the agency; competitors/cooperative relationships; governmental/legal restrictions

4. A description of its operating budget; sources of operating revenues (Remember: budgets may be sensitive information)

5. Copy of agency annual report

6. Formal organizational structure (Organizational Chart) including Board of Directors/Trustees’ composition: representative of population served: sources of community influence; committee structure; turn over

7. A description of how policy is formulated and description of existing decision making processes

8. Description of existing loci of control

9. A discussion of the value base of the agency, including an analysis of the extent to which the agency adheres to ethical standards for human service workers.

B. Planning and Program Evaluation

1. Describe the existing planning structure.

2. What are the long range plans for the organization?

3. What is the future of the organization? Will it have one and why/why not?

4. Are services systematically evaluated?

5. How are the results of these evaluations used?

C. Informal structures

1. Management/Leadership Style

a) how are management relationships developed?

b) describe and analyze your observations of staff meetings.

c)  what does staff tell you about management?

2. Informal Structure

Find the informal structure within the organization (e.g., is there a low-ranking staff member who is on a first name basis with the Director/Executive Officer?) How important is it? (i.e., how does it help/hinder daily operations of the organization?)

3. Personnel Assessment

a) determine staff attitudes toward personnel assessment

b) how is it used? (To reward/punish?)

c) describe grievance procedures/sexual harassment policies

II. Student Service Provider Activities


A. Ethical Dilemmas in Placement Settings and Values Issues

1. What are some important human service values?

2. What are the key ethical principles?

3. Identify basic human service worker responsibilities

4. How is the issue of confidentiality dealt with in your agency?

5. A discussion of the extent to which the agency's value base coincided or

conflicted with the students' own personal values and Saint Leo's value of respect;

6. What ethical dilemmas (client-related, student-related, or supervisor-related) have you had to deal with in your agency?

7. How were they resolved?

B. The Agency, Social Problems and Social Policy

1. To what extent does the agency address Social Problems?

2. To what extent does the agency promote social change?

3 to what extent does the agency attempt to influence social policy?

C. Description and Analysis of Students' Learning Activities.

1. Information about how the students used the community resources available to

the agency;

2. A description of the various roles enacted by the students (e.g., group facilitator,

Case manager, administrative assistant);

3. A description of a students' typical day at the agency;

a) what are some significant things already learned?

b) what new skills have been tried thus far?

c) was your time used effectively? How could it have been improved?

4. A detailed analysis of a particular role played by the students (e.g.,for an individual activity: making the initial contact; negotiating the contract; developing the relationship; enacting a solution; assessing the change; termination).

D. Supervisory Conferences

1. Have you been sufficiently oriented to the agency?

2. How much independence and consultation is required for your assignments?

3. What are the qualities of an effective supervisory conference?

4. To what extent can you actively participate in the conference?

E. Applying Theory to Practice

1. What theory or theories form the basis or rationale behind human service practice at the agency?

2. What therapeutic approaches are used at the agency?

3. How do these conform to what you learned in the classroom?

F. Termination

1. Were you taught how to terminate effectively with both the clients and the agency?

2. Were you encouraged to evaluate the field placement experience?

3. Was the evaluation of your performance discussed with you?

III. Student Evaluation


A. Students' Self-Evaluation.

1. An evaluation of the students' use of supervision. This is to include:

a) a description of the nature of their relationship with their agency supervisors

b) a discussion of those elements of the relationship that were particularly helpful; and, those areas in which improvements could or should have been made and why.

2. An evaluation of the students' professional self. This is intended to help the students clarify for themselves where their personal needs may have overlapped their professional responsibilities. Thus, this section is to include:

a) a discussion of any similarities between client problems and the students' own problems, or someone's problems close to them;

b) a discussion of the coping mechanisms students used in reaction to those problems and to work through the professional and personal conflicts;

c) a discussion of the effects that these client problems had on the students in carrying out their responsibilities.

3. An evaluation that includes

a) a discussion of their strengths as human service workers;

b) a discussion of their weaknesses as human service workers, and ways in which they can overcome those weaknesses or utilize them as arenas for growth; and,

c) a description of areas of human service in which they would feel most comfortable and why.