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Campus Compact > Syllabi > By an Ehrlich Award Recipient or Finalist > Principles and Methods in Human Services


Principles and Methods in Human Services

School: Elon University
Professor: Pamela M. Kiser

Ext. 6459
Alamance 213 D
kiserp {at} elon(.)edu
Office Hours: MWF 11:00-1:00, TT 1:00-2:30

In addition to the above hours I am generally in my office from about 8:00 until at least 3:00each weekday. While I make a special effort to guard the above office hours from the intrusionof other activities, I have found this to be impossible due to various meetings and administrativeresponsibilities. I encourage you to drop by any time but also feel free to schedule anappointment with me to be sure that you will find me in.


Kozol, J. (2000). Ordinary Resurrections. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.

Neukrug, E. (1994). Theory, Practice, and Trends in Human Services: An Emerging Profession. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Objectives: The student will gain

1. knowledge of the history of the helping professions and the evolution of services and social policy over time.

2. knowledge of the values and ethical principles of the helping profession and an ability to use these principles as guidelines for everyday practice.

3. knowledge of the helping process and the skills involved in establishing an effective helping relationship.

4. an understanding of the human services worker as a professional and the various roles which the human service worker assumes in the community.

5. knowledge and understanding of some of the major populations served by human services professionals and some of the specific sub-fields within human services.

6. an understanding of the human services system as a network and the strengths and weaknesses of this system.

7. awareness and understanding of his/her own strengths, weaknesses, interests, and goals as they pertain to the field of human services.


1. ATTENDANCE. Students are expected to attend class regularly, arriving on time and staying in class for the full class period. For each absence beyond three (3), two (2) points will be subtracted from the student's final grade. No distinctions are made between excused and unexcused absences. In the unlikely event that you should have an unusally debilitating illness, you may speak with me about this. It is the student's responsibility to inform me at the end of class if he or she has entered after the roll is called. Since promptness is emphasized, this should be extremely rare. Tardiness, leaving class early, or disrupting class by leaving and re-entering will also result in penalties on the student's final grade.

2. PROMPTNESS. Late work is not acceptable. All work is to be handed in during class on the due date. It should not be necessary to slide work under the professor's door and students do so at their own risk. This applies to any homework assignments as well as papers, tests, or projects. In order to have late work accepted, the student must submit in writing clear documentation of incapacitating illness or personal crisis. Students should also be aware that any late work which is accepted may carry a significant penalty. Please plan and complete your work in a timely fashion in order to accommodate the unexpected last minute events (e.g., illnesses, computer crashes, empty printer cartridges, etc.) which might interfere with your work.

4. SERVICE-LEARNING PROJECT. Each student is required to complete a forty (40) hour service-learning project in an appropriate human services setting. Each student will submit a Service-Learning Plan, reflection papers, a time sheet, and an evaluation as well as make a group presentation related to their service experiences. Further instructions are attached to this document and will be discussed extensively in class.

5. LIFE MATRIX PAPER. Each student will write a paper in which he/she explores his/her own personal development and behavior in light of the six components of the Life Matrix Model: organic make-up, psychodynamic make-up, self-concept, learned behaviors, sociocultural make-up, and environmental supports and stressors. This assignment will be discussed extensively in class.

6. HOMEWORK. Various assignments will be made to augment and enrich materials in the text and classroom work. Brief reaction papers, library readings, internet searches, etc. will be assigned as appropriate. Satisfactory completion of these assignments in a timely manner will be expected and recorded, The student's class participation grade will reflect this work.

7. CLASS PREPARATION AND PARTICIPATION. Students are expected to participate in class discussion, role plays, small group work, and other activities. In order to do so, students must enter class prepared (having read the assigned reading, completed any homework) and ready to stay on task. Also, students are expected to contribute to the creation of a positive classroom, an environment which is conducive to learning. The class participation portion of each student's final grade will reflect the impact which he/she has had on the overall learning environment in the course.

8. EXAMINATIONS. There will be three tests, including the final exam. Students will be responsible for all information covered in the readings as well as in class. Class time will not routinely be spent reviewing information in the text. Make-up tests are not given unless there is clear, written documentation that the student was unable to be present due to an incapacitating illness or severe personal crisis. Should there be any make-up exams, they will most likely be 60-70 minute oral exams.

9. WRITING. The Human Services Department expects all written work to be mechanically and grammatically correct (i.e. well-organized, correct spelling, noun-verb agreement, etc.). All written work will be evaluated with this in mind. Grades will reflect the quality of the writing as well as the content of the work. All written work for this class should be typed on a word processor.

10. HONOR CODE. All students sign the honor code upon entering the college. Students are expected to strictly comply with its terms. I will enforce this policy without exception in accordance with the policies and procedures within the Elon College Student Handbook, p. 37-39. Please review this policy carefully, noting that the academic honor code includes sanctions for the following behaviors: cheating, facilitating academic dishonesty, lying, plagiarism, and stealing and/or vandalism.

11. E-MAIL ACCOUNTS. All students are required to set up an e-mail account. I will use e-mail to communicate with students as needed. I encourage students to use this method to communicate with me as well as with other students.


Ballantine, J. & Risacher, J. (1993). “Coping with annoying classroom behaviors”. Paper presented at the 13th Annual Lilly Conference on College Teaching, Oxford, OH, November 12. Cited in Nilson, L. Teaching at its best. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

Nilson, L. (1998). Teaching at its best. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.


Service-Learning Project
Test 1
Test 2
Test 3
Life Matrix Paper
Class Participation
100 points
100 points
100 points
100 points
100 points
100 points

Evaluation Standards:
Grading of all tests and assignments will be in accordance with the Elon College catalogue
descriptions for each grade as indicated below:

A Indicates a distinguished performance
B Indicates an above average performance
C Indicates an average performance, work reflects a basic understanding of the subject
D Indicates a passing performance, despite some deficiencies
F Indicates failure

Grading Scale:

A 93-100
A- 90-92
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-12
D+ 68-70
D 63-67
D- 60-62
F 59 and below


Aug. 26 Overview of course

Aug. 28 & Sept. 2 What is a Human Service Worker?
Read Neukrug, Chapter I
Read Neukrug, p. 293-297

Sept. 4 Reserve reading: Learning from Service: Experience is the Best Teacher
or is it? by Conrad and Hedin
What is Service-Learning?

Sept. 6 & 9 Historical Forces, Social Policy, and Human Service Delivery
Read Neukrug, Ch. 2

Sept. 11 Read Kozol as assigned in class

Sept. 13 Community Partner Resource Person: Family Abuse Services

Sept. 16-20 What do Human Service Workers Do? Exploring Levels of Intervention
Read Neukrug, Chapter 6

Sept. 23 Test 1

Sept. 25 Turn in Service-Learning Plan
Read Kozol as assigned in class
In-class: Discuss service-learning work as it relates to Kozol

Sept. 27 & 30 Theoretical Approaches to Understanding Human Behavior
Read Neukrug, Chapter 3

Oct. 2-4 Understanding Human Development
Read Neukrug, Ch. 5
Due Oct 4: Reflection Paper 1 (IPM)

Oct. 7 Community Partner Resource Person: Salvation Army Boys and Girls
Read Kozol as assigned in class

Oct. 9 Reading on Reserve, Mehr, Causality of Problem Behavior/Deviance
Discussion of the Life Matrix Model
Life Matrix Papers Due Oct. 26

October 16-21 Community Partner Resource Person: Alamance County Social Services
Read Kozol as assigned in class

Oct. 23 & 25 Human Diversity and the Human Service Worker
Neukrug, Ch. 7

Oct. 28 Community Partner/Resource Person: Juvenile Services
Due: Reflection Paper 2 (IPM)

Oct. 30 Test 2

Nov. I Discuss Service-Learning
Discussion Theme: Civic Engagement, Social Justice and Me
Reading on Reserve/Meet in Presentation Groups

Nov. 4 Small group work on policy issues
Meet in library

Nov. 6 & 8 Developing Skills in the Helping Process
Read Neukrug, Chapter 4

Nov. 11-15 Future Trends in Human Services: A Look at Special Populations
Read Neukrug, Ch. 10, p. 264-278

Nov. 18-22 Future Trends in Human Services: Policy and Practice
Read Neukrug, Ch. 10, p. 278-292
Group work on policy issues

Nov. 25 Due: Service-learning Project
Turn in time sheets, evaluation forms, and Reflection Paper #3
Discuss, Reflect, Evaluate

Nov. 27 – Dec. 4 Service-Learning Policy Presentations

Dec. 11 Final Exam 11:30-2:30

Service-Learning Project

The service-learning project will serve as a type of laboratory throughout this course in which you will make connections between classroom content and real world experience. The term service-learning connotes that the project has two equally important goals: 1) serving and 2) learning. You are free to select the community agency in which you would like to complete this project subject to the instructor's approval. A list of pre-approved sites is attached. To facilitate connections between the classroom and this project, a few professionals from our partnering community agencies will be invited to class as resource persons. These visits will provide a more focused opportunity to reflect with our community partners about the experiences you are having in the community.

The Learning. Throughout the semester you will write various papers in which you reflect on your service experiences in the community. These papers will require you to look beyond the experiences themselves and explore what you can learn from them. Good reflection papers will engage you in thinking critically about your experiences and will enhance your skills in a number of areas such as:

• the ability to develop and test hypotheses
• the ability to recognize gaps in your own knowledge and skills
• the ability to apply what you are learning in the classroom to your field experiences
• the ability to observe yourself – your behavior, your assumptions, your feelings, your biases, etc.
• the ability to set goals for your own learning and performance
• the ability to work systematically toward achieving the goals which you set for yourself
• the ability to observe others
• the ability to critique your own performance as well as that of others

In each of your writing assignments you should focus not so much on what you did during your service but rather on your reflections about your experiences. Below are several characteristics which are typical of high quality reflection in service-learning.

• critiques and evaluates self and others
• sets goals and monitors progress toward them
• observes situations and people carefully, including self
• reflects upon emotions
• reflects upon own strengths, weaknesses recognizes and addresses personal biases
• raises questions and seeks to answer them
• develops hypotheses and tests them
• demonstrates ethical sensitivity and awareness
• meaningfully relates experiences to academic course work
• conveys writer's active effort to learn
• demonstrates personal growth and self-awareness

The Service. In addition to the "higher order" learning goals discussed above, you also are expected to provide high quality service to your community agency. The starting point for good service is demonstrating the good work habits which are valued, rewarded, and appreciated in any work environment. These habits include such behaviors as:

• reliability
• promptness
• commitment
• eagerness to learn
• energy
• initiative
• flexibility

Throughout the semester I will make occasional phone calls to community agencies to hear how my students are doing and to deal with any questions. I am pleased to report that these conversations are generally very positive. Please do your part to ensure that these conversations are positive this semester!

The Assignments: Bearing all of the above principles in mind, you will complete a number of assignments during the semester which will help you maximize the learning from your service learning project. Each of these assignments is described below and in subsequent attachments. Due dates can be found in the Tentative Course Schedule above.

Service-Learning Plan – Early in the semester you will be asked to submit a tentative plan to guide your learning in this project. You will be asked to set goals for yourself related to three areas: 1) academic knowledge, 2) skill development, and 3) personal development. You should be able to set at least three goals for each of these areas and identify specific strategies for achieving your goals. Since it is impossible to predict up-front all of the learning opportunities you might, this document should be seen as a living, changing thing than shift over time. The main purpose of the document is to keep you and your community supervisor focused on the goal of learning. More detailed instructions and forms for this assignment are attached. (10 points)

Reflection Papers 1, 2, and 3 using the Integrative Processing Model – Over the course of the semester you will have three dates on which you will turn in reflection papers based on your service experiences. In each of these papers you will select a specific experience and consider it as some length using the Integrative Processing Model (IPM). The IPM format will take you through a six step process of 1) Gathering Data from the Objective Experience, 2) Personal Reflection, 3) Connecting the Experience with Academic Knowledge, 4) Examining Dissonance, 5) Articulating Learning and 6) Developing a Plan. We will often use this same structure as a way to focus and structure our classroom discussions about service so you will become quite familiar with it over the course of the semester. A detailed description of each step of the model with prompts to stimulate your thinking about each step is attached. (60 points/ 20 points each)

Social Policy/Social Justice Presentation – As important as community service is, it is equally important that we ask ourselves challenging questions about why some of these organizations are necessary. As you engage in your agency throughout the term, the about the social, economic, and/or political conditions that create problems for the individuals and families served by the organization. Near the end of the semester, students working with related populations will make brief presentations in class focusing on policy issues that need to be addressed in order to create deeper and more lasting change. These groups will be loosely organized around such population groups as children, poverty, women, people with mental illness, etc. Groups will be identified and formed once all students have settled into their service-learning placements. (20 points)

Evaluation and Time Sheet - Your community agency supervisor will be asked to complete an evaluation of the quality of your work in the service " e component of this assignment as well as confirm that you have completed your required service hours. A portion of your grade will be based upon this evaluation. (10 points)

The Integrative Processing Model

Step 1 ~ Gathering Objective Data from the Concrete Experience
Describe the experience, focusing on such issues as-

• What did I observe in this experience?
• What were the key events and features of this experience"
• What did I observe about the physical surroundings?
• What did I observe about my behavior and actions and those of others?

Step 2 ~ Reflecting
React on a more personal level to the experience, focusing on such issues as,

• How does this situation touch upon my own values?
• How does it relate to my personal history?
• What emotions and thoughts does this experience trigger in me?
• What assumptions am I making about this situation?
• What assumptions am I making about the people involved in this experience, including myself?
• What does this experience point out to me about my own attitudes, biases, or preferences?
• How do I evaluate my own effectiveness in this experience?
• What behaviors (both verbal and non-verbal) enhanced or diminished my effectiveness?

Step 3 ~ Identifying Relevant Knowledge
Examine academic knowledge which might be applicable to the experience, focusing on such questions:

• What course work or reading have I done which is relevant to this experience?
• What principles, concepts, theories, skills, or information have I teamed which relate to this experience?
• How does this experience relate to what I have learned elsewhere?
• How is the experience consistent with my academic knowledge?
• How does the experience contradict or challenge my academic knowledge?
• How does my academic knowledge help me to organize, understand, make sense of,
or develop hypotheses about this experience?

Step 4 ~ Examining and Reconciling Dissonance
Examine more closely points of discomfort, disagreement, or inconsistency in the experience. As you reflect on points of dissonance in your experience, also explore ways in which this dissonance might be reconciled. At times, however, you will find that dissonance cannot be resolved. Learning to live within ambiguity, conflicting tensions, and paradox is sometimes required. Focus on such issues as-

• What, if anything, do I feel uncomfortable about in this situation?
• What conflicting information I do have?
• How does this experience contradict my previous assumptions or learning.
• What conflicting thoughts and feelings do I have about this experience?
• What disagreement is there between what I think I "should" think or feel and what I do think
or feel?
• What conflict is there between competing "shoulds" in the situation?
• What disagreement is there between my personal views and assumptions about the situation and the ideas put forth by the "experts" in the field"?
• What conflict is there between what I "know" and what I "do"?
• Between what I "should" do and what I "want" to do?
• Between what I "should" do and what I "must" do?

Step 5 ~ Articulating Learning
Remembering that learning is tentative and needs testing in subsequent experiences, respond to such questions as:

• What are the major lessons I learned from this experience?
• What did I learn about myself about others? about the world around me?
• What knowledge, wisdom, or insights did I gain?
• What skills did I acquire?

Step 6 ~ Developing a Plan
Consider the question, "Where do I go from here both in my work and in my
learning?". This line of thought calls upon you to respond to such questions as.

• Based upon what I have learned, how Might I modify my own approach, methods, or
behavior as I encounter similar experiences in the future?
• What alternative directions might I take as I proceed in my work?
• What are the likely consequences of each alternative?
• What alternative(s) seem to me to be most favorable?
• How should I proceed in my learning?
• What gaps do I recognize in my knowledge and/or skills related to this experience"
• Consequently, how will I fill these gaps?


The following agencies have worked with human services students in the past or have indicated an interest in doing so. The list is not necessarily exhaustive. Feel free to pursue your interest in any agency, whether or not it is listed below, but check with your professor to ensure its appropriateness.

Alamance Cares 538-8110
Alamance Community College – Literacy Program 506-4375 or 4376
Alamance County Open Door Clinic 570-1300
Alamance Development Center 513-4250
Alamance Elder Care 538-8080
Alamance Health Service Home Care Providers 538-8500
Allied Churches of Alamance County 229-0881
American Red Cross 226-4906
ARC of Alamance County 438-2040
Blakey Hall 584-1400
Burlington Manor 584-9066
Burlington Parks and Recreation 222-5030
Burlington Police Department 229-3500
Burlington Recreation Department 222-5030
Crossroads Victim Assistance 228-0813
Elon Elementary School 538-6000
Elon Police Department 584-1301
Elon Homes for Children 584-0091
Family Services 226-5982
First Presbyterian Child Development Center 226-7055
Friendship Center Adult Day Care 538-1165
Gibsonville Elementary School 449-4214
Head Start 226-5558
NC Department of Vocational Rehab 570-6855
Positive Attitude and Youth Center 336-585-0844
Presbyterian Home of Hawfields 578-4701
Ralph Scott Group Homes, Inc. 227-1011
Rehab & Health Care Center of Alamance 228-8394
Residential Treatment Services of Alamance 227-7417
The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club 226-4462
Senior Citizen Center 222-5135
St. Mark's Church Youth Program 584-8983
The Oaks 584-3070
Twin Lakes Center 538-1400
Twin Lakes Independent Living 538-1500
Village of Brookwood 586-3840
Vocational Trades of Alamance 513-4400
Wee Care Child Development Center 229-0704
Western Middle School 538-6010
White Oak Manor 229-5571
YMCA 227-2061

The Integrative Processing Model
Pamela M. Kiser, MSW, ACSW, LCSW
Professor, Human Services
Elon University
Elon, NC

The Integrative Processing Model offers a tool to enhance student learning in experiential education. This model is a step-by-step method of learning from experience which guides students to think through their experiences carefully and systematically. The Integrative Processing Model is a six-step, cyclic process. Each step of the model is described briefly below.

Step 1: Gathering Objective Data from the Concrete Experience

In experiential education, learning begins with a specific, discrete experience. This experience may be one in which the student is an active participant or an observer. The experience yields information which, in subsequent steps of the model, becomes the focus for reflection and application of knowledge. While in the experience, as well as after the fact, students glean information about the situation and events as well as about the behaviors and actions of the various participants. The student's ability to be an objective observer of experience is developed through this step of the learning process as the student identifies the salient points from the experience itself

Step 2: Reflecting

In Step 2, Reflecting, students assess their own personal reactions to the experience. In doing so, students ask such questions as, "How does this situation touch upon my own values? How does it relate to my personal history? What emotions and thoughts does this experience trigger in me? What assumptions am I making about the people involved in this situation? about myself? about the situation itself? How do I evaluate my own effectiveness in this experience? What behaviors (verbal and non-verbal) enhanced or diminished my effectiveness?"

Step 3: Identifying Relevant Knowledge

The information recorded in Step I may constitute only a set of meaningless, disjointed facts if examined outside the context of relevant theory and knowledge. Students in Step 2 identify theoretical, conceptual, and/or factual information which can shed light on these facts. While previous classroom learning probably forms the foundation for this process, students might also need to engage in more extensive reading and research to expand their knowledge and to develop greater understanding of their experience.

Against the backdrop of relevant knowledge, certain information identified in Step I rises to the foreground of attention while other information becomes relatively less significant. Some facts may begin to cluster together, bearing some relationship to one another, forming a more cohesive picture, pattern, or theme. The application of knowledge (whether theoretical, conceptual, or factual) provides an organizing focus, a lens through which the student views and makes sense of experience. To use another analogy, knowledge provides a road map of sorts which helps the student identify his/her current location and develop ideas about what route to take next. In this step, students begin to learn the real value and power of knowledge as it can inform and direct their work as well as lend them a growing sense of confidence and competence.

Step 4: Examining Dissonance

Having examined the experience itself, relevant knowledge, and personal reactions, students are now in position to explore points of dissonance in the situation. Dissonance may be defined as a lack of harmony, consistency, or agreement. Dissonance can exist on a number of levels. Intellectual dissonance might be present as competing theories offer divergent points of view (Step 2) or as conflicting data arise out the concrete experience (Step 1). Students also might experience dissonance between the espoused theories of the profession and their own personal views. As the student examines dissonance, questions such as the following are raised:

• What, if anything, do I feel uncomfortable about in this situation?
• What disagreement is there between what I "should" do and what I "want" to do?
• What mismatch is there between what I "should" do and what I "must" do?
• What conflict is there between competing "shoulds" in the situation?
• What disagreement is there between my personal views of the situation and views offered by the theories and knowledge of the profession?
• What conflict is there between what I "know" and what I "do"?

As various points of dissonance are examined and pondered, important questions may be:

• Can this point of dissonance be reconciled? If so, how? If not, why not?
• If this dissonance cannot be reconciled, how can I manage to work effectively within it?

Step 5: Articulating Learning

Students often report with excitement that they are learning "so much" from their field experience but when asked specifically what they have learned, they all too often fall silent. This scenario perhaps reflects the fact that, although they might indeed have learned a great deal, they have not thought carefully enough about this learning to be able to put it into words. Step 5, Articulating Learning, requires students to put their learning into words. Using words to explain and describe their learning pushes students to conceptualize that learning. What had perhaps been a dim awareness becomes clarified into a coherent statement through the written word. Having constructed this statement, students more clearly "possess" the knowledge, having greater command over it as a tangible, concrete, lasting entity which can be retrieved and used as needed.

The guiding question in this step of the model is straightforward, "What are the major lessons which I can take from the experience?" The lessons learned may have to do with skills developed, knowledge gained, insights developed into self or others, or deeper understanding acquired of an ethical principle. Whatever the lessons, students should be encouraged to approach this step of the process with the appreciation that all knowledge is tentative. The articulated lessons are not fixed and immutable; rather, students take these lessons and test them in subsequent experience.

Step 6: Developing a Plan

The final step, Developing a Plan, is a two-pronged step of the process in that it calls upon students to think through 1) how to proceed in their work and 2) how to proceed in their own learning. Students are now ready to make an informed choice as to how to proceed in their work. As students implement their plans the learning cycle re-enters Step 1, and the process is repeated.

Independent evidence suggest[s] that attending an institution that is a member of Campus Compact increases the student's odds of participating in community service during college."

-The Review of Higher Education, Winter 2002 (p. 157)