This is most recent syllabus. Your final syllabus will be given during your first day of class
Important Note: The practicum schedule may limit some options of a second course. Spots are limited. An application is required, which students will receive by email after submitting the Umbra Application for Admission online form. All applications are due by March 7. The Umbra Institute will not be able to guarantee enrollment to all that apply.
This course has two main academic components: one experiential (practicum) and one reflective (seminar). The practicum provides students with direct experience in an inclusive professional setting for 8 hours per week. The seminar meets every week for 3 hours to explore disciplinary theory through readings, discussions, and personal reflection.
In the seminar, you will examine theories and models on critical disability studies from an international and cross-cultural perspective. Through discussion of readings, sharing of experiences, group work, and focused assignments (e.g., guided journals), you will increase your understanding on how culture influences our perspectives and behaviors towards disability, as well as reflect on the several approaches underlining the integration and inclusion of people with disabilities into society.
In this practicum, you will work with two different community partners. You will be placed with VIVA Sports Association, Fontenuovo Elderly Residence Home, or Volta la Carta for 4 hours weekly. In addition, you will complete 4 hours weekly at the Synergistic Garden. The descriptions of the practicum sites and student responsibilities are below:
VIVA Sports Association
VIVA Sports Association is the first athletic program for kids and adults with motor and/or intellectual disabilities in Perugia. You will assist the professional staff in managing the athletic activities, helping people with a variety of disabilities play sports including fencing, ping pong, and basketball to develop social and motor skills. In addition, you will also collaborate with VIVA staff in designing new activities focused on sports, music, theater, work, and other themes relevant to integrating those with disabilities into society. To get a closer look into VIVA and see what it is all about, check out this video.
Fontenuovo Elderly Residence Home – ONLUS Foundation
Started in 1885, this elderly residence home has been hosting aging adults including individuals with basic needs to those suffering with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. You will follow staff members as they assist residents with their daily activities and routines as well as help with any events, which welcome visitors to Fontenuovo or integrate residents into the local community.
Synergistic Garden – Nuova Dimensione di Perugia Cooperative
You will work at Taralla group home’s synergistic garden where social farming and synergistic agriculture is used as a form of therapy. You will interact with resident and non-resident patients while helping the staff maintain this self-sustaining garden. It is important that you are prepared to be outdoors for this portion of the practicum.
Volta la Carta – Nuova Dimensione di Perugia Cooperative
You will work with Nuova Dimensione Cooperative’s project called “Volta la Carta” (“Turn the Card Over”) for adults with intellectual disabilities. You will help the participants create accessories (i.e., bags, wallets, purses, etc.) and artwork made from recycled materials. These artisan products will be sold at local markets and proceeds will help fund new aid programs.
In this course, you will:
- Gain a heightened sense of intercultural awareness;
- Improve critical thinking and communication skills;
- Connect with an organization that strives to move beyond “compassion” and “medical help” in order to integrate people with disabilities into society;
- Empower people with disabilities to be independent and self-supported;
- Develop a theoretical framework to analyze and reflect on the practicum experience;
- Increase understanding on how culture influences perspectives and behaviors towards disability.
Selected readings will be provided in class