Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442
PraxisThe Praxis initiative has been designed and driven by Plan II students whose goal is the development of a multifaceted, model program for civic engagement and service at Plan II. The Praxis curriculum aims to give students the tools and resources necessary to explore social problems—from education and health care to urban planning and transportation. Through the program, the Praxis student will have the opportunity to examine a social issue in depth, with the hope that he or she will someday engineer social change by turning today's problems into tomorrow's solutions.
Praxis is divided into four components: exposure, immersion, exploration, and synthesis. In their first year, students are exposed to a variety of current social problems and issues through a course entitled “Civic Viewpoints.” The goal here is to inspire them to think seriously about civic entrepreneurship in their respective areas of interest. The immersion component usually takes place in the second year and is designed to give students practical experience through some form of community service or an internship. Currently the Plan II/KIPP Partnership Program and the Health & Social Policy Internship Program serve as the immersion pieces, the first through mentoring students in a college-prep, charter school and the second through interning in the state legislature. Both are accompanied by service learning courses. In their third year, students engage in academic exploration of a subject through a Plan II junior seminar that allows them to delve into the systemic causes of the problems they have encountered through rigorous and systematic research. In the fourth and final year, the Plan II Thesis provides the opportunity for students to synthesize knowledge and experience by writing a thesis that prescribes a solution to a social problem they have defined.
The Praxis Initiative is a work in progress. The Praxis Committee and the Plan II Honors Program are continuously working on the development of Praxis through additional course offerings and immersion opportunities.