Action Research Projects

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009


Link Action Research Project

Thank you to everyone who actively listened and engaged in thought provoking discussion during our presentation last night. As follow up, below you will find a link to an interesting article recently posted in the Star Tribune.


Altered Esthetics - Outreach Project

Our goal was to conduct an outreach project, learn from the experience and provide a template to use for future outreach needs. Even though we incurred some roadblocks (and also because of them) the project was successful and we're happy to be able share the following resources:

Class Presentation
Slideshare - Full Presentation
Printable version of the slideshow (pdf)

I Hate Artists!
Full Video on YouTube

Ten Steps for Outreach Handout (pdf)
Stakeholder Survey Results (pdf)
Our WikiAction Research Page (FYI, anyone can view the wiki but for security purposes you must be logged in to download wiki-specific files.)

~Jamie, Janayah, Lindy and Nduka

Monday, Apr 27, 2009


Liberal Arts Action Research Project

The link to access our University of Minnesota wiki, LiberalArtsMajorsUnite is:

The link to our Facebook Group is:

If you would like to receive a copy of our PowerPoint presentation: Email either Laura ( or Michael ( and we'll be happy to send it to you!

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009


Altered Esthetics - Action Research Updates

Hello class,

We have two sets of updates/notes for you this week. Exciting!

Last week we met, discussed “connecting the connections” that we made, and we also continued to work on our presentation. We talked about change, best practices and agreed to think about “what worked and what didn’t” in preparation for the following week.

Over the weekend we compiled some of the information from our Stakeholder survey so we could begin making observations about that. We received a very good response from our stakeholders and the data was helpful so that was fun to share with each other.

This week when we met we continued to discuss our presentation. We also talked about what worked throughout the process and what didn’t, began to discuss some of the final numbers and started to make some of our notes for the future. 
Next week we plan to wrap up final numbers, our presentation, and help each other with our individual projects as is appropriate/needed.

We also have two invitations to extend to you - also exciting!

1) Altered Esthetics is turning 5 this month, and we’re having a celebration in conjunction with our annual spring fundraiser this Friday, April 17. The celebration will include music, games, a wood-themed art exhibit, etc. It is free to attend and it would be a fun opportunity for everybody to see in person what this is all about. You can find more about the specific event at

2) Just a reminder of what Nduka noted in class - we value your feedback to this process and invite you to give us your impressions or thoughts on what we’ve been doing.

Thanks - and have a good week! ~Nduka, Lindy, Janayah and Jamie.

P.S. For notes/agendas please view the extended entry.

Sunday, Mar 29, 2009


Altered Esthetics - Action Research Updates

Hello class,

Our group is in now in the process of making direct connections - following up and contacting the individual folks we sent letters to. As we go through, we'll be monitoring the progress and making notes of what works/doesn't work in particular. We also began to discuss our class participation and what we'll do during our time with everybody.

For notes/agendas please see the extended entry.

Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009


Altered Esthetics - Class Participation in Outreach Project

Good morning class!

If you've been following our notes and updates, you know that we are conducting an outreach project for Altered Esthetics, one that will serve as a stronger stepping stone for future outreach and communications for the organization.

Since the class has been giving such thoughtful feedback on the blog and in class so far, we thought it only made sense to invite you to participate in this process. We're conducting both electronic and paper-based outreach, which you saw from the letters last night. We sent letters to various organizations with the community, introducing ourselves to them and inviting them to participate in what we do.

If anybody is willing to share, we would very much appreciate your feedback, thoughts, constructive-criticisms, etc on the letter we sent, and/or your personal reaction to it. You can do so on the blog here or by emailing any one of us.

Have a great week!

~ Jamie, Janayah, Lindy, and Nduka.

Sunday, Mar 22, 2009


Altered Esthetics - Action Research Updates

Our group is in the process of conducting our outreach. We've set up the framework and have extended physical and virtual "invitations" The next step will be making direct connections, following up , and monitoring the progress.

For notes/agendas please see the extended entry.

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009


Action Research Project Overview Working Title:Analysis of the Effectiveness of the Minnesota Statewide Emerging Leaders Institute in Preparing Future Leaders

Team Members: Gabriele Anderson, Stacey Boggs, Linda Halliburton,Mick Hawton, Terri Morawiecki

PA 5103/MLS 5100, IS 5100

Spring 2009, Submitted March 10, 2009

Project Overview Several years ago, the State of Minnesota recognized that a nearly half the agency and department leaders would be retiring within the next five years and that a leadership pipeline had not been created. This led to the development of a unique professional development program: The Statewide Emerging Leaders Institute. What makes this program unique from other Minnesota government leadership programs is that it encompasses leadership from agencies across the state and across the various disciplines (i.e. Department of Transportation, Department of Revenue, Department of Education). The Institute uses assessment tools, formal instruction, one-to-one coaching, cohort group discussions, interaction with experienced state managers, and guided reflection to help emerging leaders take the stage for the next era in state government.

Acceptance into the program is highly selective and limited to 30 people per year. Now in its third year and a very different economy and demographic reality (read: senior leaders may not be retiring as soon as expected), we want to explore the effectiveness of the program in terms of personal and organizational change. In addition, we want to identify if the current economic situation has had any impact on leadership opportunities that are available to graduates of the program. Program sponsors are also interested in how Minnesota’s program compares with those of other states.

Public information about the program can be found at:


Altered Esthetics - Action Research Project Report

The Altered Esthetcs Action Research Project Report can be downloaded in pdf form by following the link below, or by viewing the extended entry.
Ae Action Report (pdf)

Monday, Mar 9, 2009


Action Research Project Proposal - Career Resource Guide for Liberal Arts Students

Action Research Project Proposal - Career Resource Guide for Liberal Arts Students Michael Satterberg and Laura Smith Ramsborg

Background As Liberal Arts undergraduates, it was difficult and challenging to enter the job market to find an ideal position within a desired organization. Resources and career guides were predominantly geared toward students in the school of business; specific job hunt information for Liberal Arts students was not available. Job fairs did not seem to provide the valuable connections and experiences needed. Overall, a complete guide for navigating the job search process was missing.

Stakeholders and Desired Outcomes Our project, The Career Resource Guide for Liberal Arts Students, identifies with numerous key stakeholders that will benefit in the immediate or near future. Liberal Arts students will feel empowered to choose a major that matches with their interest areas, with the knowledge that career resources and support are available. Over time, the University of Minnesota and College of Liberal Studies will grow new partnerships with Twin Cities organizations to expand opportunities for Liberal Arts students, and organizations will benefit from the addition of creative thinkers with versatile real-world skills. Ideally, job placement rates for Liberal Arts students would be proudly promoted in University of Minnesota recruitment materials and website content. Alphabetical List of Key Stakeholders: • College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota • Future Liberal Arts students at the University of Minnesota • Graduate students in Liberal Arts programs • Liberal Arts undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota • Local Organizations in the Twin Cities metro area

Action Research Question What information is most valuable to Liberal Arts students to help them explore, identify and secure an ideal position within an organization that matches their skill sets and areas of interest, as well as to assert themselves in a competitive job market?

Action Research Statement We are developing a Career Resource Guide to serve as a comprehensive reference tool for Liberal Arts students to join the competitive job market in the Twin Cities metro area by promoting the value and versatility of their degrees.

Resource Guide and Contents Liberal Arts students can reference a comprehensive guide for planning their job hunt and securing an ideal role within a profit, non-profit or educational organization.

Table of Contents I. Job Titles, Descriptions & Career Paths for Liberal Arts Students II. Organizational Connections, Informational Interviews & Mentorship Program III. Competition Guidelines IV. Job Fair Pointers V. The Formal Interview VI. Local References

Project Criteria 1) Measurable results in two months (completion of the Resource Guide) 2) Initial feedback of some form from a University of Minnesota faculty member, student organization, focus group, etc. 3) Little to no cost to us (creators) or the users. 4) Include future steps for Resource Guide maintenance, updates and longevity. 5) Focus on partnerships between Liberal Arts students and organizations in the Twin Cities metro area. 6) Address a valid research question that will positively impact Liberal Arts students/the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts.

Challenge the Process: Research Strategies • Partner with the College of Liberal Arts to ensure this project will add value for Liberal Arts students and meet their needs. • Interview organizational leaders to gather specific guidelines for Liberal Arts students to promote their skills and make connections within organizations. • Interview University of Minnesota College of Liberal arts contacts to gain valuable insights. • Interview faculty and professionals from other universities to learn about options and uncover innovative approaches to our research project. • Research other sources of career information for Liberal Arts students and cultivate the best of the best for our project. • Develop and format a Lunch with Leaders mentorship program to help Liberal Arts students practice interviewing skills and build confidence in their abilities, while also gaining feedback on customary business etiquette. • Take a risk by attempting a new format for this information: in addition to a static, printed version, the completed Career Resource Guide for Liberal Arts students will be posted on Wikipedia and/or the University of Minnesota wiki.

Saturday, Feb 28, 2009


Action Research: Introducing and engaging the Northeast MPLS community with Altered Esthetics

Team Members: Jamie, Janayah, Lindy, Nduka.

Criteria and Guiding Principles
Be time considerate
Be mission driven
Make sure the stakeholders are on board
Create a project/process that is effective/useful
Consider the budget of organization in planning
Be Creative!

We created a wiki page as a one-stop for our notes, docs, and timeline:
Ae Action Research Wiki
(We've set the permissions so anybody is able to view the Wiki)

Full notes from our last meeting can be viewed in the extended entry - see below.


Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009


Action Research Project: Cutting Costs and Conserving Energy at the University of Minnesota

Cutting costs and conserving energy at the University of Minnesota

Team members: Tim, Therese, Katie, Bridget

Overview: We seek student and community input for cutting costs from the campus budget. What problems do members of the campus community see currently, and what ways do they believe that costs could be cut? What programs or services at the University of Minnesota are unnecessary, could be suspended or could be changed to conserve money and energy? We will survey a sample of students, staff and faculty to ask for their ideas to lower costs and conserve energy, and we will collect this information through online surveys or email. We will then present the ideas to the related departments for review.

Goal: Our goal is not to physically implement the change, but rather to gather COMMUNITY INPUT on how money can be saved for the U of M and for students, and then to present the information to the responsible department.

To put the plan into action: We will conduct the survey online, with an email address that members of the campus community can use to submit their ideas. We will use online rather than paper survey to save paper and reduce waste. Ideas that are entered could be put into a drawing for a prize, such as tickets to sporting events, or other items that may be donated.

We will attempt to obtain university email lists to request suggestions and ideas for the project. Any mass email will be first sent to Dr. Crosby for review. We will contact One Stop and find a way to be put on the web page. The Minnesota Daily could feature a small article on our project as advertisement, or we could advertise for free, if possible, as a student group.

We will need to identify points of contact at the departmental level for information flow. We will contact the department related to any given idea, and present the information or suggestion.


Action Research Project: Statewide Emerging Leaders Program – Creating Continuous Learning

Team members: Stacey, Mick, Gabriele, Linda, and Terri


Focus on the Statewide Emerging Leaders program in partnership with the College of Continuing Education (CCE), University of Minnesota:

Program is currently in the second year running, two cohorts have completed the program thus far, third cohort finishing courses this week, there will be a graduation ceremony in March. Linda and Terri work closely with the CCE programming team


We can begin by asking questions and finding information on why the state decided to do this program, what was the selection criteria for individuals, what they hope the program will accomplish, what individual experiences were, what kinds of follow up activities make the program effective, how their lives have changed as a result of the program, how the current economic situation is impacting leadership at the state level and this program in particular, etc.

Linda and Terri have access to the people who crafted the program, instructors, cohort students, and probably some statewide leaders who championed the program.

Our result might recommend the components that are critical to assuring learning transfer to action and long-term change. From what we know, the cohorts go through the series of courses, but there is not much follow through after they are done. We could recommend moving from a program that is a one-time deal to continuous, ongoing learning that allows for further personal and professional development. Recommendations can include learning and engagement activities.

Monday, Feb 23, 2009


Action Research Proposal - Liberal Arts Resource Guide

Overview Advancing the Opportunities for Liberal Arts Graduates Michael Satterberg & Laura Smith

Undergraduate students with a Liberal Arts degree may find job hunting to be a challenge because most applicants went to school specifically for the job they are seeking. However, Liberal Arts graduates have just as much to offer potential employers—if not more—due to the versatility of a Liberal Arts degree. We feel that a Liberal Arts degree includes a variety of broad-based, valuable skills that can help an applicant excel in a large range of job roles. With more assistance, better preparation, and more resources, we can help Liberal Arts students demonstrate the advantages of their degrees, showcase the benefits of their unique skill sets and become better prepared to compete with the competition. Below is a list of ideas that we have created to support our vision.

Resource Guide:Liberal Arts students can reference a comprehensive guide to planning their job hunt and securing an ideal role within a profit, non-profit or educational organization. The Resource Guide would include a variety of topics such as:

Sunday, Feb 22, 2009


Altered Esthetics - Action Research Updates

Community Engagement at Altered Esthetics

Altered Esthetics needs to continue introducing our organization the community, further engaging members of the community with our services (as audience and/or participants.)

What will be useful strategically?
Considering stakeholder turnover, how will this tie to a theory of change?

Next steps
Review notes and resources
Select roles/participation
Consider desired outcomes, planning strategy and selecting processes accordingly
Invite stakeholders feedback and participation

Why this is important
The role of a nonprofit organization in the community is to "provide unique opportunities for individuals to combine their energy, talents and values for community improvement and enrichment. Nonprofits are obligated to understand their role as entities that engage and inspire individuals and communities for public benefit, and to conduct their activities with transparency, integrity and accountability." (Minnesota Council of Nonprofits- Principles and Practices of Nonprofit Excellence.)

Though Altered Esthetics is involved in various communities, there are still some in Northeast that do not know who we are and what we do. In order to properly fulfill our role in society, we need to continue identifying and connecting with people, groups, and organizations. An action research project will help us approach this problem purposefully and strategically.

(See extended entry for Snow Card notes)

Saturday, Feb 14, 2009


Action Project: Caring Across Borders

Action Research Project: Caring Across Borders

1. Focusing on the problem: cultural misconceptions exist between U.S. and Iran that have turned into deep-seated strife between the governments—and sometimes the people.

I am hoping that the new administrations (Iran will have one soon as well) will seize commit to re-examining the possibility of positive relations. Everyone is a stakeholder in this conflict, more especially the American and Iranian people. Better relations between these two countries might pave the way for better relations with Israel and may well inform peace efforts in the Middle East. America’s standing in the world will certainly be improved. On a local level, this will affect the way we view people of Middle Eastern, Persian origins. My friend L, won’t have to feel ashamed when she flashes her Iranian passport on her way into the States. Our Congressman, Representative Keith Ellison held a forum on this last summer to engage our community.

  1. Challenging the Process. Looking for help to design a survey/process that takes a read on what people think of Persians, Iranians. What would Minnesotans think of a restorative justice process on reconciling the truths and falsifications between the two countries? Interviews! What is their feedback, when they know the real situation? Can one mobilize change through a band of mini-informants on frayed relations?

  2. What solutions can one propose from the community’s feedback?

  3. A chance for Minnesota’s community to offer their own voice on changing the way we relate to conflict.

  4. Why? There are forums, groups—Iranian-American—that have it as their purpose to inform, educate the public and one may question the need for such an effort. It is a good question, especially since I’m not of Iranian heritage—Nigerian—what, then is the relevance? For me it is about stopping the cycle of demonizing people we know little about. I’m hoping values of American ideals can guide this change.

Thank you for reading! ;o)

Sunday, Feb 8, 2009


Altered Esthetics - Action Research Project Proposals

I'm very interested in working with folks from class on an action research project connected with the gallery or the local arts community. Some projects we had in mind are: establishing workshops, continuing engagement with the community, and accessibility. I'm very open (and the board is also open) to other projects as well.

About Altered Esthetics

Altered Esthetics is a non-profit community art gallery located in Northeast Minneapolis. We work to sustain the role of artists as a voice of society through our exhibits, events, services, workshops and programs.

Friday, Feb 6, 2009


Action project proposal

I volunteer with Link Coalition of Minnesota (LCM). ? Our vision is to create a compassionate and safe community for animals and people. Our mission is to work together to resolve human/animal violence through education, social justice, and program development. We will 1) raise awareness and educate about the link between human and animal violence and 2) establish safe housing for pets of families entering shelters for victims of domestic violence.? We celebrated our first anniversary last month. After a year of organization, we are committed to moving forward on our agendas. As an all volunteer organization, we could really use a jump start in a few areas. Jane Hunt, our chair person, emailed me with a few ideas to consider: In the Education part: 1) develop coalition website with research etc. I have a huge amount of research and where to go to get to. Some other work has been done in this area. We really need a format to put it all. 2) Develop a traveling booth with stats etc. We would like this for the First Strike workshop on March 27, 2009 held at Cornerstone. 3) Statewide fact sheet and resources, this could also include brochure or written materials about LCM history etc.

Safe-housing (for pets): Amy would love help with the survey and interviews for needs assessment and questions to add for Battered Women's Shelter intake. I'm sure that group could help with clarifying what that would look like.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs