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Class Descriptions

Essentials of Community and Organizational Practice


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Course Description

This course is partly survey in nature, touching on a range of methods, strategies, and skills in macro practice, specifically community organization, management, and advocacy. It provides an appreciation of the historical and contemporary importance of these social work methods as well as opportunities for students to develop practical skills. With opportunities for hands-on experience and training using tangible tools that are critical for success in macro practice, the course places special emphasis on approaches that strengthen socially just and culturally sensitive practice.

Students focus on: (1) understanding the context of macro practice; (2) identifying community and organizational interventions to address social needs and problems; (3) organizing and building relationships within communities and organizations; and (4) organization-based and community-based policymaking, planning, and program development. Course content addresses concepts and practice skills involving assessment, engagement, and intervention planning at the macro level, and strategies to work effectively with communities, organizations and groups. Content also includes reflective practice and utilizing interpersonal skills in macro practice. The course will offer skill-building in some tasks that are important to beginning social work practice, such as understanding and developing spreadsheets, meeting facilitation, teamwork, collecting and presenting basic data, and communicating effectively.


Use anti-oppressive and anti-racist frameworks to describe examples of systemic and structural root causes of contemporary social welfare issues (Essential 22, 33, 39, 45; EPAS 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).
Apply inclusive engagement strategies based on an intersectional analysis of systems of power, privilege, and oppression both within and outside organizational and community contexts (Essential 1, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 45; EPAS 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8).
Articulate social work values and ethics in all organizational and community strategies to address contemporary social work and social welfare problems (Essential 26, 44; EPAS 1, 5).
Practice engaging with teams, partnerships, collaborations, coalitions, and other alliances to build intraorganizational and interorganizational power and influence (Essential 8, 10, 40; EPAS 1, 6).
Assess community needs and issues and identify community assets, indigenous solutions, capacities, and allies in partnership with organizational and/or community stakeholders (Essential 3, 7, 15, 20, 24; EPAS 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9).
Develop intervention plans (goals and objectives) toward addressing community and/or organizational needs and issues (Essential 18, 19, 21, 27; EPAS 4, 7, 8).
Investigate how to engage with community partners to build community capacity to mobilize on issues and needs, develop services and strategies that enhance community well-being, and dismantle oppressive structures and systems (Essential 25, 29, 34, 45; EPAS 2, 3, 4, 5, 9).


This course will use multiple methods including but not limited to: lectures, demonstrations, case studies, readings, guest speakers, discussions, written assignments, and individual and group exercises. The primary pedagogy will be experiential, involving problem-solving, project planning and implementation, in-person and online simulations and hands-on applications of real-world situations that arise in the field.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

Consistent with social work core values, the primary goals of Community and Organizational Practice are to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people. This course will devote resources and attention to the needs and empowerment of people and groups who traditionally have experienced oppression and marginalization. Course content and processes are designed to help students gain understanding of intersectional diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religious/spiritual practice, immigration status, and cognitive, mental or physical disability. In addition, students will be exposed to strategies for increasing social and racial equity and inclusion across settings.

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