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Skills and Strategy for Community Change

SW653

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required

Pathway Associations

Community ChangeGlobalInterpersonal PracticeManagement & LeadershipPolicy & PoliticalProgram EvaluationOlder AdultsChildren & Families
Requirement (Host)Elective

Course Description

This course will engage students in learning core cross-cutting skills needed for engaging in community change. It will use a framework of “ Scan” - “Plan” – “Do” – “Review” to help organize skills. Learning to infuse cross-cutting principles including critical Praxis.

Scan- Assessment and Scanning Skills (individual to community).
Illustrative skills may include: social identity assessments, individual skills assessments, story of self/personal motivational assessments, community power mapping, asset/strength assessments, organizational/community scans, and neighborhood mapping

Plan- Planning Skills.
Illustrative skills may include: participatory community planning, strategy charts, implementation of planning steps, logic charts and theory of change

Do- Action Skills.
Illustrative skills may include: one-on-ones (formal and informal), facilitating participatory meetings, coalition-building techniques and considerations, policy advocacy, program development, intergroup facilitation, and community mobilization

Review- Community reflection and Evaluation Skills.
Illustrative skills may include: critical reflection, program/organizational evaluation, monitoring,
campaign analysis, and participatory evaluation

Objectives

1. Understand and analyze the changing role of context in community change (EPAS 5, 9)
2. Understand contemporary social and political issues and their relationship to community change strategies and tactics. (EPAS 9)
3. Demonstrate skills in community assessment, leadership and organizational development, planning and conducting campaigns, and evaluating their results. (EPAS 6, 7, 8, 9)
4. Apply advanced skills to promote participation e.g., assessing community conditions, designing the process, representing diverse interests, understanding political dynamics of participation, increasing group dialogue and intergroup relations, building collaborative alliances, and finding common ground. (EPAS 6, 7, 9)
5. Develop group skills needed for increasing intercultural interaction and cross-cultural collaboration at the community level. (EPAS 6, 7, 9)
6. Develop skills for gathering, assessing, and using various forms of community data and practice-informed research. (EPAS 4, 6, 7, 9)

Design

The class will be very hands-on and will also utilize innovative resources in teaching content, including MOOCs, online training, webinars, videos, and simulations. Skills will be learned, practiced, and applied in class-based and project-based experiences.

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 community change theories that will help students explore the connections between race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, and psychological and physical functioning, well- being and community change. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will provide students with tools to understand and apply theories to practice with diverse populations.
Community change takes place in different ways. The process can be very logical and linear, or very dynamic and unpredictable. However, every approach involves some common activities (e.g., skills and strategies). The phenomena of privilege, oppression, diversity, and (approaches to) social justice determine the course, quality and nature of the actions of community members, partners, and systems to either support, oppose or remain neutral to community change. This course provides students with the tools to advance social justice (within the context of privilege, diversity and oppression) through the systematic, planful use of activities using the Plan-Scan-Do-Review toolkit of activities.
Briefly:
● Scanning methods refer to ways to identify and take into account a sense of the community, the issues it faces, the resources present, and the potential for change.
● Planning processes involve both community and issue assessment and planning for the most effective approach to change. Once organizers have taken stock of community conditions, they then need to assess and analyze how they can best approach the issues.
● Doing different approaches and strategies can be used to address community issues. The strategy selected should be appropriate for the issue and the communities’ resources and limitations.
● Reviewing methods help an effective organizer reflect upon strategies used and how well they met the change goals. The process of reviewing strategies can be formal or informal. They should include the perspectives of different stakeholders and participants in the strategy.

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