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Class Descriptions

Project and Program Design and Implementation


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Pathway Associations

Community ChangeElective
Interpersonal Practice
Mgmt & LeadershipElective (Host)
Policy & PoliticalElective
Program EvaluationElective
Older Adults
Children & Families

Course Description

Traditional project management tools enable social workers to conceive, plan, design, implement, manage, assess, and change projects effectively. Whereas projects are time-bound and discrete, programs are an ongoing collection of projects that can be managed together. Managing programs and projects in an inclusive and socially just manner necessarily requires engaging all people involved or affected by a project in meaningful and deliberate ways. Students will weave technical—and technological—tools together with inclusive structures in order to include and engage all stakeholders in the success of projects and programs. Technical skills developed in this course involve selecting and implementing tools to strategically design and manage projects in rapidly changing environments, as well as maximizing inclusion and equity with diverse populations.

Management is a set of well-known processes, like planning, budgeting, structuring jobs, staffing jobs, measuring performance and problem-solving. This course will concentrate on single service projects as planned systems of action that engage the perspectives of clients, program and project staff, directors and managers, as well as the full organization. This course will prepare students to assist in tasks common to all phases of project development and assume independent responsibility for performing tasks some of these tasks (e.g., documenting program plans, developing initial budgets, program process analysis, and scheduling change). Specific attention will be given to issues in program design and development and the differential impacts on social identity groups that traditionally have been marginalized.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Identify and analyze goals, objectives, tasks, and expected outcomes of projects (EPAS 7)
2. Apply coherent frameworks to analyze, plan, implement, monitor, and articulate the phases of projects that represent both incremental and radical change within a human service organization program (EPAS 1, 6, 8)
3. Assess risk, describe, and analyze the organizational and external environment within which proposed programs operate (EPAS 4, 7)
4. Employ various assessment tools for understanding program components, procedures and control. (EPAS 8, 9)
5. Identify critical issues regarding inclusion and equity with diverse populations in all stages of project management and assess the implications for service delivery (PODS, EPAS 2,3)
6. State and apply aspects of the Social Work Code of Ethics that are germane to the development, implementation, and monitoring of social programs (PODS, EPAS 1)


This course is designed to maximize inclusion of all students in the learning and application of advanced social work practice with projects and programs. The course will incorporate methods that include, but are not limited to: project-based learning, flipped classrooms, lectures, small group discussion, skill-building exercises, role plays and simulations, case examples, and guest lecturers as appropriate. Instructors will encourage students to leverage contemporary technology in concert with advanced interpersonal engagement and intervention skills.

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.

Implications of project and program goals and objectives that either facilitate or limit social justice will be an integral part of the course. Students will be supported to challenge their bias and assumptions about the needs, responsiveness, and behavior of program participants and community members. Implicit barriers created as a result of project design will be explored. In addition, students will examine the privileges associated with the use of technology and advanced analytical and technical skills in order to limit negative impacts on the community. Centering the voices and experiences of the people and groups most impacted by projects and programs is a central focus of this course.

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