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Class Descriptions

Independent Studies: Community Change SW551

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host)

Contemporary Cultures in the United States SW620

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will explore the origins and development of selected social variables characterizing the diversity dimensions (ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), marital status, national origin, race, religion or spirituality, sex, and sexual orientation) in contemporary U.S. society. Social and behavioral science theories and research findings on the allocation of different roles, status, and opportunities to these populations will be studied. Students will use a multidimensional, social justice, and multicultural framework to examine power, privilege, discrimination, and oppression. This course will emphasize that effective social work practice with diverse cultural groups involves understanding professional ethics in the context of the values of both the dominant society and the ethnic community.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host)

Political Social Work SW640

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials required
Course Description: This course will introduce students to political social work, which is social work practice, theory, and research that focuses on the use of policy and politics to create social change. Students will gain an understanding of how politics impacts their lives as well as the lives of those served by social workers on both a micro and macro level. This course will prepare students for work in political settings, such as on advocacy and electoral campaigns, as staff for elected officials, and running for office themselves. Students will develop practice skills for policy advocacy and engaging with policymakers, influencing policy agendas, and empowering clients to become politically engaged. Students will critically examine the role of social workers in politics throughout history and the ethics that govern practice in political settings. Finally, students will develop a political engagement plan to facilitate their continued involvement.
Pathway Requirement For: Policy & Political Social Work (Host)
Pathway Elective For: Community Change

Theories and Practices of Community Change: Concepts, History and Approaches SW650

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This class will focus on the theories and practices for community change, with emphasis on the relationships between theory and practice (‘praxis’). It will familiarize students to a range of critical change theories and core concepts and help students to develop their own understanding of frameworks for community change. Students will engage with different theories in examining community change, which may include critical intersectionality, critical race, empowerment and liberation, social movement, and feminist theories, as examples. It will also look to historical and contemporary examples of community and social change movements to explore theory and practice including US and global community change movements, and the work of organic intellectuals and social change leaders (e.g. Grace Lee Boggs, Ella Baker, Myles Horton, ACT-UP, Black Lives Matter, #metoo, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Zapatistas, #GirlsLikeUs, World Social Forum, Climate Change). Throughout the class, students will also use these examples to examine and understand the major range of models and practices for engaging in community change, for example: community organizing, community development, community-based policy advocacy, and popular education, and be able to assess the differences, purposes, and theoretical basis for the practices. For Community Change Pathway participants: We strongly recommend that this course be taken before or concurrently with the other required pathway class.
Pathway Requirement For: Community Change (Host)

Community & Neighborhood Development SW651

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course examines methods of community and neighborhood development as a process in which people join together and develop community-based programs and services at the local level to create community change, with or without assistance by outside agencies. It emphasizes ways in which residents can take initiative, contribute to collective action, and help themselves through community-based business and economic development, health and human services, popular education, and housing and neighborhood revitalization projects. Special emphasis will explore innovative approaches to community and neighborhood development including the role of time banks, cooperatives, and alternative economic models. The course will examine the history of community and economic development injustices, including issues of redlining, segregation, and urban and rural disinvestment. It will also explore innovative examples and models of community neighborhood development including community-benefit agreements development and new models of participatory planning and community-led resident economic developments. Emphasis will be placed on participatory planning processes with marginalized and oppressed groups and understanding the importance of entering communities both from an insider and outsider perspective.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host)

Organizing for Social and Political Action SW652

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course examines methods of organizing people for social and political action on their own behalf or on behalf of others. Students will analyze different approaches to bringing people together for collective action, building organizational capacity, and generating power, with emphasis on the role of labor unions, coalitions, political organizing, and community-based policy advocacy. The course includes the study of skills in analyzing power structures, developing action strategies, conflict and persuasive tactics, challenging oppressive structures, conducting community campaigns, using political advocacy as a form of mobilization, and understanding contemporary social issues as they affect oppressed and disadvantaged communities. Special emphasis will be placed on organizing around social, economic, racial, and political injustice in the US and globally. Additional emphasis will be placed on organizing with communities of color, women, LGBTQIA2S+ populations, and other under-represented groups.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Management & Leadership, Policy & Political Social Work

Skills and Strategy for Community Change SW653

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
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
Pathway Requirement For: Community Change (Host)
Pathway Elective For: Global Social Work Practice

Advancing Community Change Project Workshop SW654

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will support community change students to promote and advance projects aimed at change- in the school of social work, in field placements, on-campus, or in the community. The course will operate in a lab/workshop type format and use student-led projects to drive class content, discussion, and skills. Students will learn to employ community change models in their projects, as well as learn the process for innovating design-thinking approaches in the development of projects. The class will be highly participatory and focus on peer-learning, critical reflection, and peer consultation.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host)

Neighborhood Planning (Urban Planning) SW655

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: The course focuses on concepts and issues that characterize community planning for neighborhoods and explores interdisciplinary approaches to neighborhood analysis and intervention.  The initiatives of community development corporations, city agencies, and the federal government are examined through lectures, readings, and guest speakers.  The central questions the course examines are: Why do neighborhoods experience prosperity and decline? Which approaches (e.g. economic development, urban design, social service delivery, housing rehabilitation, community organizing and empowerment) are likely to be most effective in revitalizing neighborhoods?  How do we assess existing approaches to neighborhood revitalization?  Emphasis is placed on discovering appropriate information sources, learning to ask relevant planning questions, and formulating program alternatives and recommendations.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host)

Youth Empowerment and Organizing SW656

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course examines strategies for engaging and empowering young people, with emphasis on approaches in racially segregated and economically disinvested areas. It considers core concepts of youth empowerment at the individual, organizational, and community levels; models and methods of practice; age-appropriate and culturally-responsive approaches; roles of young people and adult allies; and perspectives on practice in a diverse democracy. The course will draw upon best practices from grassroots organizing, civic engagement, youth development, and child welfare.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Global Social Work Practice, Welfare of Children & Families

Multicultural, Multilingual and Global Organizing SW657

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will examine organizing in multicultural, multilingual and global contexts. The course will examine the process of promoting intergroup relations and social development and the skills needed to facilitate change across settings. In particular, students will explore the roles of power, privilege, oppression, and social identities in organizing for change in diverse communities and coalitions, and across cultural and global contexts. Students will also examine contemporary and historic efforts to engage in multicultural, multilingual coalitions and multi-national and global change efforts, including climate justice and racial justice.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Global Social Work Practice

Feminist and Critical Intersectionality Approaches to Community Change SW658

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will examine feminist and critical intersectionality theories as an approach and framework for community change. It will emphasize understanding the role of power embedded in structures, how power manifests in privilege and oppression and in social patterns of inequality. Students will engage in learning frameworks identifying and analyzing injustice through a feminist and critical intersectional lens as well as developing skills to utilizing these frameworks in community change practice. Students will also use this lens to explore examples of feminist and critical intersectional change efforts in the US and globally.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host)

Project and Program Design and Implementation SW660

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change, Global Social Work Practice, Management & Leadership (Host), Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Fundraising and Grant Writing SW663

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Social impact organizations secure resources through a variety of methods, including fees, grants, contracts, financial gifts, in-kind (non-cash) contributions, and investments. This course involves assessing an agency’s resource mix and developing tactics and strategies to sustain or expand its revenue streams. Students will explore the range of possible income sources that organizations can allocate to advance social justice by expanding and improving services, empowering groups, reaching populations in need, improving social conditions or anticipating and responding to new challenges. The implications of using alternative approaches of income generation and of changing the income mix will be analyzed in terms of mission accomplishment, program viability, adherence to ethics and values, and organizational sustainability. Skill development will be emphasized in areas such as grant seeking, proposal writing, donor development, direct solicitation of gifts, service contracting, and strategically communicating mission. Students will learn how to identify prospective funding sources, build relationships with potential donors, funders and collaborators, write, package and submit grant proposals, and communicate strategically. This course will also address emerging and changing trends in philanthropy.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change, Global Social Work Practice, Management & Leadership (Host), Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Community Engaged Research with Indigenous Communities SW677

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Indigenous communities in the U.S. are unique in their status as sovereign nations. This unique status creates particular opportunities and limitations for doing research. The course will identify different levels of engagement with Indigeous communities for developing and implementing research within them. Students will consider the underlying values, ethics, commitments, mutual respect and relationships from which these inquiry efforts are built and extended.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change, Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

Power in the Global Context SW680

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: Social problems affecting individuals, families, groups, communities, and nations are globally interconnected. This course is designed to introduce students to an understanding of power in the global context and to help students develop a critical and reflexive understanding of how such power informs social work practice, utilizing decolonizing and social justice-oriented perspectives (e.g., feminist, participatory, liberatory/emancipatory). Students will gain an analytic de-centering framework for critical understanding and assessment of pressing social problems (e.g., human trafficking, climate change, and environmental disasters) and models of social interventions across global contexts. Students will learn to develop research- and policy-related questions and procedures that may address these pressing social problems. In exploring these themes, we will review underpinning theories and practice in global social work, such as: colonization, international aid and development, and democratization.
Pathway Requirement For: Global Social Work Practice (Host)
Pathway Elective For: Community Change

Critical Reflexive Global Practices SW681

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This course is designed to prepare social work students for effective and ethical professional practice in global social work contexts. This course works from a framework that acknowledges that global issues and practice are not bound by physical borders. Global contexts within the USA and abroad will be explored. These contexts will be within and across different cultural, geopolitical, socio-economic, organizational, and interpersonal settings. Ongoing development of critical consciousness is the core of this course. Throughout the course, students will critically and reflexively examine the impact of their positionalities, privilege, values, assumptions, prejudice, and biases. Specific attention will be placed on analyzing types, levels, and sources of power and mechanisms of oppression to assist students in addressing global inequalities. They will use such expanding/increasing critical understanding and insights to more effectively work including advocacy and developing allyship in diverse global contexts.
Pathway Requirement For: Global Social Work Practice (Host)
Pathway Elective For: Community Change

Immigration, Forced Migration, and Transformative Social Work Practice SW682

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course focuses on immigration - one of the most volatile and hotly debated issues of our time. How we respond to the myriad questions about immigration and immigrants and the problems generated by public policy responses to various kinds of immigration will determine how our society and economy will look and function in the future. Students will gain historical, structural and critical analyses of theories and debates related to immigration and forced migration, such as: political economy perspectives about the supply and demand of migrant labor; identity, culture and intersectionality based on Critical Latinx Theory; the challenges of ‘integration’; and tensions between citizenship rights activism versus No Borders activism. Students will understand policies and systems that both facilitate and delimit social work practice with immigrants and refugees, including the family, child welfare, refugee resettlement, asylum, health and mental health, community and legal systems. This course imparts and aspires for social work practice with immigrants and refugees that is forward-looking, transformative and just.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change, Global Social Work Practice (Host), Policy & Political Social Work

Social Work Practice in the Era of Fake News SW740

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: The term “post-truth,” the Oxford Dictionaries 2016 Word of the Year, reflects an era where everyone is a few clicks away from information that supports any goal, belief, or outcome desired whether or not that information is factual. Evaluating information and recognizing “fake news” is a critical skill for everyone. For social workers, advocates, policy makers, and others responsible for human well-being, it’s essential to find reliable data and other evidence to promote best practice and avoid the dangers of inaccurate information. Skill in locating and evaluating information can also help a practitioner work with clients and others who bring incorrect information into an interaction.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change, Management & Leadership, Policy & Political Social Work (Host), Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Photovoice SW750

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Photovoice is a process in which people typically those with limited power due to poverty, language barriers, race, class, ethnicity, gender, culture, or other circumstances use video or photo images to document their environment and experiences and share them with others. It uses visual methods to communicate lived experience and to create a basis for discussion and action. The images are often used, with captions composed by the photographers, to bring the realities of the photographers lives home to the public and policy makers and to spur change. However, PhotoVoice can also be a method used direct practice, evaluation, and management settings. This course will cover basic methods for using Photovoice methods with individuals, groups, and communities. The course will provide an overview of the method and its application in different contexts, both domestic and intergenerational, and how visual images can be a powerful form of communication. This section of the class will include a walk through the School of Social Work's collection of documentary photography. The ethical dimensions of this method will also be covered. The remainder of the class will teach methods for photovoice and engage students in their own photovoice project. We will end with an exhibit of photos from the course that will take place in our School of Social Work.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Social Media & Social Change SW751

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course teaches students about the role of social media in social change. Students will explore research that demonstrates the ways that social media has changed/is changing the social world. This will include an exploration of the harmful changes that can result from social media (such as mental health issues, and increases in extremism, polarization, and misinformation), as well as the anti-oppressive changes that are possible (such as increases in social connection and community, and the use of social media for activism). Throughout this course, students will also develop their own skills in effective digital presence and activism. Core competencies including critical thinking, social justice, and social equity are also examined and discussed.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Management & Leadership

Intergroup Dialogues/Diversity, Dialogues & Social Justice SW752

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is designed to increase students awareness, knowledge, and understanding of issues related to diversity and social justice, including race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, ability status, and the intersections between these social identity groups. Additionally, students will gain an understanding of dialogue as a method for peacefully resolving conflict that may emerge due to cultural misunderstandings or oppressive dynamics, as well as skills for effectively engaging in dialogue. The topics of this course include social identity development; difference and dominance and the nature of social oppression; our personal and interpersonal connections to power, privilege, and oppression; understanding and resolving conflicts or resistance; the process of dialogue and coalition building across differences; and its applications in multicultural social work settings.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse

Participatory Facilitation SW753

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Participatory facilitation is the process of increasing participation of diverse people within groups and community contexts. Emphasis will be placed on understanding theories of group work and group process. In this course, students will develop skills and techniques to strengthen participatory facilitation practices, including understanding intergroup dialogue, liberating structures, participatory planning activities, and alternative forms of facilitation including world cafes and online facilitation practices. Students will explore examples as well as practice skills. Special focus will be on the role of power, privilege, and social identities within a facilitation context.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Management & Leadership, Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Using Art for Social Change SW754

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is aimed to create the following impacts on student learning: increased knowledge of the history of community based art and design in the US; increased knowledge of methods for collaborative community based art and design; develop skills in collaboration with community groups in developing community based art and design projects; Knowledge and skills to evaluate the impact of community based art and design activity. Our class is organized around principles of andragogy (adult learning), empowerment, and collaboration. We will develop a co-learning environment that will include presentations, skill building activities and exercises, speakers, and different media. Experiential activities will be central to the structure and process of this course.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Global Social Work Practice

Participatory Research & Evaluation SW755

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will describe the values/ethics, processes, outcomes and dissemination strategies used in participatory research (i.e. community-based participatory research, Photovoice, digital storytelling, participatory action research, participatory evaluation). Students will learn how to develop research steering committees (or other guiding and decision-making bodies made up of stakeholders), engage partners in assessing community strengths, priorities and issues, and use research and evaluation as a tool for action. The course will include how to work with interested community partners to develop key research questions to solve (or better understand) prioritized problems. It will also explore different participatory approaches to engage community in each step of the research and evaluation process.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Program Evaluation and Applied Research

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