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National Youth Dialogue Day

Community Organization Learning Community

To build capacity for social justice and community change in a diverse society.

Our program is the oldest and largest of its kind in graduate education. We began working with community agencies and neighborhood groups in Detroit in the 1930s, and have played prominent roles in community organizing, planning, and development ever since.

Today, community organization is more important than ever. Economic and social changes affect conditions and cause inequalities for many communities. In addition, it will not be long before a majority of the United States population will be of African, Asian, and Latin Americas descent, and diversity will be a fact of life, and this too will challenge communities.

These changes will challenge communities to build capacity, and create opportunities for change agents. There are expanding opportunities for people who make community organization their career as organizers, planners, policy analysts and program adminstrators, and as community advocates and political activists. Effective community organizers can play a critical role in harnessing the opportunities of the future to address these emerging opportunities.

Community Collaborations

We establish and sustain long-term collaborative partnerships with grassroots groups, community agencies, and nonprofit organizations, for example:

Community-Based Initiative in Detroit

The Community-Based Initiative in Detroit is to train and support a new generation of social workers dedicated to community and social change in urban cities, neighborhoods, and communities. 

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National Community Scholars Program

The National Community Scholars Program prepares professionals to lead and mentor young people and adults so they can develop allies and create community change.

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Michigan Youth and Community Program

This community action and youth leadership program is a collaboration with urban and suburban partners in economically disinvested and racially segregated areas.

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Participating Faculty

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  • Barry N. Checkoway

    Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
    Community organization, community development, neighborhood development, community-based policy advocacy, participatory research, youth empowerment, evaluation
  • Larry M. Gant

    Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Professor of Art and Design, School of Art and Design
    Program evaluation, social action, community-based health programs, community organization and social planning; public health social work, international social work, arts-based community development, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS
  • Lorraine M. Gutiérrez

    Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program, and Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Professor of Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
    Empowerment-oppressed groups, Latinos, social justice.
  • Laura Lein

    Katherine Reebel Collegiate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Professor of Anthropology, College of LS&A
    Households in poverty, NGOs and human services, health disparities, women's employment, child care, interdisciplinary and mixed methods research approaches.
  • Katie E. Richards-Schuster

    Director of Undergraduate Minor Programs and Assistant Professor of Social Work
    Youth participation, youth engagement, community organizing, critical youth media, educational justice, social justice education and post-undergraduate social change work
  • Michael Spencer

    Fedele F. Fauri Collegiate Professor of Social Work
    Disparities, mental health services, race/ethnicity, CBPR, discrimination, community health workers
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