graduate degrees in organizing
colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Thu Jun 24 17:32:32 CDT 2004
[ed: thanks to Moshe and Aaron for the discussion and further resources.]
From: Rabbi Moshe ben Asher & Magidah Khulda bat Sarah <kharakim at jps.net>
Drew Akason asks: "What exactly would a 'Masters in Organizing' or a 'Doctor of Organizing' do beyond the Halls of Ivy? Another way of asking the question is, Why would an organizer want a masters or doctorate in organizing? Presumably, someone with a graduate degree wouldn't have any interest or reason to continue doing the work.
Drew's question reminded me of my own reasons for getting graduate degrees and continuing nonetheless to organize. I already had a B.A. and some seat-of-the-pants organizing experience when I decided to get education and training that would enable me to do the work more thoughtfully and purposively.
As it turned out, I was fortunate to encounter Warren Haggstrom, an experienced farm-labor organizer who, at the time, was teaching in the grassroots organizing program at the UCLA School of Social Welfare. When I finished the program, I returned to organizing. After several years, I had a number of questions about practically acquiring permanent public powers at the grassroots, questions that required at least a year or two of serious study to answer. When I realized that the doctoral program at UC Berkeley would give me precisely that opportunity, I applied and was accepted. The doctoral program allowed me to focus on a dissertation that was geared exactly to the questions for which I wanted answers. Subsequent to receiving my doctorate, I spent many years organizing, first doing neighborhood- and then congregation-based work.
The graduate degrees also gave me the opportunity over the years to teach as a part-time lecturer and train many other organizers who, like me, had enrolled in schools of social work. And also in those times, especially because of the challenging questions of students, I had the opportunity to reflect on and write about the work I had done, it's meaning in the larger scheme of social development and its practical organizing lessons.
From: "Aaron Schutz" <schutz at uwm.edu>
I haven't been following this discussion very closely. However our
university has attempted to develop a kind of hybrid certificate program
in community organizing. It includes traditional classes, but requires
completion of an approved (at least) 5-day training program run by an
outside organizing group, as well as an internship with an organizing
group, both of which we offer credit for. Right now we are pointing
people to the Midwest Academy course, but are looking at others.
Our goal is not to produce qualified organizers, but instead to
introduce students to organizing who might not otherwise encounter this,
and provide these students with a knowledge base that would help them in
starting at an entry-level organizing job. Also, we want to introduce
people who generally do service work in the community to more activist
approaches to community change. We hope that the combination of
practical and more critical university and outside training will be
synergistic for students, but we have just started and will have to see
how it works. Since organizing groups often struggle to find candidates
who have a background in organizing, we hope to feed people with at
least a basic understanding of many of the issues into the field.
You can find our certificate program at www.epce.soe.uwm.edu--scroll
down to the bottom to click on Community Organizing.
Department of Educational Policy
and Community Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Office: (414) 229-4150
Fax: (414) 229-3700
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