CSS 201 - Perspectives on Community Service

Spring Quarter, 2001 - April 5 thru June 15

Thursdays, 5:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

in LL107 at CbSL offices, 2233 N. Kenmore

Dr. Loomis Mayfield, instructor PHONE: 773-275-4214
E-MAIL: loomis_mayfield@yahoo.com
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

 Michael Beckman, student coordinator 



Community Service Studies 201 - Perspectives on Community Service is an interdisciplinary experiential learning course that offers a context for critically reflecting upon and engaging in community service. This course is mandatory for all students electing a community service minor and a prerequisite to the Community Internship course.

CSS 201 will explore the relationship between social justice movements and non-profit organizations in the U.S. Students can learn about issues and theory and the organizational settings in which they are serving. It incorporates perspectives from various disciplines, including history, political science, sociology, and ethics.

Students will explore the range of organizations from the national to grassroots community-based organizations. They also will have the opportunity to compare and contrast the role of organizations in the private and public sectors. As a community-based service learning course, it integrates traditional study and theoretical texts with students' experiences at community service organizations through substantive reflective writing assignments and reflective in-class discussion.

The learning goals of the course are that students will use critical thinking skills to analyze:

Student, Instructor, and the Community Group: Rights and Obligations

As a student in the class, you have the right to criticize and question what you are hearing and reading, without fear of ridicule or threat of retribution. You have the right to be treated equally and with respect. You have the right to be fully informed of course requirements and grading procedures. You have the right to receive prompt feedback on your writing assignments. You have the right to receive your tuition dollar's worth of learning from this course.

Your first obligation, as a student, is to give me, your classmates, and our guests, the same respect you have a right to expect. At all times, we should all be respectful of others in discussion. You should show up for class regularly, on time, and prepared. Preparation means fulfilling the course requirements on time (service, readings, and assignments) to be able to focus on the issues during class periods.

As the instructor, it is my obligation to respect your rights and act in accordance with them. I will treat criticisms and questions with full respect, apply rules equally, inform you fully of course requirements and grading procedures, return graded work promptly, and provide a quality classroom experience. If I do not know the answer to a question I will try to find it or refer you to someone who does. When I find out I am not being clear, I will try to better explain myself.

The people at the agencies you serve also have the right to be treated with respect, and should treat you in the same way. On your part, this includes setting up a schedule for your service and fulfilling your duties.

In addition, community groups also deserve professional courtesy in regards to how you treat information about them on the operation of their agency, that you may receive directly from your experience or through the discussion with others in the class. That is, our reflection on any agency's practices, beliefs, or perspectives that we will use in the context of the course, should remain confidential. This information should be used only within the format of our class. This is a matter of professional respect, as well as an acknowledgement that our analysis of actions for the purposes of our course may not be appropriate, or justifiable, in all contexts.

Course Requirements


Class attendance is mandatory; please be on time.

In place of one class, we will schedule a visit to the Chicago Historical Society for an exhibit, "Out of the Loop: Neighborhood Voices," either Thurs., 4/26, or Sat., 4/28, at 2:00 p.m. (exact time to be determined).


Students must complete 25 hours of service with a non-profit agency during the 10 week period of the course. Students and agencies will make selections in the first class session. You and they will jointly set up a schedule to fulfill this requirement.

N.B.: The service component is a requirement to achieve a passing grade in the course, but not sufficient in and of itself. Grades will depend on the assignments (see below), which will integrate the service experience, the required reading, information from guests, videos, and exhibit, and structured review and analysis of the material.

Required Reading

Books should be available in reserve room and in the bookstore. Reading is required unless otherwise noted.

Recommended reading

Source material at web sites:


All assignments will integrate the course material (readings, videos, CHS exhibit, class discussions, etc.) with your service experience.

Failure to complete any of the assignments will result in a failing grade for the course. Assignments must be completed on time, barring only the most extreme emergencies:

Course Grading Grading will be done on a typical +/- letter system of A/B/C/D/F scale, 100% reflecting an A+, 93-90% reflecting an A-, etc. The final term grade will be determined by:

Class Attendance & Participation  15%
2 short Reflection Papers (total)  20%
Class presentations 15%
Mid-term 20%
Final Exam (short answers) 5%
Final Paper 25%
25 hours of community work at an agency Required to Pass Course

Please note, papers must be typed and double-spaced, and it is your responsibility to keep a copy in your own files (electronic or hard copy) in case of unforeseen accidents.

Class Process

At some points I (or our outside guests) will lecture, in order to provide you with historical background, theoretical concepts, and other necessary information. Most of the time, however, we will be engaged in interactive, small group or large group discussion. These discussions will require you to include analysis and information from the readings, so if you don't do the required readings each week, it will affect your grade. I always welcome your participation, comments, and questions since student participation contributes to a much more interesting class for all of us.

Class Schedule

1. April 5 - Class Introduction/Overview

- Historical development of non-profits and social movements
- What is community/neighborhood/city? What is service?
- Agency presentations/community service work choices made in class

2. April 12 - Theories and history of social change in the U.S.

Read: 1.) Boyte and Kari, chapters 1, 2, 4

2.) Mayfield, Hellwig, Banks, "The Chicago Response to Urban …"

3.) Recommended: "Census 2000 - Implications of Chicago Demographics" issue of of PRAGmatics 3:1 (Winter/Spring, 2000) at Policy Research Action Group web site, http://www.luc.edu/depts/curl/prag/, under "Publications" and "PRAGmatics" buttons.

4.) Recommended: Boyte and Kari, chapter 3

3. April 19 - Public values and citizenship in society

Read: 1.) Morris, chapters 1, 2, 3

2.) Putnam, "Bowling Alone…" (available at http://muse.jhu.edu/demo/journal_of_democracy/v006/putnam.html. 

3.) Putnam, "The Strange Disappearance of Civic America…" at COMM-ORG web site http://comm-org.wisc.edu/ under "Syllabi, Archives, and On-Line Readings" button)

4.) Greeley, "The Strange Reappearance of Civic America…" (under "Articles" button at http://www.agreeley.com)

4. Week of April 26 - 1st short reflection paper due

Communities, and Community-based Organizations

* CLASS TO BE HELD AT CHICAGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Sat., 4/28, at 2:00 p.m. CHS is located on Clark St. at North Avenue in Old Town (the south end of Lincoln Park). CTA bus nos. 11, 22, 36, 72, & 156 stop nearby; a parking lot one block north in Lincoln Park is available, enter from Stockton Drive (discounted parking validated at CHS).

- Exhibit: "Out of the Loop: Neighborhood Voices."

Class discussion to follow at CHS.

Read: 1.) Morris, chapters 4 & 5

2.) Boyte & Kari, chapters 5 & 6

3.) Recommended: "Census 2000 - Implications of Chicago Demographics" issue of of PRAGmatics 3:1 (Winter/Spring, 2000) at Policy Research Action Group web site, http://www.luc.edu/depts/curl/prag/, under "Publications" and "PRAGmatics" buttons.

5. May 3 - Focus on a Community: Uptown - Race, Class, Politics

Midterm sample essay questions for 5/17 exam handed out

Presentation by Sarah Jane Knoy, Exec. Dir., Organization of the North East

Read: 1.) Morris, chapter 6 & 7

2.) Bennett, "Rethinking Neighborhoods…"

3.) Hardy, Mumm, and O'Connor articles (pp. 3-7) in "TIF: Leading Chicago to Greener Pastures" issue of PRAGmatics 2:3 (Summer, 1999) at Policy Research Action Group web site, http://www.luc.edu/depts/curl/prag/, under "Publications" and "PRAGmatics" buttons.

4.) Other CBO and TIF information handouts

6. May 10 - Focus on a Community: Uptown - Race, Class, Politics

Presentation by David Rowe, Exec. Dir., Uptown Chicago Commission

Read: 1.) Boyte & Kari, chapter 7

2.) Morris, chapter 8

3.) Other CBO and TIF information handouts

7. May 17 - Mid-term exam - in-class essay and short answer

- Video: "The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and his Legacy"

- Presentation by Karl Nass, DePaul Community Service Associations

8. May 24 - Local/Regional/National/International organizations

Class presentation by First Group

Read: 1.) Boyte & Kari, chapter 8

2.) Morris, chapter 9

3.) Farkas, "Dutch Science Shops…"

9. May 31 - 2nd Short Reflection Paper Due

Community Development and Social Change: Issues of Division/Unity

Class presentation by Second Group

Read: 1.) Boyte & Kari, chapters 9 & 10

2.) 10 articles (pp. 6-22) in "Faith and Activism" issue of PRAGmatics 1:3 (Fall, 1998), at Policy Research Action Group web site, http://www.luc.edu/depts/curl/prag/, under "Publications" and then "PRAGmatics" buttons.

10. June 7 - Community Development and Social Change: Issues of Division/Unity

Class presentation by Third Group

Read: Morris, chapters 10 & 11

11. June 14 - Final Paper Due & Final In-Class Short Answer Exam

In class evaluation