HOD 2610:


3 credits / Spring, 2004 / Mayborn 205 / Tu/Th 9:35-10:50


Instructor: Doug Perkins, www.people.vanderbilt.edu/~douglas.d.perkins/home.html

Office Hours: Tu/Th 11-12 or by app’t, 107 Mayborn

Voice: 322-3386, Fax: 322-1769, E-mail: doug.perkins@vanderbilt.edu


Course Description:  Introduction to the practice of community development (CD), including analysis of, and experience with, CD issues, organizations and policies.  Prepares students to work with public or community agency staff, administrators, planners, policy-makers, or community organizers and leaders, who require analysis and recommendations on particular community issues.  Students may also develop experience as part of a research, intervention, or policy development team.  The course also focuses on ways ordinary people can become involved in improving their own neighborhoods, communities, and city.  It is designed to provide in-depth understanding of, and experience with, one or more particular CD issues.  A major goal is to prepare students to be able to handle a staff position, working for an administrator or decision maker who requires analysis and recommendations on particular community issues (e.g., affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization, urban growth/sprawl, school-community partnerships in metropolitan Nashville). 


Goals for the Class


1.  To understand Community Development from the perspective of those who experience it.

2.  To develop a social ecological perspective that provides for a comprehensive construction of the problem and for developing approaches for intervention.

3.  To learn about different approaches to community resource development.

4.  To learn to be a participant observer while being in a community program.

6.  To prepare an analysis of a community program based on this field experience.


Course Format:  NOTE: THIS IS A SERVICE-LEARNING CLASS REQUIRING UP TO 30 HOURS OF PROJECT WORK IN THE COMMUNITY, IN AN ORGANIZATION, OR WORKING ON A RESEARCH PROJECT.  Class meetings will be run as a seminar, in which the instructor and individual students will lead class discussion of the readings and encourage questions on and debate of those topics.  Lectures will typically be short and set the context for discussion.  The readings for the day on the schedule are to be read before the class period for we want you to be prepared to participate in the discussionThe term project (see assignment B, below) will also be planned and discussed periodically in class.  The exact schedule of topics and reading assignments may change.  Be aware of any changes.  If you do not think you can keep up with the readings, attend class regularly, and participate fully in the class project, you should drop the class now.


Required Book (in bookstore; other readings will be on the web, Prometheus, or on reserve in the Peabody Library):

Homan, M. S. (2004). Promoting community change: Making it happen in the real world (3rd Ed.). Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole.


Good practical manual on asset-based community development:  Kretzman, J.P., & McKnight, J.L. (1993). Building communities from the inside out: A path toward finding and mobilizing a community’s assets. Chicago: ACTA.
On community, issue, and labor organizing: Kahn, S. (1991). Organizing: A guide for grass-roots leaders (2nd Ed.). Silver Spring, MD: NASW.
On community development theory: Biddle, W.W. & Biddle, L.J. (1965). The community development process: The rediscovery of local initiative. NY: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston
On urban planning/policy: Palen, J.J. (1997).  The urban world, 5th Edition.  McGraw-Hill (chapters 5, 8, 10, 12, 13, and 14).
On international and economic development: Friedmann, J. (1992). Empowerment: The politics of alternative development. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.


                                                   COURSE SCHEDULE

Week Date  Required Readings

1      1/15    Explanation of course & syllabus, discussion of project, your community

2      1/20    Explanation of project: Read Project proposal, Woodbine neighborhood history, & 1987 Woodbine Need Assessment Report

        1/22    Homan, Preface, Part I Intro, Chapter 1: Understanding the challenge to change

3      1/27    Ch. 2: Theoretical frameworks for community change

        1/29    Ch. 3: Relating community change to professional practice

4      2/3      Ch. 4: Putting yourself in the picture

        2/5      Part II Intro, Ch. 5: Using information and communication technology

5      2/10    Ch. 6: Knowing your community

        2/12    Ch. 7: Power

6      2/17    Ch. 8: Powerful planning

        2/19    Ch.  9: People—the most valuable resource

7      2/24    Ch. 10: Raising other resources

        2/26    Ch. 11: Getting the word out

8      3/2      Ch. 12: Building the organized effort

        3/4      Ch. 13: Taking action—strategies and tactics

9      3/6-14 Spring Break: NO CLASS

10    3/16    Part III Intro, Ch. 14: Enhancing the quality of neighborhoods

        3/18    Ch. 15: Increasing the effectiveness of established, formal organizations

11    3/23    Ch. 16: Lobbying for change

        3/25    Intro to Community Development: Christenson, J.A., Fendley, K., & Robinson, J.W., Jr. (1989). Community development. In J.A. Christenson & J.W. Robinson, Jr. (Eds.), Community development in perspective. Ames: Iowa State Univ. Press. (pp. 1-25) (on reserve)

12    3/30    Perkins, D.D., & Crim, B., Silberman, P., & Brown, B.B. (2003). Community Development as a Response to Community-level Adversity: Ecological Theory and Research and Strengths-based Policy. In K. Maton, C. Schellenbach, B. Leadbeater, & A. Solarz (Eds.), Investing in children, youth, families, and communities: Strengths-building research and policy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. (also explore Links to Community Development Resources on the Internet)

        4/1      Project Meeting

13    4/6      Social capital: Perkins, D.D., Hughey, J., & Speer, P.W. (2002). Community psychology perspectives on social capital theory and community development practice. Journal of the Community Development Society, 33(1), 33-52. [Recommended: DeFilippis, J. (2001). The myth of social capital in community development. Housing
Policy Debate, 12
, 781-806.]

        4/8      Community organizing and empowerment: Speer, P.W., & Hughey, J. (1995). Community organizing: An ecological route to empowerment and power. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23, 729-748.

14    4/13    Empowerment policy: Perkins, D.D. (1995). Speaking truth to power: Empowerment ideology as social intervention and policy. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23, 765-794.

        4/15    The Big Picture: (1) Prilleltensky, I. The Role of Power in Wellness, Oppression, and Liberation: The Promise of Psychopolitical Validity + (2) Christens, B., & Perkins, D.D. Interdisciplinary, Multilevel Action Research to Enhance Ecological and Psychopolitical Validity.

15    4/20    Project/report work

        4/22    Project completion and presentation



Course Requirements: There are 2 things you will be graded on:


A. Regular Journal or Prometheus Discussion Entries (60%):  %):  At least once every week, students should post one or more discussion topics or responses on Prometheus that integrates EACH of the following: 1. the required readings, 2. class discussion (which means you should attend class regularly), 3. the term project (below), and (optionally) 4. news items related to the course.  These Prometheus entries are in lieu of exams, so I expect them to reflect your doing and understanding the readings, your attendance in class, and be well thought out and well-written.  The Prometheus discussion should not be just a “chat room” of unsupported opinions.  I will read each entry and grade 10 entries of your choosing. 


My suggestions: 1. Before each reading is discussed in class, write a (a) brief summary in your own words of what that day’s reading is about and try to focus in a little more depth on (b) one central or interesting point and (c) analyze it and describe your reactions to it (reflection).  2. If a particular presentation or discussion in class made you think, write about it as soon as possible after that class.  Try to do that at least once a week. I also suggest you look for news stories related to a community development or urban policy topic (e.g., housing, urban sprawl, neighborhood or central city redevelopment, economic development, transit/highways, community action, neighborhood services, land use and zoning, historic preservation, community race or cultural relations, etc.).  The story can be from any source, but ideally from a local newspaper or news website (e.g., the Tennesseean, City Paper, or Nashville Scene), so you can copy the web link to your Prometheus posting along with a brief summary and reflection on it.  


Reflections on the project should include your experiences with it (problems encountered and how you handled them or could handle them), connections between the project and class readings and discussion, and reactions to agency staff, community members, or members of your own group.  Integrating comments might include instances where readings were demonstrated or contradicted in reality.


There is no required length to your Prometheus postings, but a rough target might be to try to write a total of about 1,000 words per week.  That may seem like a lot, but you will be graded on your summaries, analyses, and reflections, not your writing style, grammar, or spelling, so your writing should flow very quickly.


B. Community/Environmental Change Project (40%):  This course generally involves a group community intervention project to help solve a specific problem in an actual, local community setting.  You will need to spend approximately 30 hours outside of class on the project (that's what makes this is a "service-learning" class).  Keep a log of hours spent on the project and a description of work done (for every entry).  The project's "client" organizations will be invited to class toward the end of the term to hear from you on the results of the project and to give us feedback.


Your grade for the project will be based on a report or section of one, about 3 or 4 single-spaced pages long.  All reports are due at the last class.  The project report must be clear, well-organized, and well-written. More instructions will be provided in class. 


This semester’s project will focus on an ongoing community needs and assets assessment project in the Woodbine, Glencliff, and Radnor neighborhoods about 5 miles Southeast of campus.  Students will be assigned in pairs to conduct resident interviews, analyze those and other data, and write and edit sections of the final project report to the Woodbine Family Resource Center and the local neighborhood associations.


Honor Code: The Vanderbilt University honor code implies that what is presented to the instructor as the students’ own work is in fact their own work in their own words.  Do not turn in papers that have been written for other purposes and be vigilant in avoiding plagiarism.  Students sometimes “borrow” phrases, sentences, or even whole paragraphs or sections from their source material, not necessarily intending to plagiarize.  But any such uncredited and un-quotation marked lifting will receive a ZERO for that assignment.  Staff work requires that materials read are boiled down into the writer's own words, and that quotations be used VERY little.  As you take notes, you are often influenced by the word usage and may not even be aware that you have not used your own words.  The best check is to read back over the source material, after you have written your text, and compare it.  If it is the same, change your text.  In every sentence or paragraph that is supported by a published source, cite the author(s) and date in parenthesis at the end of the first sentence that refers to them.  Frequent citing is cumbersome, but safe.  Your References list should include everything cited.  See the reference list below for the proper style and all the information that must be included.


Grading System:  97-100%=A+, 93-96=A, 90-92=A-, 87-89=B+, 83-86=B, 80-82=B-, 77-79=C+, 73-76=C, 70-72=C-, 67-69=D+, 63-64=D, 60-62=D-, 0-59=F.  Late work will lose points, and any missing units of work will be graded 0 unless you submit a written explanation and plan for completing the work.  Talk to the instructor if you're having problems.