This syllabus is available from the archive of the H-Urban Seminar on the History of Community Organizing and Community-Based Development, Additional information on COMM-ORG is available on our WWW Home Page at or by writing to the COMM-ORG organizer, Wendy Plotkin, at
SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK                              OFFICE: SH 202
SPRING SEMESTER 1995                   OFFICE TELEPHONE: 915-7013
                                 OFFICE HOURS:Tuesday 10-11:30 AM
                                                 Wednesday 3-5 PM
                                            Thursday 2:00-3:00 PM
                                            BY APPOINTMENT


Course Description

This course is designed to enhance the student's understanding of community systems and institutions. The course examines both the principles and processes of community as a major element in the social environment and the process of influencing change in the community.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  1. discuss the basic concept of community as a system and how it influences problems, perspectives, behaviors and thoughts;
  2. discuss the role that politics, political interests and political power play in a community system;
  3. discuss the role of citizen participation and empowerment in community and community intervention strategies; and
  4. demonstrate an analytic capability and decision-making framework for community interventions.

Required Textbook

Readings are on Reserve at the Water Tower Library.

Course Requirements

This course is taught in a seminar style. You are expected to participate in discussion that is based upon information and knowledge derived from the assigned readings and their application to practice. You are expected to complete the assigned readings prior to the class meeting.

The final grade for this course is calculated from two components:

  1. class participation (50%); and
  2. a course project (50%).


There are three levels of participation: active, moderately active and passive.

  1. An active participant will be involved in the class to the extent that she/he asks pertinent questions, shares relevant insights and contributes to the general learning of the class. Active participation will earn 100 points.
  2. A moderately active participant will be involved in the class to the extent that he/she actively listens, reacts to in formation, and asks relevant questions when confused by course content. Moderately active participation will earn 86 points.
  3. A passive participant will be involved in the class to the extent that she/he attends. Passive participation will earn 70 points.

Course Project

A project is required for this course. The project consists of a case study that documents the strategy, adaptation and change that has occurred or has not occurred as a result of a community project. A community project is broadly defined and consists of a work effort that either has been completed or is in process at your field placement agency, your place of employment or a volunteer experience in which you are currently involved.

The final report on the case study entails a 15-20 page paper that adequately describes the community project. APA format is required for the proposal. The completed project will be due on the last day of class, i.e. Wednesday April 26, 1995. The total possible earned point for the final paper are 100.

The final grade for the course will be assigned according to the following distribution:

A: 90 - 100 points
B: 80 - 89 points
C: 70 - 79 points
D: 60 - 69 points
F: 0 - 59 points

No curve is used in this course.

No extra credit assignments are used in this course.

Extensions for submission of course assignments will be given only in the most unusual circumstances.



A Select Reference List

rev. 12/26/94