SW 220 Introduction to Community Organizing

3 credits

This course provides a general introduction to the history, organizations, strategies and practice issues related to community organizing and development. Specifically, this course will examine different types of community organizing and development approaches including, but not limited to workforce development, neighborhood revitalization, and arts and culture. Current trends and strategies for organizing residents and collaborating with community-based organizations are explored. This course also will introduce empowerment, strengths-based, human rights, and trauma-informed perspectives as frameworks for developing, exploring, and analyzing community organizing and development in urban and rural settings.

Thoughts from Clinical Assistant Professor Michael Lynch

In the course, I have the opportunity to introduce students to foundational social work concepts, including the impact of public policy on oppressed communities, structural racism, and the social, political, and cultural forces that create and sustain these problems. In the class, I use modern examples to explore the content, e.g., the different societal responses to the crack and opioid epidemics and the organizing techniques used by the Black Lives Matter movement.

I use student-led discussions and breakout rooms to allow students to explore and apply course content. The students have a choice over the assignments, e.g., for several assignments they can choose to submit a PowerPoint, infographic, or written report. Students have found the course “Effective, fun and challenging” and remarked that the course “allowed me to apply what I learned about in class/zoom to real-world issues.