This sequence of recommended courses provides the conceptual and substantive knowledge base and practice behaviors underlying professional practice in community organizing, planning, and development. Traditionally, the field of community organization has encompassed distinct modes or strategies of intervention – social planning, social action, and community development – by which professionals help community groups engage in purposive, collective change. More recently, such groups have sought to draw from multiple traditions and to build community across a number of boundaries to enhance the effectiveness of community responses to contemporary social welfare challenges. The goals of the Community Organizing, Planning, and Development cluster are:

  • To introduce students to the important theories of community organization and change, so that students can assess the role and prospects for success of community-level interventions.
  • To instruct students in the major traditions of community intervention and to investigate the potential value of those traditions in confronting contemporary problems.
  • To familiarize students with the broader political, economic, and spatial environments within which urban and community action takes place.
  • To develop analytical abilities in strategic decision-making so that students may engage successfully in different modes of community intervention.
  • To develop the critical skills to evaluate the effectiveness of various strategies, actions, and programs.

These goals are realized through coursework and field placements, as well as student-initiated activities and other program offerings. SSA faculty recommend that cluster students take the core community course (SSAD 48300), followed by at least one course in each of the two subsequent areas.

I. Community Core
48300 Theories and Strategies of Community Change

II. Community and Context
48200 Political Economy of Urban Development
49822 Community Organization: Historical Contexts and Contemporary Challenges
47622 Community Development in International Perspective

III. Selected Strategies

45312 Urban Social Movements
47622 Community Development in International Perspective
48112 Community Organizing
64700 Organizing Coalitions for Change: Growing Power & Social Movements

Jeri Laureano

Jeri Laureano, AM '83

“We do our best every day to provide our clients with opportunities to build a better life. We have former clients who now work at ChildServ, making money so that they can support themselves and their family. I think that says a lot about who we are at ChildServ.”