Introduction to Community Organizing is for those who could imagine running national or local advocacy organizations that make change happen or anyone who wants to understand the art of community organizing. It will provide an overview of and training in contemporary community organizing practice in the United States. This includes defining what community organizing is and identifying its value base; exploring the strategies, tactics and activities of organizing; and thinking about marketing, language and evaluation. We also will examine the transformations of civic engagement and voluntary associations in the United States and the impact of these transformations on the ways Americans organize and advocate for change.
But there is a larger lesson here: The skills of community organizing – listening, finding areas of consensus and building on that consensus, finding ways to make change happen – are skills that can be applied to all professional and life settings. Through readings, class activities, cases studies, speakers and reflection, students will examine skills and techniques for effective organizing, including building a membership base, developing ordinary people as community leaders and running member-led issue campaigns. Students will also have the opportunity to reflect on and strengthen their own skills as community organizers and advocates.