Community Based Participatory Action Research

This is an introductory course for students who want to better understand theories, principles, and methods of community-based participatory action research (CBPAR), which is research done with communities and community partners. CBPAR is a means for community planning and organizing to address local issues and social needs that center individuals and communities directly impacted.

Race and Voting in the United States

This course will introduce students to the history of and contemporary fight for voting rights in the United States. We will begin with a brief overview of historical struggles over access to the ballot box, up through and including the 15th Amendment and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The bulk of the course will focus on the contemporary context of voting rights, looking specifically at recent Supreme Court decisions, and include scholarship about white backlash against the growing political power of Americans of color.

Equitable Community Engagement

Key to the planning profession is engagement. Most of a planner’s work necessitates engagement of institutions and of people in order to effectuate change, and change (or prevention thereof) is the planner’s currency. Specifically this course will look at community engagement, or engagement of the public within a defined geography. What is community? How is it defined? What does it look and feel like? And how does it manifest itself, or not, as part of the planning process? Communities in the United States are rarely equitable, particularly as it relates to planning.

Labor Movement Politics, Advocacy & Social Change

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of U.S. workers involved in work stoppages in 2018 reached its highest point since the mid-1980s. The resurgence of the use of strikes and worker activists withholding labor is set against the backdrop of enormous societal challenges like wealth and income inequality, climate change, and a lack of affordable, quality health care.  

Financing Inclusive Businesses

This course assesses the role of inclusive business (IB) as a strategy for economic growth, private-­‐sector development and poverty reduction, and the two main IB financing modalities: bank debt and private equity. Analytical frameworks are provided for understanding how IB strategies incorporate and affect the poor as consumers, producers, suppliers, distributors and employees.

Strategic Communications for Advocacy

Organizational storytelling both effectively communicates an organization’s mission and builds empathy for its cause. A story is more than an exposition, climax, and resolution. Effective storytelling weaves a narrative that tells a systemic story about the social justice movement. The course will offer an overview on how to strategically use values-based communications, helping students understand how to move persuadable audiences to garner support for social justice issues.

US Climate Policy, Politics, and Change

This course should help those who believe that the United States must reduce its pollution responsible for climate change. The course will provide an overview of climate science and politics. Next, we will examine the “theories of change” concept, and identify new theories of change and their policies to reduce climate pollution. Additionally, we will learn to design issue advocacy campaign plans that would create the political space essential to adopt these policies.

Elections in Action

Elections In Action is for those that are interested in learning how a campaign works from start to finish. Whether one is working a local to national campaign the structure is still the same. This seven-session course will provide an overview and training in modern day campaign planning and implementation all the way from preparing as a candidate, staff roles, media, fundraising and Get Out the Vote strategies.

Topics in Urban Studies: Policy Agenda Setting in an Increasingly Polarized World

In an increasingly diverse city and country, the responsibility of public servants stretches far beyond writing and passing legislation. True representation requires consistent and meaningful engagement with historically underrepresented communities. In this course, students will discuss how lawmakers and those in public service can ensure that all stakeholders are heard in the decision-making process, and determine best practices for reaching communities who have historically been left behind by government.