John Eric Stewart
Examines the historical foundations, theory, methods, and practice that constitute the interdisciplinary field of community psychology. Students build upon an existing empirical knowledge base, including effective modes of community intervention, and examine the relevance of community psychology for addressing social problem.
This is an introduction to the goals, methods, and theories of Community Psychology as a field, and also the introduction and foundation for the CP major. In the course you will engage theory and research on human development and change as a function of person-environment interactions, including interactions with particular settings (e.g., schools), communities, and with the socio-cultural environment. Students will become familiar with important concepts to the field: a developmental and transactional approach to mental health; systems theory and contextualism; taking a strengths (rather than a deficits) perspective; prevention, health promotion, empowerment and social change as intervention strategies. Students will also gain an understanding of how CP relates to other areas of psychology, particularly developmental, social, clinical, and organizational psychology, as well as to other fields such as social work, social policy, education, public and community health, and community development.
Student learning goals
Demonstrate an understanding of key principles for the field and their relevance to human development and change (e.g., an ecological approach, the importance of values and cultural diversity in research and intervention, emphasizing strengths versus deficits).
Demonstrate a familiarity with the key intervention strategies of prevention, promotion, and empowerment, and a sophisticated understanding of at least one of these.
Demonstrate a capacity to critically evaluate research and theory related to human development and change in cultural contexts.
Understand how community psychology informs and is informed by other areas of psychololgy, and the various options for work or further study in these and other fields.
Understand how CP relates to fields outside of psychology, such as social work, education, public health, and public policy
Have a solid understanding of how to navigate and optimize your experience in the CP major.
General method of instruction
Exploration of topics will take the form of theoretical and empirical readings, lecture, class discussion, and an optional community involvement project.
BIS 300 is required. Introductory Psychology strongly recommended. Other psychology courses will be helpful (e.g., developmental or abnormal psychology), as will be any basic social science courses, but these aren't necessary.
Class assignments and grading
Two exams, essay and short answer format; several short writing assignments (critical response papers) OR a community engagement project report.
Grading will be based on quality of work on exams and written assignments, along with the quality of engagment in group work and class discussion.