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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Elton Gatewood
T URB 318
Tacoma Campus

Organizing Communities

Examines social, economic and political problems from an organizer's perspective. Examines problems and issues associated with organizing, and introduces the basic tools required to design successful organizing efforts. Particular attention given to communities facing issue-oriented organizing.

Class description

Students will learn to view social, economic and political problems from an organizer's perspective, so they can act on these problems using steps of organizing, and the basic tools required to design successful organizing efforts.

Student learning goals

Focus on how to build organizations through which people can act on their common interest.

Attempt to address, what is community organizing, why people organize, how organizing work, and what it takes to be good organizers.

Learn to use their life experiences in organizing communities

Become familiar with concepts, approaches, and steps for effective organizing.

Examine and devise strategies to build relationship, share understanding, and construct programs through which organizations are conducted.

General method of instruction

Classes will be interactive and conducted in a seminar format. The students are expected to discuss and reflect critically on their experiences, observations, and information drawn from lectures and reading. Portions of the class sessions will alternate between discussion of new materials, guest presenters, and student projects.

Recommended preparation

One book is optional, "Organizing, A Guide For Grassroots Leaders" (revised edition) by Si Kahn, 1991, by the NASW Press. Supplemental reading materials will be made available by the instructor to assist and encourage students to develop a broader understanding of the subject matter.

Class assignments and grading

Students can attend City Council or Neighborhood Council meetings, interview City Council members or Neighborhood Council leaders. Additionally, they conduct research on subjects related to the course of study, or undertake a case study untilizing steps and approaches discussed during the class.

Class attendance and participation in weekly discussions 50% Mid-term progress report 20% Final project 30%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Elton Gatewood
Date: 03/14/2011