Community Leadership Courses

Course Descriptions

Note: Not all courses are offered every semester, and new courses may be added at any time. Check the schedule of classes, for the latest offerings.

Required Core Courses

CLDR 601: Introduction to Community Leadership: Contexts, Models, and Communication

This Introduction to Community Leadership course is the foundational and first class for the Certificate and MPS in Community Leadership, grounding students in key concepts, skills, and experiences that they will continue to build upon throughout their graduate program and professional development. Students will learn the theory and practice of establishing an inclusive learning community with attention to developing leadership skills of self-reflection, deep listening, and facilitation. Thematic course units will investigate core program elements

-Social contexts of community leadership with special attention to urban settings, historical and structural inequity, and asset-based development.
-Models and metaphors for community leadership, including attention to diverse theoretical and practice-based approaches to leadership with opportunities to explore leaders’ identities and personal strengths.
-The central role of diverse media platforms and approaches to communication that underpin effective community leadership practice.

In addition to class readings, written reflections, and discussions, students will participate in a number of trainings and community-based experiences to complement their classroom learning. Across the course, students will develop a relationship with a community leader and corresponding partner organization. Through regular semi-structured conversations, they’ll have the opportunity to learn and discuss core elements of community leadership through direct mentorship of leaders and community-based experiences. Students will work with community partners to collaboratively determine and design a project with a product that will contribute directly to a need in their partner organization. At the end of this first foundational course for the MPS, in addition to the community project, students will also create a template for their overall MPS digital portfolio, designing a compelling media platform for planning and demonstrating their best learning and development as they move forward.

CLDR 602: Legal and Ethical Issues in Community Leadership

Community organizations and their leaders have a myriad of responsibilities driven by ethical challenges and legal requirements. This course focuses on the ethical and legal issues faced by community leaders and how they make decisions that affect their organizations and the citizens they serve.

CLDR 603: Capstone Project

This 6-credit course provides participants with a culmination experience in the theory and practice of collaborative leadership, community-centered social capital development, and culturally-inclusive problem solving. Students will demonstrate an appreciation for and application of community-based knowledge, methodology, theories, and traditions related to building community-assets. Working in conjunction with a local community partner organization and a faculty member, students will (1) identify and examine key issues facing a specific community, and (b) develop and deliver a research-based intellectual product that enhances the capacities of the served community and partner organization.

This is a 6-credit course.

SOCY 600 or PUBL 600: Research Methodology

This course is designed to advance graduate students’ knowledge of the modes of inquiry in the social sciences and to familiarize them with research methods and techniques.

PUBL 600 Research Methodology

A course designed to advance graduate students’ knowledge of the field of scientific modes of inquiry and analysis and to familiarize them with research methods and techniques.

SOCY 606: Social Inequality & Social Policy

This course examines poverty and inequality in modern society. The focus is on describing the extent of poverty and inequality, examining theories that attempt to explain these phenomena and discussing the policies that have been employed to mitigate them. In addition to class inequality, the course will consider racial and gender inequality.

Urban Studies Pathway

PUBL 644: Urban Theory

This course reviews the main debates in urban theory. Topics include regime theory, economic theories of the city and social theories of urbanization.

PUBL 645: The U.S. City

This course examines the issues currently affecting metropolitan U.S. and evaluates current urban policies.

PUBL 646: The Global City

This course examined the global urban system with particular attention focused on the global urban hierarchy, third world urbanization and the connections between urbanization and globalization.

Non-Profits/Social Sector Pathway

PUBL 613: Managing Public Organizations

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the world of public management. More specifically, it focuses on who public managers are, what they do, the environments within which they operate, the tasks they perform and the roles they play in their organizations. In addition to the assigned textbook and readings, the course is case-based. That is, principles elucidated in readings are expanded from the “real world” of public management.

SOCY 652: Healthcare Organization and Delivery

Current issues are reviewed in healthcare organization, delivery and financing in the United States and the various policies and approaches that impact the changing healthcare delivery system. Particular emphasis is placed on the implications of technological developments and the increasingly competitive environment for alternative aspects of healthcare.

SOCY 658: Sociology of Mental Health and Illness

The course examines the social history of mental illness, the concepts and treatments employed, the professional’s role, the role of social class in mental illness, social factors in psycho-pathology, stress, social support and coping processes, along with sociological critiques of mental health practices. More currently, the course examines deinstitutionalization and the community mental health movement, the relationship between mental illness and the criminal justice system and the mental patients’ rights movement.

SOCY 681: The Social and Institutional Roles of Nonprofits

This course describes the history, organization and functions of nonprofit organizations in American society. Topics include the functions of the nonprofit, government and for-profit sectors; the history of the social roles of volunteerism and nonprofit organizations; the impact of nonprofit organizations on American society and the changing roles of the three sectors in the 21st century.

SOCY 685: Structure and Function of Nonprofit Organizations

This course analyzes the internal operations of nonprofit organizations and external relationships that nonprofit organizations need to develop. Topics include nonprofit financial systems, budgeting requirements, relationships with the funding community, interactions with government, and effective use of human resources.

Social Entrepreneurship Pathway

ENTR 608: Design Thinking

This course addresses the fundamental principles of design thinking, and solving for difficult entrepreneurship and business problems facing early and growth-stage companies. A regional entrepreneurial company will serve as a source of problems for student teams who will take on the role of advisors. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

ENTR 610: Intrapreneurship

This course identifies how participants can ultimately encourage and enhance a team’s synergy, causing it to become more than the sum of its parts, by showing commitment to both teammate and team goals and by jointly solving problems. It also provides a transformational learning opportunity for leveraging their leadership efficacy by cultivating self-awareness, successful communication skills, positive team interactions, and creating a growth mindset. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

ENTR 611: Project Management Approaches

This course provides participants with the requisite knowledge to explore how agile concepts can be employed to enhance project performance. Participants will learn the roots of the agile movement, key concepts, definitions, roles, and various tools and techniques. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

ENTR 612: Creative Problem Solving & Social Entrepreneurship

This course explores approaches to solve a specific socialpreneurship problem that is too ambiguous, complex, or messy to be addressed directly through traditional strategies. It seeks to increase the participants’ understanding of innovation and creative problem solving, and to enhance the ability to promote these skills in others. Students will work with a local, socially motivated entrepreneur and their organization to develop solution sets to a real-world complex problem. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

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