This two term Capstone (winter and spring) focuses on applications of basic psychological knowledge and methods to community problems. Students join a work team providing consultation to a community organization or agency. Students have an opportunity to choose from a number of field projects in cooperation with community agencies engaged in social service in the fields of health, education, corrections, welfare, and others. Projects result in products of value to community agencies such as program evaluations, climate studies or volunteer recruitment videos. Students develop consultation and group skills, work collaboratively with community partners, and learn about the field of community psychology.
Goals of Community Psychology:
- Inquiry and Critical Thinking - Students will learn various modes of inquiry through interdisciplinary curricula—problem-posing, investigating, conceptualizing—in order to become active, self-motivated, and empowered learners.
- Communication - Students will enhance their capacity to communicate in various ways—writing, graphics, numeracy, and other visual and oral means—to collaborate effectively with others in group work, and to be competent in appropriate communication technologies.
- The Diversity of Human Experience - Students will enhance their appreciation for and understanding of the rich complexity of the human experience through the study of differences in ethnic and cultural perspectives, class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.
- Ethics and Social Responsibility - Students will expand their understanding of the impact and value of individuals and their choices on society, both intellectually and socially, through group projects and collaboration in learning communities.
Class Description and Expectations: In this course, you will have the opportunity to:
- Examine your own and our society's assumptions about war and conflict;
- Explore alternative solutions to conflict at the personal, community and international levels; and,
- Learn about the Beyond War guiding principles and core practices.
Reading: The reading for this class will be concentrated in the first several weeks in order to ground you in the subject. Later in the term, time outside of class will be focused on your Community Partner Project.
Assigned readings are intended to get you started on the subject. In the schedule below, required readings are followed by "additional resources." These are materials that many people have found meaningful and helpful, and I hope that you will take the time to read them. Many of them are simply quotes or short articles or even cartoons. This is a dynamic field. It is expected that you will take some initiative to do further reading. This will optimize what you get out of the class and your contribution to our partner.
Written assignments and projects: Plan to do some writing each week. At a minimum, you will have a Weekly Writing Assignment (WWA) that will be due one week after it is assigned. The required length is 800 to 1000 words. Topics will be assigned each week. Some topics will be related to discussions and/or reading we have had; others will be more reflective writing.
In order to receive the maximum points on the assignment, your paper must be well-written, thorough, follow the instructions and show some creativity. You should show that you have done the reading and been attentive in class by incorporating the concepts in your writing. However, I am not interested in re-reading exactly what is in the texts or a detailed summary of a class discussion. Papers that are creative and show initiative in learning about the topic will receive the most points. Papers are to be submitted via Blackboard. If you are unclear about my expectations, please ask! I am happy to discuss them with you.
In addition to the above, we will be working on the following activities during the term:
- Finding and presenting examples of individuals and organizations who are living beyond war
- Participating in dialogue groups during class
- Participating in online discussion communities
- Creating World View Charts
This is a 6-credit course, so you should budget 6 to 10 hours per week for related work in addition to class time.