Effective Change Agent

Instructor Name: 
Heather Petzold
Course Description: 

Being an Effective Change Agent in Portland This course is for students interested in being effective change agents for the public good. Each student (individually or with others) will take the initiative before the Capstone begins to arrange a project with a community organization. This project may be an existing relationship or one sought for the purpose of this class. A minimum of three working hours per week with the organization is required. During the course, students will be supported and challenged to develop skills in speaking, listening, building relationships, and coordinating action. Through class discussions, practices, reading, and self-observations, students will recognize and explore the four University Studies' goals and make meaning of how they apply to our everyday lives. Each student is expected to bring to the first day of class a confirmation letter from their community sponsor. This letter should include the student's name, the focus and time frame of the project, a description of the types of people with whom the student will interact, and the sponsor's signature. Permission of instructor required. Contact instructor by e-mail (petzoldh@pdx.edu) for full details regarding course requirements.

Capstone Spotlight: Effecting Change

Course Objectives:

  • To enhance learning by enabling you to practice skills and test classroom knowledge through related service experiences in the local community.
  • To identify the skills needed to effect change in your community and to enable you to provide needed assistance to community agencies and to the people and/or communityenvironment served by the agencies.
  • To articulate, promote, and collaborate on a group vision for effective change.
Project Description: 

This class project is an opportunity for us to pool our unique talents and skills in a way that will benefit both ourselves and our community. Each of you will be responsible for collectively developing a community- based project that will lead to effecting positive change for the community in which we serve.

*There will be time given in class for brainstorming and discussions. It is expected that each of you will be present and fully engaged in this process.


Goals for community project:

  • Understanding the concept of community and service learning
  • Needs assessment and project selection
  • Planning the project
  • Completion of project
  • Documentation
  • Reflection and Evaluation

Individual Responsibility
Initial brainstorm idea: You will hand in a short paper addressing your project idea and bring it to class as a tool to start the brainstorming process of this project. You should thoroughly think through your decision and include the answers to the how, why, what, where and when of your idea. (We will have limited, if any, resources to accompany this project so please think about the overall feasibility of your idea as well).

Group Responsibility
Project Teams: It is expected that this project will be multi-faceted and will require smaller groups to take on certain responsibilities. To that end, each of you will be assigned to a group that will work towards completing one or two of these components.

Points will be awarded on the basis of attendance (being on time included), showing evidence of being prepared, overall contribution and completed assignments.