Department: School of Natural Resources and Environment
Division: 711 Section 001
Course Number: 495
Term(s) offered: Fall
Credit Hours: 3
Time: Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-3:00pm
Instructor: Bunyan Bryant

The purpose of this course is to provide students with opportunities to develop skills to be effective in small groups, organizations, and in advocacy planning. It also provides opportunities for students to prepare themselves and establish a contractual relationship with a public interest organization for an internship. Although students will engage in theoretical discussion, the main emphasis is upon practical skill building. This course is unique: it applies organizational change and development theory and skills to nonprofit public interest organizations.

Also the purpose of this course is to make students aware of the numerous citizen groups, business leaders, and government officials at the federal, state, and local level that are in engaged in both exciting and meaningful social and environmental change. While it is easy to focus on the problems, it is often much more difficult to focus on effective strategies and solutions. I have chosen to focus a great deal of the readings upon solutions that community groups have found to be helpful. Often times when we focus primarily upon the problem, we become overwhelmed by the scope and complexity of it. The scope and complexity of the problem often become disempowering. Because victories are highlighted in this course, hopefully students will feel they can make a difference as countless of community people are making a difference in their everyday lives as they struggle to keep their neighborhoods safe from hazardous and toxic waste. To know people are being successful in their struggle is in itself empowering. The solutions to many of the struggles outlined in these readings are the result of many years of grassroots efforts.

The amount of work you put into this course will determine the amount of learning you will get from it. Therefore, this course requires that students take the initiative for their own learning. And it requires that each student holds up his or her course responsibility, because considerable teaching and learning will depend upon how well each student reads and reports on various articles. A considerable time of thinking and organizing has gone into writing some of these materials so that students can work fairly independently. Lectures will be short and the focus is upon students learning from the printed materials and from each other.

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