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Course Syllabi

Course Syllabi

Campus Compact is an excellent resource for civic engagement programs and courses.

Adult Continuing Education

The 21st Century Seminar
Harry Boyte and Nan Skelton, University of Minnesota
This seminar, taught through the Minnesota Extension Service and the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, focuses on the future and mission of Extension Service. It explores the possibilities for the cooperative extension system to take a substantial leadership role in addressing the overarching challenge of our age: the crisis in democracy itself.

Graduate

Organizing Communities and Public Policy
Carmen Sirianni, Heller Graduate School, Brandeis University.
This course, taught in a graduate school of social welfare and public affairs, examines the processes of organizing and empowering communities, and how these are linked to public policy in the United States. The process of civic innovation is placed in the context of debates on social capital, and on the limits of the welfare state and the public lobby regulatory regime. The dual focus is on building community and civic capacities for problem solving; and developing public policies that reinforce this and expand active and responsible roles of citizens.

Organizing: People, Power and Change
Marshall Ganz, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
This course, taught in a graduate school of government, focuses on how to build organizations through which people can act on their common interests. It addresses three questions: why people organize, how organizing works, and what it takes to be a good organizer. Students learn to "map" the power and interests at work in their community, develop leadership, motivate participation, and devise strategies to build relationships, share understanding, and construct programs through which organizing campaigns are conducted.

Public Philosophy
Harry Boyte, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota.
This course, taught in a graduate school of public affairs, looks at patterns and concepts of citizenship, public life, and pubic affairs over the course of American history. Especially, it examines the tie between work and democracy, and the argument that it is the erosion of opportunities for work with larger public meaning and significance that has led to democracy's crisis.

Youth and Democracy
Carmen Sirianni, Elena Bayrock, Ben Brandzel,Brandeis University.

This course examines the roles that youth can play as active citizens in public problem solving, civic skill development, and social action in schools, communities, universities, politics, NGOs, and a range of other institutional settings.

Undergraduate

Democratic Theory and Practice
Meta Mendel-Reyes, Department of Political Science, Swarthmore College.
Democracy in the United States raises a host of complex questions, both practical and theoretical. This course explores these questions by comparing a wide range of democratic political theory to the practice of American politics. The aim is not to reach definitive conclusions, but to challenge preconceptions, raise some basic problems, introduce some of the most important attempts at answers, and provide opportunities to engage in the activity of theorizing about democracy, which is essential yet often missing from democratic practice.

Practicing Democratic Education
James Farr, Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota.
This course addresses some long-standing debates about democracy, politics, and the education of citizens. It arises out of the conviction that any particular theory of democracy, or of politics more generally, can and should be evaluated in terms of what it says theoretically about citizen education and by what it does practically to educate citizens.