An opportunity to teach organizing/leadership to college students

July 23, 2014 in News, Teaching

If you are a college or university instructor, please read this important message from Shana Berger, Leading Change Network Teaching Initiative Coordinator and let us know if you are interested in participating.

My name is Shana Berger, and I coordinate the Teaching Initiative of the Leading Change Network (LCN). LCN is a global community of organizers, teachers, and researchers that has grown out of the work of Marshall Ganz at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and his collaborators (http://leadingchangenetwork.com and http://marshallganz.com).

The goal of the LCN Teaching Initiative is to invite college and university educators to join us in expanding opportunities for students to learn community organizing, civic engagement, and leadership based on a pedagogy we have developed at Harvard College, Providence College, College of the Holy Cross, Stonehill College, Wellesley College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Michigan and Syracuse University.

Our approach is based on offering students an opportunity to organize others to work together to achieve shared purpose rooted in five specific practices: relationship building, story telling, strategizing, acting, and structuring. Students commit to values based “organizing projects” that require mobilizing others to determine, strategize, and achieve an outcome by the end of the semester. Students’ learning is supported with lecture/discussion, readings, reflection papers, and skill workshops.

This pedagogy and similar curricula use various titles including “Organizing: People, Power and Change”, “Practicing Democracy: Leadership, Community and Power”, “Leading Change: Leadership, Organizing and Action”.  (Syllabus for Organizing: People, Power and Change: http://marshallganz.usmblogs.com/files/2012/08/MLD-377-Syllabus-2014.pdf ). We have also developed a “spin-off” course that focuses explicitly on the craft of “public narrative.”

If this approach is of interest to you, we would like to invite you to join us in this effort. If you want to develop a course, we can support you in adapting this approach to your classroom. The “bottom line” is that we think a community of practice focused on this kind of teaching and learning could make a real contribution to the challenges our country, and this generation in particular, face.

I invite you to fill out our Teaching Initiative Interest Form at http://bit.ly/LCN-faculty-interest.  We will follow up with you within two weeks of receiving your form.