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Required Readings

SOCW 6361 Webliography
These websites will be required throughout the semester. Become familiar with these websites, especially when doing research for your assignments.

Burns, J. C., Paul, P. D., & Paz, S. R. (2012). Participatory asset mapping: A community research lab toolkit. Retrieved from http://www.communityscience.com/knowledge4equity/AssetMappingToolkit.pdf

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Community Toolbox. (2016). 2. Assessing community needs and resources. Retrieved from http://ctb.ku.edu/en/assessing-community-needs-and-resources 

Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice. (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series.
Chapter 4, “Understanding the Ecology of Policy in Government, Electoral, Community, and Agency Settings” (pp. 100–140)

Rome, S. H., & Hoechstetter, S. (2010). Social work and civic engagement: The political participation of professional social workers. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 37(3), 107–129.​

Optional Resources

MSW home page
Use this link to access the MSW home page, which provides resources for your social work program.

Assignment: Community Assessment

The purpose of this assignment is to broaden your understanding of a community, develop analytical skills regarding communities in relation to specific populations and their needs, and to better plan and develop interventions to address issues and problems facing the community.

This assignment has three parts: Part I Understanding Your Community, where you will consider the current demographics of the community and analyze how that has changed over the past 20 years; Part II Community Assessment, where you assess your community and a problem within your community; and Part III Community Action Plan, where you develop a specific action plan to address the problem you identified. As you reflect on the learning resources and concepts from Weeks 1-4, be sure to explain what you have learned about the policy’s effect on various groups. Consider how will this knowledge assist you with your community action plan.

By Day 7

Submit a 4-6 page paper. The paper needs to be well-researched and written using APA guidelines. Data should come from at least five sources.

Part I: Understanding your Community
  • Analyze how your community has changed over the past 20 years. Use policy and community concepts and theories from the learning resources to support your analysis.
  • Describe your community, using research and statistics to describe socio-demographic make-up. (For example: How many persons live in the city and/or in the town? What were/are their cultural/racial characteristics? What were/are their incomes, ages, political affiliations, etc.?)
Part II: Community Assessment
  • Describe a problem that the community is currently experiencing.
    • Assess the duration, intensity, and frequency of the problem.
    • Analyze the probable etiology of the problem, supporting your analysis with resources.
  • Analyze the key elements and characteristics of the community that make it vulnerable to this problem.
  • Analyze the key strengths of the community that give the community resilience and the potential for overcoming the problem.
  • Identify major institutions (e.g., schools, factories, churches, attraction sites, etc.) and explain how these institutions contribute to or inhibit the community’s ability to address the problem?
  • Explain which groups are most affected by the problem.
Part III: Community & Policy Action Plan
  • Describe your proposed plan for community change.
  • Explain the strategies and tactics you would you use to bring about change. Consider if you would need multiple strategies, and if so, explain which strategy would be used for each target.
  • Explain any policies that may influence the ability, either supportive or prohibitive, to influence proposed community change.
  • Explain what policies would need to be in place to ensure proposed plans are sustainable

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