Fall 2023 - 61119 - PA 388K - Citizen and Community Action to Impact Effective Public Policy

Citizen and Community Action to Impact Effective Public Policy
Citizen and Community Action to Impact Effective Public Policy 

In this course students will learn about the role community organizing and grassroots civic participation can have in surfacing broad social problems and developing community-based solutions that create impactful systemic policy change. We will examine not only the fundamentals of community organizing but how these practices can and often are required to ensure effective policy change and good governance by local, state and federal policymakers. 


We will analyze case studies of legislation that were passed and derived from effective community organizing in the United States (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 and local policies passed in Texas in favor of construction workers). While we examine these three case studies we will also review how their passage led to continued policy developments at the local, state and federal level. Additionally, we will review the necessary and often contentious process of how policies are enhanced and modified overtime by continued participation of community organizations during their implementation phase. This course will ensure students, whether serving as legislators, lobbyists or researchers, have the effective tools and skill-sets to engage with community based organizations that seek to improve the lives of marginalized communities- those that are often first impacted but often most excluded from the policy decision making process that impacts their lives. 


This course will include weekly readings examining our case studies, small group facilitated assignments, guest speakers, written assignments, and a final white paper on a community-based problem of the student’s choosing.


Course Objectives 

  • Gain a basic understanding of how civic and community based organizations function and their role in policy development and good governance. 

  • Analyze how policy is developed and refined with community led expertise and research. 

  • Explore theories and practices in the types and effectiveness in community organizing to invoke policy change; and 

  • Deepen skills in legislation development, writing briefs, relationship building with key stake-holders,  crafting and development of research to bolster and support public policy at the local, state and federal level, and winning the public debate on the severity of the problem and prescription policy solutions.

Instruction Mode