Skip to main content

 Fall registration is now open

SOC 343 Perspectives on Community Development

This class will examine theories and models of community development, and introduce students to the realities of community development work. The course explores the history of the community development field from its origins in the late 19th-century urbanization through present innovations fueled by grassroots, foundations and public policy initiatives. The lens of movement and industry approaches will be a key analytical tool. Three traditions in the field community building, community organizing, and community development will be critically examined and compared, including exploring the dynamic relationship between these three traditions. Special attention will be given to community development challenges facing traditionally disenfranchised communities, including factors of race, class and gender. The class will emphasize both a theoretical understanding of community dynamics, ad an introduction to practical skills used by people working in the community development field.

Special information

Overlap: POL 343 Perspectives on Community Development
4 Undergraduate credits

Effective January 2, 2021 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Knows the history and evolution of community development, including relationships between community organizing, community building and community development.
  • Knows and can analyze different models of community development, including the "movement" and "industry" traditions.
  • Understands the role of race, class and gender in community development.
  • Can analyze a community development problem or opportunity, and document in a research presentation.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.

Fall 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 Perspectives on Community Development Grant, Sam Books for SOC-343-50 Fall 2024 Course details for SOC-343-50 Fall 2024