Course 1 — Building Communities From the Grassroots


Course 1 members participate in a ball and string activity that helps them reflect on their experience.

Register here for Course 1

Building Communities from the Grassroots introduces participants to basic community development concepts and methods. This intensive, experiential five-day course establishes a basic understanding of professional values, ethics and practical skills for use in involving and empowering local citizens and leaders to perform effective community-based work. The course provides real world context for community-based work involving such issues as water quality, land use, infrastructure development, child development, youth-at-risk, welfare-to-work, leadership development, and economic development, among others.

Course 1 topics

  • The Purpose and Vision of Community Development compares and contrasts community improvement and community development and develops the "what" and "why" of the professional practice of community development.
  • Community-Based Principles and Concepts looks at the assumptions, values, and principles that underpin and guide the professional work of community development.
  • Complexity, Polarization and Mindmapping establishes the characteristics and types of problems found in public issues and introduces the role of deliberative dialogue to address issues.
  • Dealing with Differences gives an understanding of the importance of creative conflict and how to deal with that conflict constructively and effectively.
  • Assessing Communities Accurately delves into the methods used in community assessment, giving special emphasis to asset determination.
  • Community Inclusion integrates assessment principles to look at involvement of various groups, specifically those often marginalized.
  • The Community Action Planning concentrates on a practical, citizen-based, participatory community planning process that enables people to give direction to and create their community’s future.
  • Community Development in Practice provides the opportunity to learn from and interact with Academy participants who are actively engaged in innovative and collaborative community work.
  • Leadership Development in Today's World focuses on leadership development principles and introduces proven methods for involving people.
  • Basic Group Process, Group Dynamics, and Team Building establishes the dynamics of group interaction, functional role development, and the group life cycle.
  • Evaluation and Monitoring: Developing Indicators and Measuring Impact entails field methods for evaluating and documenting progress and results of community development efforts.

Educational objectives

  • To enhance the capacity of University of Missouri Extension faculty and others to develop with citizens effective educational/learning experiences for Missouri people and beyond in an integrated and holistic manner that enables community groups to deal with their critical issues. Such issues might include futures planning, environmental issues planning, child care options, job development, coalition formation, education, water and sewer, racism, community cuts, telecommunications, and other such issues.
  • To encourage networks and partnerships that enhance the practice and continued learning of community development.

Schedule and credit information

Course 1 schedule

Course 1 syllabus (if you are taking the course for credit)