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Theoretical Foundations in CD

Course Code CDEV-112
Lecture hours per week 3
Lab hours per week
Course Availability: Open

This introductory course investigates the essential theoretical building blocks that exist in the field of Community Development (CD). The student will explore the concept of community and gain a well-rounded, holistic understanding of important CD core components, values, characteristics and goals. In addition, students will define and examine the role, core competencies, skills and ethical principles that guide the CD practitioner, along with a discussion of who practices CD and where is it practiced, the boundaries surrounding practitioner relationships and the many different types of CD practitioners. This unit of study will include a brief history of community development (milestone advances, prominent practitioners and researchers), as well as an overview of the current approaches to CD practice and the challenges and debates inherent in the practice of community development today. Addressing dynamics of power and power imbalances, inequality and discrimination as they relate to CD work will be explored, particularly as they impact community decision-making and social action.  Settings (urban neighbourhoods, cooperatives and rural settings) where community development is practiced will be examined, along with regional perspectives on CD. Various social change models and assessment frameworks associated with the theory and practice of community development will be examined. The opportunity to learn about grassroots community development organizations and real world examples of various CD programs and campaigns will be an integral part of the course.


Course Learning Outcomes

1. Examine definitions, characteristics, concepts, types and functions related to community development.

2. Outline a historical overview of community development practice including key conceptual milestones, prominent theorists and the research that has shaped its development

3. Identify the perspectives, values, ethics and principles on which community development practice is based

4.Describe the many facilitative roles, competencies, and skills that guide CD practice in different settings and for different types of CD practitioners                         

5. Investigate various approaches, frameworks, models and processes central to the practice of community development and identify challenges and possible solutions associated with the use of these approaches

6. Identify and evaluate dynamics of power, inequality, empowerment and social justice that impact both the community and the practice of community development

7. Investigate CD projects and CD related research that highlight community based organizations that practice CD work 

Course Outline