Community Psychology 2008 (S. Phillips) p. 1
PY 353: Community Psychology
Syllabus, Fall 2008
Professor: Suzanne M. Phillips, Ph.D.Class meets: MWF, 11:25-12:25, AJC 308
e-mail: ab meets: Thursdays, 3:00-6:00, Jenks 218
Office Phone: x4841 (978-867-4841)Office hours: Mondays: 8:00-9:00; 12:45-2:15
Office: Frost 305 Thursdays: 9:45-11:15;1:00-2:00
After completing this course, you should be able:
(1) to discuss, meaningfully and reflectively, basic theory in community psychology.
(2) to apply community psychology theory to everyday individual and systemic problems.
(3) to be conversant with the range of interventions suggested by community psychology.
(4) to understand the “big picture” of how different levels of community structure and
community interventions fit together.
(5) to articulate strengths and weaknesses in the field of community psychology.
(6) to understand and reflect upon your own role as part of a learning community.
Approach to the Course
You have probably taken more tests than you can count. Some people are good test-takers, and some not. Both groups probably recognize the irony of developing test-taking skills: while they serve you well in school, few jobs depend upon those skills. Instead, many jobs demand a different set of abilities, which are generally underdeveloped in college students. These include a number of group-oriented skills: learning from peers, discussing information productively, and asking good questions. They also include writing skills and the ability to master difficult information through reading. Most psychology majors are interested in work in which this latter skill set is essential, yet we do not focus on developing group-oriented skills in college.
In an effort to compensate for this peculiar state of affairs, the community psychology course uses a “seminar format.” We will not have class lectures or exams to provide a framework for learning. Instead, learning will happen around the daily readings explored during class discussion. All students will be responsible for the discussion. Therefore, each member of the class must come prepared, having completed the readings and having developed potential questions or discussion topics, each day.
The principles of community psychology cannot be fully appreciated apart from experience in community settings and the opportunity to reflect on those experiences. Therefore, in lieu of a traditional term paper, students in this course are encouraged to participate in community settings (Pioneer House in Peabody, L’Arche in Haverhill, Health Peabody Collaborative) and to reflect on those experiences in class. Both settings offer social services to marginalized groups, and in that context, the principles of community psychology (and the challenges to applying those principles) can be seen. All students will have the opportunity to visit Pioneer House and L’Arche, so that everyone has a context for understanding others’ reflections.
[This course also carries a laboratory, and so it is one way for psychology majors to meet the department’s requirement for an advanced lab. The laboratory for this course is optional; psychology majors may take Community Psychology without the laboratory as long as they meet the department’s advanced laboratory requirement in some other way. The course is designed to stand on its own, without the laboratory, for psychology students wishing to use the course as a psychology elective and for non-majors.]
Prerequisites: You must have taken and passed both Research Methods I (PY 256) and Research Methods II (PY 257) to take this course. Students with similar coursework from other departments should discuss their preparation for this course with the professor.
Texts: The following books are available for purchase in the Gordon College Bookstore.
Dalton, J. H., Elias, M. J., & Wandersman, A. (2007). Community psychology: Linking individuals
and communities (2nd ed). Stamford, CT: Wadsworth/Thomson. (hereafter, “DEW”)
Winerip, M. (1993). 9 Highland Road. New York: Vintage.
Key: (B) = electronic copy: full text linked from Blackboard
(R) = paper copy: item available at reserve desk in Jenks Library
Guerra, N. G., & Know, L. (2008). How culture impacts the dissemination and implementation of
innovation: A case study of the Families and Schools Together Program (FAST) for preventing violence with immigrant Latino youth. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 304-313. (B)
Hobfoll, S. E., Jackson, A., Hobfoll, I., Pierce, C. A., & Young, S. (2002). The impact of
communal-mastery versus self-mastery on emotional outcomes during stressful conditions: A prospective study of Native American women. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30, 853-872. (B)
Johnson, D. L. (1988). Primary prevention of behavior problems in young children: The Houston
Parent-Child Development Center. In R. H. Price, E. L. Cowen, R. P. Lorion, & J. Ramos-McKay (Eds.), 14 ounces of prevention (pp. 44-52). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. (R: Look for “14 ounces”)
Luna, C. G., & Rotheram-Borus, M. J. (1999). Youth living with HIV as peer leaders. American
Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 1-23. (B)
Ma, V., & Schoeneman, T. J. (1997). Individualism versus collectivism: A comparison of Kenyan
and American self-concepts. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 19, 261-273. (B)
Maton, K. I. (2008). Empowering community settings: Agents of individual development,
community betterment, and positive social change. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 4-21. (B)
McGrath, P. (2001). Identifying support issues of parents of children with leukemia. Cancer
Practice, 9, 198-205. (B)
O’Donnell, C. R., & Ferrari, J. R. (Eds.) (2000). Employment in community psychology: The
diversity of opportunity. New York: Haworth. (R)
Pargament, K. I. (2008). The sacred character of community life. American Journal of
Community Psychology, 41, 22-34. (B)
Phillips, S. M. & O’Roarke, S. (2003, April). A communitarian perspective on mental health and
moral virtue. Paper presented at the Cambridge chapter for the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry, Cambridge, MA. (B)
Rappaport. J. (2005). Community psychology is (thank God) more than a science. American
Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 231-238. (B)
Rhodes, J. E. (2008). Improving youth mentoring interventions through research-based practice.
American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 35-42. (B)
Riger, S. (1993). What’s wrong with empowerment? American Journal of Community
Psychology, 21, 279-292. (B)
Scott, G., Ciarrochi, J., & Deane, F. P. (2004). Disadvantages of being an individualist in an
individualistic culture: Idiocentrism, emotional competence, stress, and mental health. Australian Psychologist, 39, 143-153. (B)
Vanier, J. (1992). From brokenness to community. New York: Paulist Press. (R)
Accomplishment of the course objectives will be assessed through the evaluation of classroom discussion, field trip participation, and papers. Students in the laboratory section of the course will also be evaluated on their laboratory work, as outlined on the lab syllabus.
Students with disabilities or special needs who may benefit from academic accommodations should follow this procedure:
- Contact Ann Seavey in the Academic Support Center (Jenks 412, x4746) to make sure documentation of your disability is on file in the Academic Support Center (“ASC”). (See Academic Catalog Appendix C, for documentation guidelines.)
- Meet with an Academic Support Center staff person to discuss accommodations for which you are eligible and the procedures for obtaining them.
- Obtain a Faculty Notification Form from the ASC and deliver it your professor within the first full week of the semester, that is, by September 2 at the very latest.
- Set up a follow-up appointment to discuss your needs with your professor.
The semester is surprisingly short – if you don’t act quickly, this may compromise efforts to accommodate you, so please follow the above procedure. Questions or disputes about accommodations should be immediately referred to the ASC.
Gordon College is committed to assisting students with documented disabilities. If you have a disability, it is essential that you obtain appropriate documentation of the disability and that you understand the accommodations, appropriate to the specific disability, to which you are entitled.
Attendance: Clearly, consistent attendance is essential to participate in classroom discussion
and in the laboratory. Students absent from either class or lab will receive zero points for the day. In this sort of course, it is not possible to “make up” classes or labs.
Classroom Discussion: For nearly every class session, readings are assigned. The readings
vary in length and level of difficulty. Students should come to class having completed the readings and having identified specific issues or topics they would like to discuss. The goal in these discussions is not to say something brilliant to impress the instructor or your classmates. The goal is for all of us to engage actively in a learning community in which the readings are our primary teachers. High-quality involvement includes helping to create a space in which all can participate; therefore, asking questions and reflecting upon the comments of others are important.
The first weeks of the semester we will refine a system for grading classroom discussion with which we are comfortable. To begin, we will use a checksheet; the first one is found at the end of the syllabus. Discussion grades and qualitative feedback will be provided on a biweekly basis.
Papers: Three papers are required of all students in the course.
Paper 1: Ecological Analysis, due September 29. Following the instructions in DEW, pages 165-167, complete an ecological analysis of a behavior setting of your choice. Incorporate the range of ideas and concepts that we have covered through readings to that point in the semester. This is not a research paper, in the sense that you need not do any additional library work. You will need to be some “field research,” involving careful observation. The best papers will be those that reflectively analyze the setting, using concepts from the textbook, rather than simply reporting “facts.”
Format: Keep it short – the body of the paper should be 5 pages or less, doublespaced, in APA style. Use a title page and a reference page (you’ll have at least one reference, the textbook). Do keep this paper formal, avoiding use of slang and of the first person.
Paper 2: Social Support, due October 29. Following the instructions in DEW, pages 280-283, map, and then analyze, your social support network. While this paper involves no library research, it will take time to do it well; start early and make notes that you can revisit, so that you can think this through carefully. The best papers will be those involving thoughtful analysis and application of concepts from the readings.
Format: The length of this paper varies, but the body is usually 4 to 6 pages long. There is no page limit. This is a reflective paper; the use of first person is acceptable. Do use an APA-style title page and reference page. Do include your map as an “Appendix.”
NB: For some students, this assignment may be too personal or intrusive; students may complete an alternative assignment, determined in consultation with the professor.
Paper 3: Major Project Given the nature of the course, two options are available for the major project in this course. The first is a traditional academic offering; the second is more “hands-on.” Students should choose the option that best fits with their own goals in the course.
Option 1: Term Paper (due December 16; presentations December 8): We will discuss many important issues this semester. Inevitably, we will not spend sufficient time on something that you care about very much. For the term paper, you are asked to write upon one such important topic related to community psychology. The tone of the paper should be formal and scholarly. Each student will take 20 to 30 minutes of class time to present her or his work for discussion.
Sources: You must cite at least eight sources in the paper. At least four must be articles from scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals; the remainder may be journal articles, books, magazine articles, internet sources, or interviews with experts.
Format: The body of this paper (that is, exclusive of references, title page, and abstract) should be 8-12 pages long, double-spaced, and should be in full, formal, fussy fifth-edition APA style. The paper should include a title page, an abstract, and references. APA reference manuals are available in the Jenks Library reference room.
Option 2: Community Projects (15-20 hours of community participation throughout the semester; reflective paper due December 16): Students may choose between three community sites:
1: Pioneer House in Peabody has a variety of projects on which they would like to work cooperatively with us, ranging from hosting a legislative breakfast to improving members’ access to educational opportunities.
2: The L’Arche community in Haverhill invites students to participate with core members and assistants in a variety of social, recreational, and worship opportunities.
3: Health Peabody Collaborative is looking for a small group of students to assist in data collection for a project on reducing youth substance abuse in Peabody. A parallel project is available in Lynn.
Students should keep a log of their activities (see form at the end of the syllabus), indicating dates worked, projects worked on, and members involved, to be submitted with the reflective paper. The reflective paper may be written in a journaling style, using first person, but do attend to grammar and spelling, and use an APA-style title page. Prompt questions for each site will be provided.
Late Policy (all papers): Papers are due at the beginning of the class period on the assigned due date. Papers handed in later that day, or on days following, will be counted as late. Late papers will be penalized 3 points (out of 100 points possible) per day.
Field Trips: The field trips offered in this course are intended to provide concrete examples of some of the material presented more abstractly in readings. Students should prepare for the field trips by thinking about the context and considering questions to ask or issues to discuss while we are there.
Some field trips will occur during class time, particularly those to agencies which are “in
business” during the course of the day (e.g., early intervention programs, clubhouses).
Others will be scheduled for times outside of class (e.g., support group meetings that
occur in the evenings), and will generally involve flexibility in scheduling. For full credit,
students should select 5 field trips among those offered.
Grading: Course grades will be based on a weighted average of grades on preparation, participation, papers, and laboratory work. This weighting differs between students taking the lab and students not taking the lab.
Students in lab Students not in lab
Classroom discussion - quad 120%25%
Classroom discussion - quad 220%25%
Ecological Analysis, Paper 1: 10%12%
Social Support, Paper 2: 10%13%
Major Project, Paper 3: 15%20%
Field trips participation 5% 5%
Program Evaluation Project*10%---
* see the laboratory syllabus, which will be provided at the first meeting of the laboratory
Letter grades will be assigned using the following scale:
98-100% = A+88-89% = B+78-79% = C+68-69% = D+
93-97% = A83-87% = B73-77% = C63-67% = D
90-92% = A-80-82% = B-70-72% = C-60-62% = D-
under 60% = F
Academic Integrity: Both your professor and your college take academic integrity issues very seriously. Academic integrity violations include cheating on examinations and plagiarism. As this course involves a significant amount of writing, you are asked to be particularly watchful in reference to plagiarism. Plagiarism involves representing another’s work at your own. The “other” may be another student or the author of a textbook or journal article. The work of others involves both their ideas and their words. Of course, you cannot avoid using others’ works as you do your papers -- the use of sources assumes that you are working from others’ writings. However, you must give proper credit for the ideas and for the writing of others. If you do not know how to do this, or if you get into something that seems like a “grey area,” talk with your professor or with Academic Support staff about it before submitting your paper.
Daily Class Discussion Schedule
Date Topic Read before class
W 8/27Introduction to the course and the students
F 8/29Field trip! Touring Pioneer House, Peabody
W 9/3What is community psychology?DEW, Chapter 1
F 9/5 Faces of community psychologyWinerip (1993), pp. 3-25
Guests: Pioneer House
M 9/8Guests: L’ArcheVanier (1992)
W 9/10Guest: Building Community Coalitions
F 9/12 “The System”: A preliminary look at
Community Mental Health ServicesWinerip (1993), pp. 26-80
M 9/15Roots of community psychologyDEW, Chapter 2
II. Understanding Communities
W 9/17Opening Exercise DEW, pp. 133-134
(please complete before class)
F 9/19Understanding “ecology”DEW, Chapter 5
M 9/22Applying principles of ecologyWinerip (1993), pp. 81-93
W 9/24Understanding “community”DEW, Chapter 6
F 9/26Community and the sacred Pargament (2008)
M 9/29Understanding diversityDEW, Chapter 7
Paper 1 due
W 10/1 - Views of the self in different cultures
Kenyan and American self-conceptsMa & Schoeneman (1997)
F 10/3Native American women Hobfoll et al. (2002)
M 10/6 - Individualism and communitarianism
In understanding mental healthPhillips & O’Roarke (2003)
W 10/8Individualist society and mental healthScott et al. (2004)
F 10/10Understanding coping and social supportDEW, Chapter 8
M 10/13Parents of children with cancer McGrath (2001)
W 10/15Guest speaker: Krissie Burnham, PPALWinerip (1993), pp. 93-141
M 10/20A Most Gentle Re-entry Winerip (1993), pp. 142-178
Date Topic Read before class
III. Community Research
W 10/22Aims of Community ResearchDEW, Chapter 3
F 10/24Example: Youth mentoring Rhodes (2008)
Saturday, October 25: New England Psychological Association (“NEPA”), Springfield, MA
M 10/27Methods of Community ResearchDEW, Chapter 4
W 10/29 Example: Qualitative ResearchLuna & Rotheram-Borus (1999)
Paper 2 due
F 10/31 Status reports on projects Rappaport (2005)
IV. Preventing Problem Behavior and Promoting Social Competence
M 11/3Prevention and promotionDEW, Chapter 9
W 11/5Applications to individuals’ livesWinerip (1993), pp. 179-255
F 11/7Current and future applicationsDEW, Chapter 10
M 11/10Prevention for young childrenJohnson (1988)
W 11/12Youth violence preventionGuerra & Knox (2008)
F 11/14Implementing programsDEW, Chapter 11
V. Community and Social Change
M 11/17Citizen participation and empowermentDEW, Chapter 12
W 11/19How to empowerMaton (2008)
F 11/21A critical perspectiveRiger (1993)
M 11/24Program Evaluation and DevelopmentDEW, Chapter 14
M 12/1Organizing for community changeDEW, Chapter 13
W 12/3Guest speaker: Advocacy and Policy Winerip (1993), pp. 256-311
F 12/5Program Evaluation presentationsWinerip (1993), pp. 312-371