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Psychology and Community Activism

Maki0163's picture

Wednesdays 7:00-8:30pm, starting June 22nd and ending August 31st
Location: probably U of M Psychology Department

This class will explore the ways in which theory and research from the field of psychology may inform, and be informed by, efforts of community activists. The work of community activists, neighborhood organizations, and non-profits are vitally important to improving the well-being of people locally and globally. The field of psychology has produced some insight into issues relevant to activism efforts, though the knowledge may not always be spread to those that may be best suited to use it. The Psychology and Community Activism EXCO class aims to improve dialogue between social scientists and community activists, in a method that is reciprocal and sustaining.

This will be our first time facilitating an EXCO course, though we do have previous experience facilitating classes and discussion groups. The "experimental" component of EXCO may be especially appropriate when describing this course, as we may try a few different things throughout the tenure of the class. Also note that we may try to line up some other facilitators on a week-to-week basis that work in areas we are less knowledgeable of. Topics will be decided upon by the group during the first class, so as to make sure the material is as relevant as possible to the group of people attending the course. Pertinent readings each week will be available. People attending the class will be encouraged to at least glance over the readings each week, though we definitely intend for them to be optional. We are also playing with the idea of "homework", which may look something like asking people after each class to take an idea that was discussed in the class and apply it to the work they do. We are completely open to ideas in this realm, and by no means want this to feel like homework. We will also be striving to make this class as much of a discussion as possible, and we will hopefully just facilitate and organize, and perhaps add a little expertise when it comes to what the science of social behavior can offer to the discussion.

Topics covered in the class may include:

- Fundamentals of social persuasion

- Psychological theories of behavior change

- Understanding why people do/do not engage in sustainable behaviors

- Increasing volunteerism and volunteer longevity

- Introduction to counseling and helpings skills

- Psychology of effective leadership

- Basics of designing behavior change interventions

- Decreasing various forms of prejudice and discrimination

- Psychology of political involvement

- Survey creation/ program evaluation

- Group dynamics and psychology of effective groups

- Burnout and social support

- Understanding psychological aspects of community

and many more topics are possible!

If you have any questions/concerns/ideas, please feel free to contact us. Thanks for checking out our class!

Facilitator email(s): 
[email protected]


N391 Elliott Hall (Psychology Department), East Bank, University of Minnesota Minneapolis Campus
75 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
Facilitator's experience: 
(About Alex) I am currently a social psychology graduate student, engaged in research relating to understanding and increasing volunteer and recycling/conservation behaviors. I was a member of a number of student groups as an undergraduate, and spent a few years involved with AmeriCorps in the Twin Cities area. As an AmeriCorps program coordinator, I facilitated member meetings, and I also have a year and a half of experience as a teaching assistant. I have also spent quite a bit of time volunteering in various capacities. (About Patrick) I am a graduate student in social psychology, and my research examines personal and social influences on volunteerism and community participation, energy conservation, and other forms of "prosocial" behavior. I have previously worked as an instructor or section leader/teaching assistant for a wide range of undergraduate psychology courses. My past volunteer experience includes service in my own community, as well as abroad through the MN-based non-profit, Global Volunteers.
Class minimum size: 
Class maximum size: 
Class times: 
Wed, 06/22/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 06/29/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 07/06/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 07/13/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 07/20/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 07/27/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 08/03/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 08/10/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 08/24/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Wed, 08/31/2011 - 19:00 - 20:00
Additional class time information: 
Class time has now been officially determined. Classes will actually run from 7:00pm to 8:30pm on Wednesday nights, from 6/22/11 to 8/31/11
Location Accessibility: 
N391 Elliott Hall (Psychology Department), East Bank, University of Minnesota Minneapolis Campus
75 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
44° 58' 36.4476" N, 93° 14' 14.6364" W
Additional class location information: 
Site is fully accessible.
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