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Civic Development

Spectator to Citizen Course

What are the courses?

This three-course sequence of two-credit courses is designed to help DU students develop a set of public skills and civic knowledge base that will allow them to actively participate in their communities' public lives.

Specifically, the sequence of courses will help students:

Community Organizing Training 4
  1. Understand critical policy issues and salient community problems within the Denver metro area.
  2. Develop a set of public skills that will allow them to actively and skillfully participate in the public life of their communities.

These courses strongly encourage students of diverse backgrounds, politics and values to learn together, and from one another, in a safe and challenging learning environment.

Sequence Syllabi and Course Descriptions

Community Organizing (Fall Quarter)

A strong democracy depends on its citizens to use their power, knowledge, ethics, and strength to identify problems and work with others to build stronger, healthier communities for all people. In this course, students will learn about the history of community organizing in the United States, and will learn about and apply public skills to conduct a collaborative organizing project.

View the Community Organizing syllabus (PDF).


Denver Urban Issues and Policy (Winter Quarter)

This course is designed to provide you with an intellectual community that will help you to develop self-awareness, knowledge, and skills to participate more actively in your community and impact an important issue of public concern. In particular, you will learn how to generate ideas, and contribute to knowledge about a public and urban issue that is directly relevant to the work of community organizations in Denver: SafeHouse Denver and the Denver Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

The exercises in this course—including lectures, discussions, assignments, and readings—are designed to help you:

  • Develop a healthy awareness of your own biases and unique strengths and weaknesses as citizens striving to impact social change
  • Develop awareness about domestic violence (DV) in your community
  • Learn about the causes and consequences of DV
  • Develop the skills to critically evaluate knowledge about DV and gather your own knowledge about DV
  • Talk directly about DV to important community partners in Denver with concrete, public action goals in mind

View the Denver Urban Issues and Policy syllabus (PDF).


School-Based Civic Engagement (Spring Quarter)

Just as a strong democracy depends on its citizens to use their power, knowledge, and skills to work together to build stronger, healthier communities, so, too, do our schools rely on these fundamental principles to build successful institutions for learning.

This course will provide opportunities for you to engage with a Denver Public School (or urban youth organizations) in a meaningful way that will challenge you to think about how our public schools are preparing students to be effective citizens. We will also examine the role that universities and communities can and should play in the education process.

Students will be expected to take a critical look at their own education experience and compare this experience with the education experience of those with whom you will be working (at your school placement) this quarter. Students will learn about the diversity of school-based civic engagement (SBCE) efforts within the CCESL by engaging with our one of partner schools.

View the School-Based Civic Engagement syllabus (PDF).