Skip Navigation

Building Community Partnerships (11:607:402)

Course Description

3 Credits. Building and mobilizing community coalitions and partnerships is a well-developed strategy for leveraging resources towards solving complex community problems. These solutions require the engagement of multiple community sectors. In this course students learn the essential elements for building collaborative partnerships across disparate groups. Students examine various coalition/community partnership frameworks and develop leadership skills necessary to initiate, build, evaluate, and sustain durable coalitions and community partnerships. This course is beneficial for students pursuing careers in healthcare, public health, human services, education, community development, non-governmental organizations (NGO), faith-based organizations, non-profits, government (local, state, federal), foundation and business and corporations.

Course Objectives

  • Explore the benefits and challenges of effective collaborative leadership through various community partnership frameworks and models;
  • Learn about communication, decision-making, and problem-solving methods for effective leadership;
  • Understand others' needs and perspectives to foster sound partnerships;
  • Develop an approach to leadership that responds effectively to changing circumstances;
  • Examine specific methods to cultivate collaborative leadership traits, skills, and roles.

Required Text

Leading Through Collaboration: Guiding Groups to Productive Solutions, John Glaser. Corwin Press. 2005


Final grade with be representative of:

  • Discussion Questions = 25%
  • Journals = 15%
  • Essays = 20%
  • FINAL Research Project = 15%


Per Rutgers guidelines:

A = 90–100
B+ = 87–89.9
B = 80–86.9
C+ = 77–79.9
C = 70–76.9
D = 60–69.9
F = below 60

Weekly Syllabus

Lesson One

  • Overview of course
  • Week One Icebreaker Discussion Question

Lesson Two

  • Read Chapter One: Coherence: The Mysterious and Scientific Side of Problem Solving
  • Assignment: Discussion Question – Model Collaborator: Provide an example of someone (personal or public) that reflects collaborative leadership. Why? What characteristics do he or she has that reflect cooperation, commitment, coherence, effective communication, etc.? Based on the video in Lesson Two, what have been your experiences of individuals who have "armored up " in group settings? Have you "armored up" in group settings? Why? What can the individual you listed, and you experience(s) with vulnerability teach us about the skills needed to build community partnerships?

Lesson Three

  • Read Chapter 2: Starting with the Self: Attitudes and Habits That Promote Collaboration
  • Complete Discussion Question: The Self + Vulnerability Based on the video in Lesson Three on vulnerability, what have been your experiences of individuals who have "armored up" in group settings? Have you "armored up" in group settings? Why? What can your experience(s) with vulnerability teach us about the skills needed to promote collaboration?

Lesson Four

  • Read Chapter 3: Creating Shared Meaning
  • Create TEST Blog to prepare for FINAL Research Project: directions in Lesson Four (Worth 5 points extra credit for project).

Lesson Five

  • Assignment: Essay - Dialogue: Use the following prompts to develop a 1500-word essay – submit to Dropbox. How do the dynamics of dialogue as a communication process promote effective collaboration amongst diverse, potential community partners? Why is this necessary for collaborative leadership? How do you plan to exercise the dynamics of dialogue to build community partnerships?

Lesson Six

  • Read Chapter 4: The Perils of Coherence

Lesson Seven

  • Assignment: Discussion Question – Questioning Assumptions: Reflecting on a situation that involved a group, team/sports, social circle, family, community, or organization, discuss an example where groupthink negatively affected your understanding and sense of truth. If none come to mind on a personal basis, provide an example based on research or a current event. Based on the experience/example, and your new knowledge, how should someone question faulty assumptions that can lead to "certainty?"

Lesson Eight

  • Read Chapter 5: Fundamental Elements for Creating Coherence
  • Assignment: Journal – Coherence: Use the following prompts to develop a 500-word journal – submit to Journal tab. Coherence is a foundation of collaboration. Discuss how the convergence of purpose amongst community partners/collaborators can be the basis of creating win-win scenarios. Using Table 5.1: The Four Fundamentals, elaborate on what contributes to coherence for effective leadership.

Lesson Nine

  • Read Chapter 6: Aligning the Team

Lesson 10

  • Assignment: Discussion Question – Work Teams: Community partners/collaborators may have different strengths and weaknesses, which can best inform the aligning of work teams to achieve effective action. Share an example of a group/team problem – academics, professional, community, etc. (you can refer to list on page 83). Based on your experiences and newfound textual knowledge, discuss what you think are the most important characteristics of organizing effective work teams amongst community partners/collaborators.

Lesson Eleven

  • Read Chapter 7 Focusing on the Vision

Lesson Twelve

  • Assignment: Essay - Vision: Use the following prompts to develop a 1500-word essay – submit to Dropbox. Define vision. What is the power and necessity of having a clear vision as a focus in building strong collaboration amongst diverse, potential community partners? As an emergent leader, how does vision motivate potential community partners/collaborators to undertake complex challenges to achieve success?

Lesson Thirteen

  • Read Chapter 8: Searching for Solutions
  • Read Chapter 9: Reaching Effective Agreements

Lesson Fourteen

  • Assignment: Journal - Solutions: Use the following prompts to develop a 500-word journal. Once a problem/issue/need is identified and agreed upon, discuss the challenge of maintaining the collaborative process while addressing real and potential conflicts amongst collaborators/community partners for effective solution-oriented outcomes. Also, in Chapter 9, which tools and strategies resonated with you as an emergent leader? Why? Lastly, what are characteristics of an effective agreement?

Lesson Fifteen

  • Read Chapter 10: Bringing Coherence to the Entire Organization
  • Assignment: Discussion Question – Applying Collaboration: Effective change agents apply learning principles to the enterprise of leading. Based on the final chapter, what specific tools and strategies will you use to evaluate coalitions and community partnerships? How do plan to utilize and apply these principles to build community partnerships and ensure sustainability?
  • Begin developing content for FINAL Assignment, Research Project: Who's Who – Mary Parker Follett

FINAL Research Project due during finals week

  • Research Project: Who's Who – Mary Parker Follett. Mary Parker Follett is a significant woman in the realm of organizational management. The purpose of this assignment is for you to gain a broader appreciation for the context in which her important accomplishments and contributions were achieved, as well as document the work group/team's approach for collaboration to complete the project.

    Research component:

    1. Introduction: basic information on Mark Parker Follett (e.g., who is she, why is she relevant)
    2. Contributions
    3. Legacy
    4. Follett works: books, publications, etc.
    5. Student resources/references
    6. Student contact information

    Collaboration component:

    1. Modes of technology used to foster communication, organization, time-management (e.g., Google Docs, Skype).
    2. Issues/problems/conflicts/perils of coherence and collaboration.
    3. Tools and strategies used to lead to coherence and collaboration.
      NOTE: textual elements should be referenced.

Congratulations on completing the course.

Accomodations for Students with Disabilities

Please follow the procedures outlined at Full policies and procedures are at Office of Disability Services website.

Academic Integrity

The university's policy on Academic Integrity is available at policies on academic integrity.

The principles of academic integrity require that a student:

  • properly acknowledge and cite all use of the ideas, results, or words of others.
  • properly acknowledge all contributors to a given piece of work.
  • make sure that all work submitted as his or her own in a course or other academic activity is produced without the aid of impermissible materials or impermissible collaboration.
  • obtain all data or results by ethical means and report them accurately without suppressing any results inconsistent with his or her interpretation or conclusions.
  • treat all other students in an ethical manner, respecting their integrity and right to pursue their educational goals without interference. This requires that a student neither facilitate academic dishonesty by others nor obstruct their academic progress.
  • uphold the canons of the ethical or professional code of the profession for which he or she is preparing.

Adherence to these principles is necessary in order to ensure that:

  • everyone is given proper credit for his or her ideas, words, results, and other scholarly accomplishments.
  • all student work is fairly evaluated and no student has an inappropriate advantage over others.
  • the academic and ethical development of all students is fostered.
  • the reputation of the University for integrity in its teaching, research, and scholarship is maintained and enhanced.

NOTE: Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

  • Resubmitting your own work that has previously been evaluated in this class or any other class.
  • Copying text directly from websites and other sources without attributing the original source(s).
  • Copying the work of students in other sections (past or present) of this course.

Failure to uphold these principles of academic integrity threatens both the reputation of the University and the value of the degrees awarded to its students. Every member of the University community therefore bears a responsibility for ensuring that the highest standards of academic integrity are upheld.

NOTE: To help protect you, and future students, from plagiarism, all essay assignments will be submitted through

Attendance and Participation Policy

Students are expected to actively participate in all of the online activities for the course. Attendance in the online sessions is determined by thorough, thoughtful, relevant and on time contributions made in the weekly assignments including threaded discussions, reaction papers and quizzes. The course proceeds with the assumption that students have thoughtfully read and reviewed the assigned materials.

Students are responsible for completion of all assigned readings, materials discussed and assignments on or before the assigned due date.

Student Wellness Services

Just In Case Web App

Access helpful mental health information and resources for yourself or a friend in a mental health crisis on your smartphone or tablet and easily contact CAPS or RUPD.

Counseling, ADAP & Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

17 Senior Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

CAPS is a University mental health support service that includes counseling, alcohol and other drug assistance, and psychiatric services staffed by a team of professional within Rutgers Health services to support students' efforts to succeed at Rutgers University. CAPS offers a variety of services that include: individual therapy, group therapy and workshops, crisis intervention, referral to specialists in the community and consultation and collaboration with campus partners.

Violence Prevention & Victim Assistance (VPVA)

3 Bartlett Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

The Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance provides confidential crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy for victims of sexual and relationship violence and stalking to students, staff and faculty. To reach staff during office hours when the university is open or to reach an advocate after hours, call 848-932-1181.

Disability Services

Lucy Stone Hall, Suite A145, Livingston Campus, 54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Rutgers University welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University's educational programs. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation.

If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with a Letter of Accommodations. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. To begin this process, please complete the Registration form on the ODS website.

Scarlet Listeners


Free and confidential peer counseling and referral hotline, providing a comforting and supportive safe space.


Gina M. Suriano
732-232-4094 (mobile)

Office Hours: Post your questions pertaining to the course in my Virtual Office (listed under Course Home) or if you would prefer, email me directly or contact via phone.