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.