PUB 105: Introduction to Organizational and Community Studies

Course Description

In Introduction to Organization and Community Studies, students will begin the process of designing an ongoing action research project embedded within their chosen field or profession. This project will develop over the course of the concentration. This intro course is heavily weighted on personal development, as the project will spring from the student - their strengths, interests, and career/life goals. The course will begin the work of applying personal development theories to organizations and communities - development of organizational /community values, development of organizational /community immunities to change.

Throughout the course, students will be introduced to relevant theories and models from business and social/behavioral sciences, examining the skills and knowledge necessary to design, develop, and sustain change projects for individuals, organizations, and communities. These skills include self-awareness, adaptive leadership, culture building, civic engagement, and goal orientation. The overall degree program requires ongoing application and development of the College Unbound Big 10 Lifelong Learning Competencies. They must demonstrate proficiency at the apprentice level or better in each of the competencies by the end of the introductory course sequence.


Enrollment in Charter Oak’s partnership program with College Unbound. Completion of Cornerstone Course. The College Unbound program is a competency-based program that is a hybrid of on-site cohort support/online course system. With that, course materials are delivered online, but students are frequently asked to engage with fellow students and their communities in-person.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Analyze own temperament/learning style, core values, capabilities, strengths, challenges, and personal effectiveness.
  2. Apply research skills necessary for the identification of themes, sites, and goals of an action research project - these skills include finding, reading, and analyzing complex documents; conducting an interview; managing data collection; analyzing data; synthesizing information gathered from primary and secondary sources; negotiating with stakeholders; developing research questions; and observation.
  3. Analyze personal growth in self-assessment, peer assessment, and dialogue about learning and achievement as evidenced in weekly reflections, peer reviews, learning exhibitions, and effective iterations of Learning Plan.
  4. Analyze bias and others' assumptions and questions viewpoints of experts.

Course Activities and Grading


Discussion Board & Participation (Weeks 1-8)


Learner Autobiography (Week 5)


Personal Learning Plan (Week 7)


Annotated Bibliography (Week 8)


Initial Research Project Proposal (Week 8)


Public Learning Exhibition (Week 8)




Required Textbooks

Available through Charter Oak's online bookstore

  • Barker, Donald, Melissa S. Barker, and Katherine Pinard. Internet Research, Illustrated. 6th Edition. Boston, Mass: Course Technology/Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
  • Chevalier, Jacques M, and Daniel Buckles. Participatory Action Research: Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2013. Print.
  • Lerman, Liz, and John Borstel. Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process: A Method for Getting Useful Feedback on Anything You Make, from Dance to Dessert. Takoma Park, MD: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, 2003. Print.

Course Schedule



Readings and Exercises




Introduction of course themes, Self as Learner, Internet Searching


  • Barker pages 1-20
  • “Blue of Distance” excerpt from Solnit’s Field Guide to Getting Lost, pp. 161-169.
  • Kiersey Temperament Sorter
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Begin keeping an annotated bibliography
  • Post a reflection with evidence of Big 10 survey results
  • Take the Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment and verify results
  • Write and post an analysis of your Myers Briggs results
  • Participate in a Story Circle around Solnit’s “Blue of Distance”
  • Post video of your Story Circle



Discovering Strengths, Complex Internet Searches


  • Barker pages 29-42
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Add to Annotated Bibliography
  • Take the Strengths Finder assessment and identify top 5 strengths.
  • Post your strengths and a reflection on how you intend to use those strengths
  • Participate in a Story Circle around Judy Brown’s “Fire”
  • Post video of your Judy Brown-informed Story Circle



Values Clarification, Using Social Media, Annotated Bibliography


  • Barker pages 89-99
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Add to your Annotated Bibliography
  • Complete Values Clarification exercise.
  • Post your top five values and a reflection
  • Participate in a Story Circle around excerpt from Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak
  • Post video of the Palmer-informed Story Circle



Immunity to Change

  • An Evening with Bob Kegan and Immunity to Change
  • “How to Overcome Immunity to Change”- article on Experience Life
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • From “How to Overcome Immunity to Change” download and print 4 column map.
  • Complete Immunity to Change four-column map exercise.
  • Add to Annotated Bibliography
  • Share with your advisor and post a reflection concerning the process and how it worked for you.



Self as Learner Autobiography


  • Lyon, George Ella “Where I’m From”
  • Castilla, Ana. "We Would Like You to Know." from Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States. New York, NY: H. Holt and Co, 1994. 101-103. Print.
  • Havel, Vaclav, “It is I Who Must Begin”
  • Satir, Virginia “Making Contact”
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Post your respons to the 4 poems in preparation for creating your own Self as Learner Autobiography.
  • Write your Self as Learner Autobiography
  • Add to Annotated Bibliography
  • Meet with your advisor and apply what you have learned to your Personal Learning Plan



Viewing Through the Lens of Researcher/Organizational Values


  • Chevalier and Buckles Chapters 1 and 13
  • Ken Silverstein - Enron, Ethics, and Today’s Corporate Values - Forbes, May 2013
  • Organization Core Values
    • Netflix
    • Zappo’s
    • Whole Foods
    • Starbucks
    • Google
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Add to Annotated Bibliography - focus on organizational values and change
  • Examine the corporate core values of Netflix, Zappo’s, Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Google
  • Based on this initial examination, suggest an action research project or two that would benefit your workplace
  • Meet with your advisor and begin discussion about action research projects that interest you
  • Document your beginning ideas



Community / Civic Engagement and Social Capital


  • Robert Putnam - “Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital" Journal of Democracy, January 1995, pp. 65-78.
  • “Civic Engagement in the Digital Age” - Pew Research - April 25, 2013
  • Chevalier and Buckles pages 29-32
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Scan the Local Newspaper for civic engagement opportunities
  • Add to annotated bibliography- focus on civic engagement.
  • Meet with your advisor and add to your list of action research projects that interest you
  • Document your ideas
  • Finalize and Submit Personal Learning Plan



Self-Evaluation/Public Analysis of Your Work/Learning Exhibition


  • Lerman and Borstel pages 9-26
  • Heifetz, Ronald A., and Donald L. Laurie. "The Work of Leadership." Harvard Business Review (1997): pgs. 124-134. Print.
  • Christensen, Clayton M. "Assessing your Organization’s Innovation Capabilities." Leader to Leader 21 (2001): n. pag. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit Annotated Bibliography
  • Submit Initial Project Proposal
  • Do your Final Exhibition publicly
  • Record and post your exhibition

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