Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Track Courses

Campaign Development

This course tries to make the complex process of strategic campaign planning easily understandable, and practically applicable by taking step-by-step approaches –research, planning, implementation, and evaluation. The course consists of four pillars: (1) understanding research and planning, (2) knowing how to make strategic choices, (3) making selection from an expanding inventory of tactical choices, (4) completing the process by evaluating program effectiveness. By analyzing the previous campaigns and exploring specific solutions, students can lead discussion of cases and group activities to create the alternative scenarios. The campaign cases include a wide range of corporate social responsibility, activism, consumer relations, issues management and crisis communication.

Writing for Strategic Communication

Organizations of all types will continue to be challenged by the growing needs and demands of a diverse global society. Students will investigate various audiences in today’s global marketplace that organizations need to consider to remain relevant. The course will explore the concept of globalization and how, as a dynamic and uneven process, it requires communicators to understand global and local audiences and those influenced by multiple cultures. In addition, organizations need to look beyond consumers to multiple stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, investors, suppliers, regulators, non-government organizations and community groups.

Strategic Communication Research Methods

Does research sound tedious or difficult?

Unfortunately, it’s not an option anymore. In many cases, successful and effective marketing/communication campaigns derived from a thoroughly designed research program that provides meaningful insights on the perception, belief, attitude, and behaviors of a targeted public. That said, communication professionals should be able to:

  • select the right research method relevant to research questions an organization might have, with a realistic eye of what really needs to be done within a limited time and budget
  • plan a non-biased and less flawless research design
  • and accurately interpret the result, avoiding it distorted, incorrect, and skewed.

The course will cover the basic steps and methods that are commonly used in communication fields. Students will learn the essential concepts of various research methods, a critical framework for evaluating communication research, and how to design and manage research process for real-world problems.

The Practice of Civic and Political Engagement

This course will examine the process and methods of civic engagement and political engagement. Students will develop skills for managing change in communities. Students will review the basic concepts of civic and political engagement in the US and explore the evolution of the historical concept of public participation and its evolution. We will investigate some dynamic tensions that exist today, such as the role of citizen versus the role of the government in myriad public/social good activities and the issue of the role of the citizen versus the role of the technical expert in complex, “wicked” issues that individuals and communities face today. Students will learn about different approaches, techniques, and public participation processes that may lead to more active citizen participation and civic engagement at the local level.

Disaster Operations

This course will focus on examining modern emergency management concepts, trends nationally and internationally, practical and political issues and policies, technological applications to emergency management, and the development and practical implementation of sound emergency management practices designed to protect people, communities, critical infrastructure and key assets.

Included will be a brief review of emergency management policy and procedures in the United Sates and other countries, legal issues, planning concepts and techniques, mitigating operational problems, serving special populations, and management styles. Additionally, case studies will be examined to determine the extent of effective or ineffective planning, responding, and recovering from natural, human-made and technological disasters

Emergency Planning

This course provides an in-depth analysis of the processes and methods used throughout the entire federally-designated preparedness cycle. Central to emergency preparedness is thinking through a whole-community approach. Steps required to develop a comprehensive emergency plan from the strategic, tactical, and operational approaches will be discussed.

Students will learn the skills to complete plans, develop training programs, and write after action reports and improvement plans. In additional students will learn to identify and approach other participants involved in emergency planning and eventually intervention.

Using a local community as an exemplar, students will develop a comprehensive emergency plan through strategic, tactical and operational approaches. Central to effective planning is identifying community resilience as well as personal and environmental vulnerabilities.

Integrated Health & Medical Issues in Emergency Management

This course is designed to provide advanced study on the health and medical management issues in large-scale emergencies and disasters such as biological, radiological, nuclear events and emergencies. Students will be introduced to the principles and capabilities of providers in a public health response. Along with human and public providers, the non-medical emergency manager must prepare innovative responses for immediate and longer-term needs and recovery actions.

Ethical issues in disaster management are addressed as a central tenet of planning. This includes a discussion of ethical principles among the providers and a plan for solving ethical dilemmas in the case of immediate danger when immediate action is necessary. A frequent issue in disasters is resource allocation, the provider(s) of resources and principles of distribution.

Disasters & Vulnerable Populations

The course offers a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary exploration of culturally sensitive strategies responsive to the needs of vulnerable populations. Disaster resilience leaders are responsible for all residents of a community, especially the most vulnerable. Students will explore comprehensive approaches to engaging communities to participate in emergency preparedness planning through a “vulnerability and capacity assessment” (VCA).

Also explored are the social, political, economic, and cultural inequalities that represent barriers to incorporation and care of the whole community. Attention to creating a participatory multi-stakeholder approach is stressed in order to plan for disaster risk reduction and inclusive sustainable re-development. The course will review current best practices and adapt for the particular community through the less of cultural humility and a strengths perspective.

Principles and Processes of Developing a Theory of Change

Leadership in human and public service organizations inevitably involves creating and implementing change in response to events both within and outside the organization. Effective leaders and successful change processes are guided by leadership through a series of actions that involve a planned change strategy based on evidenced need, communication skills and developing partnerships with others involved in the change.

A recent development in organizational thinking is the concept of “social impact management” as an organizational responsibility. Given these responsibilities in leadership and management, students will be provided with the theory and knowledge needed to develop a theory of change. They will also have an opportunity to develop skills in putting this knowledge to work.

Impact Measurement

This course is a follow-up of the development of a theory of change. Public and human services leadership is expected to articulate the impact of the change(s) based on the purpose(s) of the change. Students will be given the knowledge necessary to develop a data strategy which includes sources of data, how data will be collected, how data will be articulated, and finally the strategies for analyzing the data and reporting the results. The culmination of the course will be planning a process for stakeholder education and buy-in.

Social Impact Management

Complex societal issues/problems need tools, techniques, and advanced strategic thinking to help mitigate and/or solve for the common good. Using data and tools to delve deeper into issues and using “what if” scenarios to be able to predict and plan will be crucial for organizations and the government. Working in groups, students will prepare a comprehensive strategy to address a social topic affecting the Nation: Homelessness, Opioids, Unemployment, disaster response etc.

Effective and Emerging Approaches to Mission-Related Investing & Funding

Mission investments are made by foundations and other mission-based organizations to further their philanthropic goals. Mission investments include any type of investment that is intended and designed to generate both a measurable social or environmental benefit and a financial return. This course defines the options, including: socially responsible investing (SRI); environmental, social, and governance (ESG); mission-related investing (MRI); and impact investing.

Understanding Sustainable Development

In this course sustainable development is explored in relation to poverty and inequality.  The course begins with an examination of poverty and inequality on a global scale and provides varied theoretical frameworks to explore the interconnection of local, national, and regional economies and the economic activities, trade policies, and consumption patterns that produce uneven development and an inequitable distribution of social and material goods between and within states.

The course will conclude with an examination of the United Nations 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will consider the merits and limitations of various strategies for advancing the SDGs and instruments/approaches to measuring and monitoring progress, such as the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), Human Development Index (HDI- adjusted for inequality), Gender Inequality Index (GII), Capabilities approach (Sen, Nussbaum), and various indicators of environmental degradation and mitigation.

Understanding Poverty

This course focuses on the topic of poverty in the global context.  It is divided into four broad areas. We begin by looking at the extent and characteristics of poverty in the United States. This will include an understanding of how poverty is measured, as well as the patterns and dynamics of poverty over the recent decades.  We will also explore how the risk of poverty varies with respect to differences in race, ethnicity, gender, age, social class background, and geographical residence.

A second major area explored are the reasons for poverty. This includes a discussion of several theoretical perspectives designed to explain the existence of poverty in America.  We will divide these explanations into those that focus on the individual as the primary cause of poverty, on the culture in which individuals reside as a critical reason for poverty, and on the economic or social structure of society as the root cause of poverty.  Also examined are more specific factors that have been shown to be related to the risk of poverty, such as labor force participation, family structure, discrimination, health and disability status, and education.

A third area of focus will be the effects and consequences of poverty and inequality upon individuals, families, and communities.  These will include the detrimental effects of impoverishment upon health, education, life chances, and residence.  In addition, the day to day meaning of poverty is explored, along with the strengths exhibited by those who encounter poverty.  Our final topic will cover various strategies for alleviating poverty.  These will include the maintenance of a social safety net, social policies that focus on supporting families, community organizing strategies, and economic policies addressing issues of employment, low wages, and the building of assets.

Gender Diversity & Sustainable Social Development

This course examines the ways in which gender equity and sustainable social development are linked.  It utilizes an intersectional framework to examine the social policies, practice and key actors that both perpetuate barriers to equity and development as well as those that might facilitate greater opportunity and advancement of gender equality. Accordingly, it considers the ways in which a range of distinct inequalities, including race, ethnicity, migrant and occupied status, disability and class along with gender impact sustainable social development.

Students who complete this class will develop the analytical and conceptual skills to critically assess social policies and social development programs at the international, national and institutional levels in terms of their differential impact related to gender as it intersects with other marginalized identities.

This course considers current theories related to social exclusion and deficit modes of development as well as gender mainstreaming and gender targeted interventions as well as other potential responses to addressing gender inequity in the context of sustainable social development. Each module has both theoretical and more practical components. Some of the topics to be explored include masculinities, femininities and diversity management as well as colonialism and neocolonialism. Case studies will be used to link modules, explore frameworks as well as implementation challenges.

Social Analysis of Inequality, Poverty and Development

Social Development concerns have been a well-recognized part of the development policy debate for at least the past twenty years. However, until recently these debates have largely concentrated on the role of gender and forms of civil society intervention. Increasingly, donors and development practitioners are beginning to recognize the need for a greater sociological and social anthropological understanding of poverty and inequality, particularly in terms of how and why varying forms of power and authority are exerted, and what implications this has on dynamics of social cohesion and exclusion. This has led to an emerging focus on understanding the relevance of sociological categories of class, religion, ethnicity and gender in both disaggregating levels of poverty and inequality, and in understanding the processes which foster poverty and inequality in development.

The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of these key concepts and debates in order to enable critical evaluation of how well sociological understandings of development inform the social analysis of exclusion, poverty and inequality, as well as what implications this might have for development policy.