Writing, Communication, and Leadership for the Common Good: Creating Change

Fall 2017 quarter

Taught by

literature, writing, storytelling
  • UG

This program will explore how individuals, organizations, and communities create lasting change through the stories they tell and the messages they share. A strong emphasis will be on how to write and communicate effectively. Additionally, the program will explore leadership models, styles, and skills. Students will meet nonprofit leaders, social entrepreneurs, fundraisers, and philanthropists in our community and learn how and why they give back. The program will explore a number of questions including: what are the challenges of doing the right thing, and how do change-makers move beyond good intentions, or burnout, to take effective action? What about the funding of non-profit organizations or higher education? How do individuals, families, organizations, and communities—in diverse cultures and societies—build systems of community service, altruism, and gift giving? What are the stories of peoples’ lives in the context of which they work, live, and give back? What does it take to cultivate lives of service, meaningful work, and reciprocity in private, public, or non-profit organizations, or during times of challenge and change?

Through a rigorous course of study, students will develop habits of critical reading, writing, analysis, and reflection to apply to their personal and professional lives. They will practice the art and craft of writing and communication as they develop essays and a feature article, conduct interviews, and create an oral and visual presentation. Through workshops, they will develop basic skills and techniques of editing, writing style and usage, business writing, persuasive writing, grant-writing, creative non-fiction, storytelling, and giving effective presentations. They will cultivate their leadership style and identify what motivates them. They will learn from guest speakers, experts in the field, and community leaders, and will have opportunities to participate in oral history/community research projects and assess philanthropic and nonprofit organizations.

Students will apply these skills to an 8-credit independent study project as they work individually or in groups. Projects can include developing a series of articles towards publication, grant writing, research, media presentations, or can contribute to an oral history/community research project.  Projects can also involve in-depth analysis of nonprofit business organizational models, the funding of higher education, or other goals.

Texts Include: Sharif Abdullah, The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times; David Bornstein,   How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas;   Nancy Duarte, Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences;   Daniel Goleman, Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence;   Dan Portnoy,   The Non-Profit Narrative: How Telling Stories Can Change the World; Peri Pakroo, Starting & Building a Nonprofit: A Practical Guide;  William Zinser,  On Writing Well. 

Program Details

Fields of Study

business and management communication community studies leadership studies writing

Preparatory For

business, government, nonprofit and social enterprise, public policy, fundraising, writing, community service, communications, and education.


Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Wednesday, September 27 at 9am (Sem II C1105)

Additional Schedule Details

Wednesdays 9a-1p (Sem II C1105) and Fridays 9a-3p (Sem II B1105)

Required Field Trip: Saturday, November 4th (9a-5p) for  “Return to Evergreen”

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$45  for entrance fees to off-campus lectures, presentations, and workshops related to one-day field trips, and for miscellaneous supplies or expenses.