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

Fall 2017
Winter 2018
Class Size: 25
25% Reserved for Freshmen
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Rebecca Chamberlain
literature, writing, storytelling

Who are the new social entrepreneurs and how do they create change? This program will explore how individuals, organizations, and communities create lasting change through the stories they tell and the messages they share. Students will combine individual study projects and independent learning with a strong learning community. Learning from community leaders, they will explore a number of questions, including: what are the challenges of doing the right thing and moving beyond good intentions to take effect action? What are the different roles of non-profit organizations, government agencies, private businesses, or foundations? How are non-profit organizations, higher education, or other causes funded? How do individuals, families, organizations, and communities—in diverse cultures and societies—build systems of service, altruism, and gift giving? 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 organization, critical reading, writing, analysis, and reflection that they can apply to their personal and professional lives. Through a variety of workshops and assignments, they will practice the art and craft of writing and communication. They will develop skills and techniques of editing, writing style and usage, business writing, persuasive writing, grant-writing, feature articles, creative non-fiction, storytelling, and giving effective presentations. They will cultivate various leadership styles and identify what motivates themselves and others. As they learn from experts and community leaders, they will have opportunities to participate in oral history and community research projects and to assess government, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations.

Students will apply these skills, individually or in groups, to substantial independent study projects or internships. Projects can include developing a series of articles towards publication, grant writing, community research, media presentations, or creative projects. They can also include in-depth research and analysis of: nonprofit or business organizational models, social entrepreneurs who are making change, the funding of higher education,  the arts or sciences, the role of funding through government or private organizations, social or environmental sustainability, or other issues. 

In the fall, students will develop leadership skills, along with a practical and theoretical understanding of how to combine stories, strategy, and structure to make effective change and work towards the common good. They will explore the impact of non-profit and philanthropic organizations locally and globally. They will write essays, feature articles, conduct interviews, and participate in an oral history project to learn the stories of peoples’ lives in the context of which they work, live, and give back. They will learn to design and give dynamic oral and visual presentations. 

In winter, students will cultivate their leadership style and emotional intelligence, learning how to care for themselves and others during times of crisis and change. They will learn how diverse individuals, cultures, and communities cultivate resilience and sustainability. They will ask, "How can we envision a world that works for all, and work in ways that sustain people, the planet, and prosperity?" Through lectures, workshops, and assignments, they will learn about social innovation, research related to non-profits and government agencies, and other topics. They will attend a session at the Washington State Legislature, a Tai Ji workshop that integrates multicultural methods for caring for self and others, and will contribute to events and lectures related to entrepreneurship. 

NOTE: Students must be motivated and self-directed as they develop a substantial independent study project or internship, 8 credits for students taking the program for 12 credits and 12 credits for students taking the program for 16 credits. They will meet regularly to refine their ideas with peers and the instructor.  Returning students can continue projects that they began in fall. New students will be welcomed and and supported as they develop their work.  

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

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


Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

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

Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 25
25% Reserved for Freshmen

Scheduled for: Day

Advertised schedule:

First winter class meeting: Wednesday, January 10 at 9am (Sem II C1105)

Additional details:

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

Required Field Trips: Saturday, November 4th (9a-5p) for  “Return to Evergreen”; Friday, February 9th (6-9p) and Saturday, February 10th (10a-4:30p) for Chinese Lunar New Year; Wednesday, February 14th (9:30a-2:30p) for visit to Washington State Legislature.

Located in: Olympia

2017-11-14Description updated.
2017-11-14This program is extending into winter quarter and welcomes new students.