Leadership skills that help people come together to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities are essential in a complex world. This course will provide a context for collaborative (or facilitative) leadership, drawing examples from community settings, non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. Collaborative leadership leads to productive and supportive relationships, jointly developed goals and structure and shared responsibility for achievement. We will study useful strategies and techniques for involving stakeholders, building consensus, laying out a problem-solving process, facilitation of that process and drawing in the full experience, knowledge and wisdom of participants. Students will write a final paper (or participate in a group project) to integrate results from interviews and opportunities to shadow local leaders, class discussions with guests and the instructor, and material from assigned readings. This course is designed to include both COA students and community members. Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Lab fee: $20.
HS2026Practical Skills in Community Development
In rural areas throughout the world, citizens, non-profit leaders, agency staff, and elected officials are coming together to frame complex issues and bring about change in local policy and practice. This course will outline the theory and practice of community development, drawing on the instructor's experience with the Dùthchas Project for sustainable community development in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Mount Desert Island Tomorrow, and other examples in the literature. In short, community development allows community members to frame issues, envision a preferred future, and carry out projects that move the community toward that preferred future. Students will gain practical community skills in listening, designing effective meetings, facilitation, framing complex public issues, project planning and development of local policy. Readings, discussions and guests will introduce students to community development theory and practice. Class projects will be connected to community issues on Mount Desert Island including the areas of community design/land use planning, transportation, community health, housing, economic development, the arts and youth empowerment. Short written papers will provide opportunity to reflect on class content, community meetings, newspaper stories and reading assignments. This class is designed to include both COA students and community members. Evaluation will be based on preparation for and participation in class discussion, several short papers, participation in field work, and contribution to a successful group project.
Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Class limit: 15. Lab fee: none.