Introduction to Community Psychology (PS282) is proof that students can have a meaningful CSL experience even within large class settings. This course caps at 150 students, but with a well-designed syllabus, strong support from the CSL Coordinators, and community partners with open arms, PS282 is a CSL success story.
PS282 is an introduction to both the conceptual and an experiential understanding of issues and topics in community psychology. It is designed to engage students with little to no knowledge of the field of community psychology or community service-learning.
Topics include: the history of community psychology; stress and social support; oppression and social intervention; primary prevention and health promotion; self-help; mediating structures; community mental health; organizational change; community organization and community development.
The primary source of conceptual learning occurs during weekly lectures, while the primary source of experiential learning occurs in the CSL placement.
Students complete their CSL placement within a local community organization, for a minimum duration of 20 hours per term. A broad range of placements are available – from working with community not-for-profit organizations to special education classrooms. The goal of the CSL placement is to relate course material to the experiences of individuals and organizations in the local community.
The structure of the course builds on existing knowledge commonly gained from an introductory psychology course and expands the understanding of social influences on human behaviour. At the same time, students develop a stronger connection to their community and provide valuable service to the KW community.